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Professor named a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association

Kathleen Matuska, Ph.D., has been named a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Kathleen Matuska, Ph.D., has been named a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Melissa Kaelin

Kathleen Matuska, Ph.D., has been named a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association, bringing the number of AOTA fellows who currently teach at St. Catherine University to four.

The honor recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the occupational therapy field through knowledge and expertise, and denotes excellence in teaching, scholarship and leadership. For Matuska, the award comes as a result of scholarly work she conducted in two specific areas of occupational therapy: Fatigue management for people with multiple sclerosis and life balance. Matuska is recognized internationally for her continuing research in fatigue management, and through her dissertation, she created the Life Balance Inventory, a tool that can be used to measure life balance.

“This particular measure of life balance is based on a model, and it’s the first of its kind,” says Matuska. “It’s the first time there’s been a real empirically tested tool that we can use.”

Matuska is also part of what she calls a “three-generation OT family.” Both her mother and her daughter, who graduated from St. Kate’s, work in the occupational therapy field alongside her.

Matuska will be recognized for her dedicated work to the occupational therapy field during the annual conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, which will be held in Philadelphia in April.

Others at St. Kate’s who have been named to the AOTA Roster of Fellows include current faculty members Karen Sames in 2008, Marianne Christiansen in 2004, Julie Bass Haugen in 2001, and Dean of the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health Penelope Moyers in 1997. Professors emeritae Sharon Stoffel and Mary Lou Henderson were also given the honor, in 1988 and 2007 respectively. In all, six faculty members from the occupational therapy department have been named to the Roster of Fellows.

Matuska says it is a special privilege to have so many Fellows come from the occupational therapy department at St. Catherine University.

“It’s quite an honor, and it takes quite a bit of effort outside of work. You have to contribute to the profession,” says Matuska. “The fact that we have that many productive faculty who are seen as leaders, that’s pretty cool actually.”

Already, the number of prospective students looking to enroll in occupational therapy courses at St. Kate’s is skyrocketing.

“What we’re discovering is they’re coming from all over the country,” said Matuska.

Occupational therapy is both a growing field and a strength for the University. In March, students and faculty in the occupational therapy program at St. Kate’s collaborated with the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, in order to speak to legislators about the importance of disability services at the Minnesota State Capitol. According to U.S. News and World Report, the University is the highest ranked school for occupational therapy programs in the five-state area.

March 1, 2011 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Faculty, Leadership