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Meet the Occupational Therapy Faculty and Staff

Tara Ruppert, OTD, OTR/L, CHT
Director, Occupational Therapy Program
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

BSOT Occupational Therapy, Creighton University
Certificate in Upper Quarter Rehabilitation, Drexel University
OTD Occupational Therapy, George Washington University

BSOT Occupational Therapy, Creighton University
Certificate in Upper Quarter Rehabilitation, Drexel University
OTD Occupational Therapy, George Washington University

truppert [at] csm.edu
Ellie Cusic, OTD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy

OTD Occupational Therapy, Creighton University

Areas of Expertise
Physical rehabilitation with adult and geriatric population

OTD Occupational Therapy, Creighton University

Areas of Expertise
Physical rehabilitation with adult and geriatric population

Accomplishments and published articles
Cusic, E., Hoppe, M., Sultenfuss, M., Jacobs, K., Holler, H., Obembe, A. (2022) Multisensory Environments for Outcomes of Occupational Engagement in Dementia: A Systematic Review, Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics.
Reviewed and edited chapters in Bonder, B., & Bello-Haas, DV (2018)
Functional performance in older adults. FA Davis Company (2022)
Reviewed and edited chapter in Mahle, AJ & Ward, AL (2022)
Adult physical conditions: Intervention strategies for occupational therapy assistants, FA Davis (2021)
Outstanding Faculty Nominee 2020

Involvement
AOTA
NOTA
Instructional Design volunteer for Multis College

ecusic [at] csm.edu
Jaime Garafalo-Peterson, OTD, OTR/L
Director of Clinical Education
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

BSOT Occupational Therapy, College of Saint Mary
BA Psychology, College of Saint Mary
OTD Occupational Therapy, University of Saint Augustine

BSOT Occupational Therapy, College of Saint Mary
BA Psychology, College of Saint Mary
OTD Occupational Therapy, University of Saint Augustine

Areas of Expertise
Acute care - trauma/ICU, skilled nursing facilities, home health, management

Accomplishments and Published Articles
Shim, A., Davis, W., Newman, D., Abbey, B., Garafalo-Peterson, J. The Effects of a Pedal-less Bicycle Intervention on Stability Scores Among Preschool Aged Children. J Mot Behav. 2021
Worthington, S., Shim, A., Garafalo-Peterson, J., and Ryan, K. (2022). Does BMI influence foot reaction time and balance scores in elderly women? Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 25 (Supplement 2), S5-S6

Involvement
Nebraska Foster Care Review Board
ReRuns

jgarafalo-peterson [at] csm.edu
Maureen Hoppe, EdD, MA, OTR/L, CHSE
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy
Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator

BS Occupational Therapy, Creighton University
MA Health Education, University of Nebraska, Omaha
Graduate Certificate of Specialization, Gerontology, University of Nebraska, Omaha

BS Occupational Therapy, Creighton University
MA Health Education, University of Nebraska, Omaha
Graduate Certificate of Specialization, Gerontology, University of Nebraska, Omaha
EdD Health Professions Education, College of Saint Mary

Areas of Expertise
Gerontology, Clinical Reasoning, Fundamentals of Theory

Accomplishments and Published Articles
Zapletal, A., Baird, J., Prast, J.,Van Oss, T., Hoppe, M., & Herge, E. A. (2022). Clinical simulation for health care professionals. Slack Inc. 
Cusic, E., Hoppe, M., Sultenfuss, M., Jacobs, K., Holler, H., & Obembe, A. (2022). Multisensory environments for outcomes of occupational engagement in dementia: A systematic review. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 1-20. 
Shim, A., Prichard, S., Newman, D., Lara, C., Walker, M., & Hoppe, M. (2021). Does a recumbent lateral stability trainer improve balance scores among older adults within 4 weeks? Permanente Journal. doi: 10.7812/TPP/20.100. PMID: 33970078. 

mhoppe [at] csm.edu
Whitney Rubin, OTD, OTR/L
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

BS Speech Communication, University of Nebraska at Omaha
OTD Occupational Therapy, Creighton University

BS Speech Communication, University of Nebraska at Omaha
OTD Occupational Therapy, Creighton University

Areas of Expertise
Pediatrics, Advocacy and Leadership

Accomplishments and Published Articles
Bahle-Lampe, A., Griffiths, Y., Lohman, H., & Rubin, W. (2018, January).  Capturing Narrative Histories of the Profession.  OT Practice, volume 23 (1) pp. 20-21.  
Griffiths, Y., Bahle-Lampe, A., Lohman, H., & Rubin, W. (2018, April).  OT History Panel 303A.  Panel presentation at the 2018 AOTA Annual Conference and Expo, Salt Lake City, UT. 

Involvement
Make-A-Wish Nebraska

wrubin [at] csm.edu
Mary Smith, EdD, MOT, OTR/L
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

BA Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
BSOT Occupational Therapy, Creighton University
MOT Occupational Therapy, College of Saint Mary
EdD, College of Saint Mary

BA Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
BSOT Occupational Therapy, Creighton University
MOT Occupational Therapy, College of Saint Mary
EdD, College of Saint Mary

mesmith [at] csm.edu
Kristan Pilakowski, OTD, OTR/L, BCP
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy

BA Psychology/Spanish, University of St. Thomas
OTD Occupational Therapy, Creighton University
Board Certified in Pediatrics

BA Psychology/Spanish, University of St. Thomas
OTD Occupational Therapy, Creighton University
Board Certified in Pediatrics

Areas of Expertise
Pediatric Occupational Therapy, Leadership and Administration in Occupational Therapy, Community Engagement

Involvement
Advisory Board for All Inclusive Aquatics, LLC
Executive Board Member for Spellman Child Development Center
Volunteer for NeighborGood

kpilakowski [at] csm.edu
Adebimpe Obembe, DPT, PhD
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

BS Physical Therapy, University of Ibadan
MS Physical Therapy, Obafemi Awolowo University 
PhD Neurologic Physical Therapy, Obafemi Awolowo University

BS Physical Therapy, University of Ibadan
MS Physical Therapy, Obafemi Awolowo University 
PhD Neurologic Physical Therapy, Obafemi Awolowo University
Postdoc, Neurorehabilitation and Health Services
DPT, University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences

Areas of Expertise
Occupational Therapy research

Accomplishments and published articles
2021-22 Faculty Scholar – The President’s Initiative for Inclusive Excellence in the Classroom
Obembe, A., Simpson, L., Eng, J. (2023) The relationship between REACH scale affected arm-use assessment, activity and participation after stroke. Physiotherapy Research International.

aobembe [at] csm.edu
Kayla Hoge OTD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Doctoral Capstone Coordinator

BA Biology, Dana College
OTD Occupational Therapy, Creighton University

BA Biology, Dana College
OTD Occupational Therapy, Creighton University

khoge [at] csm.edu
Nicole Chipy EdD, OTR/L CLT
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy
Certified Lymphedema Therapist

BHS Occupational Therapy, University of Florida 
MHS Occupational Therapy, University of Florida
EdD Education and Healthcare Leadership, Nebraska Methodist College

BHS Occupational Therapy, University of Florida 
MHS Occupational Therapy, University of Florida
EdD Education and Healthcare Leadership, Nebraska Methodist College

Areas of Expertise
Geriatrics, Mental Health

nchipy [at] csm.edu
Jodi Kava
Occupational Therapy Program Support Specialist

BS Business Administration, College of Saint Mary

BS Business Administration, College of Saint Mary

jkava [at] csm.edu