Awards & Recognition


  • Yda Smith was awarded the inaugural College of Health faculty and staff Inclusive Excellence Award.
  • Whitney Smith Hutchings was awarded the inaugural College of Health student Inclusive Excellence Award.


  • Kelly Brown was selected as a 2016 NACADA Outstanding Advising Award Winner in the Academic Advising—Primary Role category.
  • Steven Bell, University of Utah, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism: Dedication and Service to Recreational Therapy


  • Sandra Negley, Distinguished Fellow Award, American Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • Pollie Price became a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
  • Anne Kirby was awarded the Cordelia Myers AJOT Best Article Award for her article titled, “Observational Characterization of Sensory Interests, Repetitions, and Seeking Behaviors,” which appeared in the May/June 2015 issue. The Cordelia Myers award recognizes outstanding professional writing in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy and is awarded for one article published in the journal per year.
  • Sandra Negley, University of Utah, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism: Dedication and Service to Recreational Therapy
  • Rhonda Nelson, Temple University Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching


  • Jeanette Koski successfully completed her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree.
  • Kelly Brown was awarded the University of Utah Outstanding Academic Advisor award.
  • Jeanette Koski was awarded the College of Health Distinguished Teaching award.
  • Rhonda Nelson, Temple University's Provost's Teaching Academy


  • JoAnne Wright became a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association
  • Lorie Richards was an inaugural inductee into the AOTF Leaders and Legacies Society – a new honorary society at AOTF that aims to provide service to the Occupational Therapy profession
  • Yda Smith was awarded the Community Service Award from the YWCA
  • Sandra Negley, Distinguished Service Award, Utah Recreation Therapy Association
  • Lorie Richards became a Fellow of the American Heart Association for her work with the Stroke Council
  • Yda Smith received the YWCA-Utah Community Service Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Beth Cardell became a Fellow of Academy of Health Science Educators
  • Yda Smith received the College of Health Distinguished Mentor award


  • Kasey Mitchell passed his Low Vision Certification.
  • Rhonda Nelson won the award for Temple University Provost's Undergraduate Mentor as the Founding Member


  • Dr. Pollie Price was awarded both a $10,000 grant from the Society for the Study of Occupation and a $10,000 gift from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation for her research project: Determining how the construct of occupation is addressed in curricula.
  • Dr. Yda Smith received an award of $7500 from the Bennion Center Public Service Professorship for her work with the Karen ethnic group of Burma.
  • The Dean’s Office appointed Dr. Pollie Price as the new Academic Senator to serve from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015.
  • Dr. Rhonda Nelson won the Excellence in Therapeutic Recreation Award, New Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • Kelly Brown and Deb Bachan received Staff and Advising Excellence Awards from the College of Health.
  • Dr. Beth Cardell completed her doctoral degree in Health Promotion and Education.
  • Rhonda Nelson recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award


  • Donna Costa was awarded a teaching grant for the Mind-Body Medicine for Health and Wellness from the University Teaching Committee.
  • Sandra Negley, Founding Fellow, National Academy of Recreational Therapists
  • Yda Smith completed her doctoral degree with the Department of Education, Culture and Society.
  • Pollie Price was elected to the Board of the International Society for the Study of Occupation.
  • The University promoted Pollie Price to Associate Professor with the Award of Tenure in the Division of Occupational Therapy.
  • Because of her genuine interest in well-being for the nominating student, course accessibility, and her dedication to the educational development of the student, faculty member Beth Cardell received an award from the Center for Disability Studies. This annual award recognizes faculty who have had a positive impact on their students' educational experience.
  • Beth Cardell received the 2010-2011 College of Health Distinguished Teaching Award.
  • JoAnne Wright received the 2010-2011 College of Health Distinguished Mentor Award.
  • Dr. Lorie Gage Richards agreed to join the College of Health as the new Chair of the Division of Occupational Therapy effective this summer.


  • Donna Costa has been elected to chair of the Education Special Interest Section of AOTA.  This is a 3 year term that will begin in June 2010.
  • Natalie Harr, Class of 2008, will be serving in Morocco as a Peace Corp volunteer. While in Morocco, she will be work with, or on behalf of, children with disabilities. She will learn more about her duties when she arrives in country around October 2010.
  • Emily Olsen and Brendon Cox, 3rd year students, and Dr. Tina McNulty have had their presentation "Relationship Of Time Use To Quality Of Life For People With Parkinson's Disease" accepted for the 2010 AOTA annual conference.
  • Donna Costa's workshop "Mindfulness-based Interventions For Chronic Disease Management - Tools For Occupational Therapy Practitioners" was accepted for the 2010 AOTA annual conference
  • Ryan Avery and Thomas Riche, 3rd year students, and Beth Cardell have had their poster "The Efficacy Of Using An iPod TouchTM To Increase Functional Living Skills In A Person With Acquired Brain Injury" accepted for the 2010 AOTA annual conference
  • Tina McNulty has been elected as Conference Chair-Elect for Society for the Study of Occupation:USA
  • Yda Smith had her paper "Restoration of the Occupation of Weaving for Karen Refugee Women in the U.S." accepted as an oral presentation at the 15th WFOT Congress, 4 - 7 May 2010, Santiago Chile
  • Tina McNulty had her poster "Fulfilling occupational therapy's full promise of occupation to persons with Parkinson's disease:  Integrating time geography strategies into traditional home-based occupational therapy services" accepted for presentation at the 15th WFOT Congress, 4 - 7 May 2010, Santiago Chile


  • Rebecca Good (3rd year student) received the "Civically Engaged Student" award from the Utah's Higher Education Civic Engagement Coalition.  Rebecca was recognized for her work with immigrant women at the University Neighborhood Partners-Hartland Partnership to develop a community kitchen.
  • Dr. Pollie Price and Dr. Cathy Chambless, Public Administration, were given the Disability Law Center's Community Partner Award.
  • Yda Smith was awarded an Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Award.  This is a teaching grant for "Immigration and Resettlement" in the amount of $8,000 dollars.  She received it along with Trinh Mai in Social Work.  
  • Second year OT student, Julie Senn, has been promoted to the rank of Major in the US Army.
  • Pollie Price and Cathy Chambless are the recipients of the Disability Law Center Community Justice Award: 2008 Innovative Community Partner Award.  This award is given to an organization engaged in a proactive and creative partnership with the Disability Law Center to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are recognized and promoted. The recipient of this award has engaged in a concerted effort to promote equal access for people with disabilities in Utah.
  • Kelly Brown, Administrative Assistant/Academic Advisor, is a nominee from the non-hospital U of U Health District for the 2008 University Staff Award.


  • In February 2008, Yda Smith, Assistant Professor (Clinical), went to Thailand as part of an interdisciplinary team consisting of physicians assistant, social work, occupational therapy and other people affiliated with University Neighborhood Partners.  The goal of the team was to learn more about refugee’s lives in the camps prior to their moving to America in order to develop appropriate and meaningful programming for Karen and Burmese Muslim residents accessing services at the UNP-Hartland Partnership center. The particular camp the team visited, Mae La Camp, is for the Karen and Burmese Muslim people who have been forced to leave their land in Burma because of violence and severe persecution. Lessons learned from this trip informed programming during the summer while two full-time occupational therapy students were on site at UNP-Hartland for 12 weeks.  Seeing first hand how they lived in the camp and learning about their culture and values facilitated rapport and trust building.  The trip to the Thai-Burma border inspired a weaving project, a gardening project and a cultural orientation class that is designed as a continuation of education that was provided in the camp.
  • In May 2008, Drs. JoAnne Wright and Donna Costa, along with Kristi Ward, alumni, traveled to Ukraine with other OTs to provide services as well as lectures in the city of Chernivtsi.  The Division’s student organizations participated in fund raising and made wash mitts and universal cuffs for the people in Ukraine
  • Sandra Negley received the Distinguised Teaching Award from the University of Utah's College of Health
  • Rhonda Nelson won the Leadership Award from the American Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • Sandra Negley received Utah Recreational Therapy Association's Distinguished Service Award
  • The Division received $5,000 from the Eskuche Foundation for a grant for Functional Low Vision Treatment Clinic Equipment.
  • Steven Bell, Utah Recreational Therapy Association (URTA): Distinguished Service Award
  • Pollie Price, Assistant Professor, is currently serving as President for the Society for the Study of Occupation (SSO:USA).  Her term will end in spring 2009.
  • Yda Smith, Clinical Instructor, is the faculty director with University Neighborhood Partners.
  • Pollie Price was nominated for University of Utah Calvin S. and Jeneal N. Hatch Prize in Teaching, Spring, 2008.
  • Pollie Price, Co-principle investigator, with Reva Rauk & M. Zahl, of grant application to the University of Utah Center for Contemporary Rehabilitation Research, Education and Practice. Awarded January, 2008. $6000.00.
  • Rhonda Nelson, Leadership Award, New Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • Pollie Price, Co-Principle Investigator with Cathy Chambless, PhD for the Interdisciplinary Teaching Seed grant Award: Disability Studies Forum, submitted to the Associate Vice President for Interdisciplinary Studies Fall 2007. Awarded $500.00.

2006 and Prior

  • Sandra Negley received the Board of Directors Service Award from the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Certification (2001)
  • Sandra Negley, Recipient, Presidential Award, American Therapeutic Recreation Association (1998)

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