Douglas Simmons director of the MCPHS Occupational Therapy program.

Faculty Spotlight: Douglas Simmons PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

November 04, 2016

  • At Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), we are proud to prepare students for meaningful careers in the fast growing health sciences industry. That's why we are always working to foster the breadth of our degree offerings by identifying important new program additions to our University.

    We now offer over 108 degree programs, and this fall, we welcomed the first class of incoming students to our newly launched Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program on our Manchester, NH campus.

    We are excited to join the Occupational Therapy community, and add this important field to our School of Rehabilitation Sciences, which also offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

    We sat down with Douglas Simmons PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, who is the director of the Occupational Therapy program and a professor in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, to gain some insight into the OT field.

    Welcome to the MCPHS family! We offer many degree programs that prepare students for careers across the health sciences spectrum. What's the impact of the addition of Occupational Therapy?

    The addition of Occupational Therapy at MCPHS brings a vital link to the health science offerings of the University. The understanding and focus of the “doing” of everyday activities in challenging and fast-paced environments is what OT adds to MCPHS. Through detailed activity analysis and advanced knowledge of anatomy, physiology, development, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology and sociology, occupational therapy and therapists generate the skills needed for everyday living.

    In your eyes, what makes our OT program unique?

    Our focus on mental health. Students receive an educational experience that allows them to practice as a generalist in all areas of practice, but because of the program location and faculty expertise, students graduate with many community experiences focused on psychosocial and mental health occupational therapy related to children, adolescents, adults, and older adults.

    Tell us a little about the field of Occupational Therapy.

    Occupational therapy is focused towards meeting client needs where it matters: home, work, and community. These type of interventions generate high client motivation and outcomes resulting in a rewarding and meaningful career.

    Our program prepares student for contemporary occupational therapy practice that is focused on client-centeredness, evidence-based intervention, using reliable outcome measures with a focus on community health and participation.

    Tell us about the faculty who make up our Occupational Therapy program.

    Our Occupational Therapy faculty have many years of experience in the clinical as well as academic arena of the profession. They are nationally recognized for their contributions to the field, including multiple national and international presentations, authored book chapters in the field’s most recognized text, members of national health committees, with appointments as Fellows of the American Occupational Therapy Association. All of our faculty have had rewarding clinical careers in many of the healthcare and community health facilities located in the Manchester and greater New England area.

    This fall, we cut the ribbon on our newly designed Occupational Therapy facilities on our vibrant Manchester, NH campus. Tell us a little about the space.

    Students in our program learn the skills of occupational therapy in labs that reflect community clinical environments, from the sensory processing pediatric laboratory, adult functional living laboratory, to the trunk and upper extremity laboratory. When our students enter practice, they will be immersed in a typical practice setting, due to the unique design of our occupational therapy department. Students will gain knowledge and know-how of state-of-the-art equipment, which will set them apart in today’s science-driven, evidence-based healthcare environment.

    Interested in a future in OT? Our School of Rehabilitation Sciences prepares students for meaningful careers. Earn a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy on our Manchester campus in just two years of full-time study.