MCPHS Faculty Member Named New Hampshire Occupational Therapist of the Year
Occupational Therapy Professor Heidi Robertson teaches graduate students on the MCPHS Manchester campus.
Heidi N. Robertson, OTD, OTR/L, has been in occupational therapy for over 30 years. She was first drawn to the field all the way back in high school, when she volunteered at the now-closed New Hampshire State School. The facility housed people with intellectual disabilities, and she worked with occupational therapists helping the residents. “That was super exciting to me, to help give people back the skills they might have lost or didn’t gain as children as the result of an injury or a disease process,” Dr. Robertson says. “Really helping people to become independent in their lives and to have more fulfilled lives was what made me start to look at OT.” She fell in love with pediatrics specifically, she embarked on a decades-long pediatric occupational therapy career. She says she loved joy on children’s faces as they mastered skills and felt amazingly rewarded to bring joy to the families she worked with.
Today Dr. Robertson works primarily in the academic arena, serving as Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and teaching master’s-level graduate students on the MCPHS Manchester campus. In addition to her teaching duties, she serves on the board of the New Hampshire Occupational Therapy Association and is the organization’s representative for the American Occupational Therapy Association. Dr. Robertson also conducts research and presentations—she gave five different presentations at three different OT conferences in the past year alone.
One of the most exciting new aspects of her current work, says Dr. Robertson, is growing the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity. It’s a national organization dedicated to bringing diversity to the field, and Dr. Robertson helped bring a chapter to MCPHS. “Our profession tends to lack diversity,” she says, “and as an organization we are trying to change that, and as a University we [at MCPHS] are trying to change that.”
Despite all this work—teaching, researching, presenting, advocating—Dr. Robertson says she was completely surprised to win the New Hampshire Occupational Therapist of the Year award. She says it’s a huge and humbling honor. “I have really strived and worked throughout my time to do the best by my clients and to make sure I’m providing the best treatment I possibly can. And now in my role in the academic arena, I’m really trying to bring excitement and a high level of practice to students... . For me to be recognized is just a complete honor.”
Interested in the School of Occupational Therapy at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences? Learn more here.