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Griffiths named director of Occupational Therapy program at Drake University


The Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences today announced Dr. Yolanda Griffiths has been named director of the Occupational Therapy program at Drake University, effective June 30, 2017.

Griffiths most recently served as director of the occupational therapy program at College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Neb., a position she has held since 2012. Prior to her role at Saint Mary, she served for 20 years as an associate professor in the occupational therapy program at Creighton University, where she helped develop the entry-level and post-professional distance-based doctorate programs. Her extensive career also includes more than 20 years of practical experience as an occupational therapist at numerous mental health clinics and community hospitals.

Griffiths earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Puget Sound in 1976, a Master of Human Relations in Counseling from the University of Oklahoma in 1995, and a doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Creighton University in 1999. She has also earned advanced certification as a master practitioner of neurolinguistic programming. Griffiths is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association and a founding member of the Leaders and Legacies Society of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

“Dr. Griffiths’ commitment to the education and development of students and faculty members makes her a great fit to lead our Occupational Therapy program,” said Renae Chesnut, dean of the Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “She has a remarkable track record of success as director of a high-quality occupational therapy program, and her experience as an accreditation reviewer also lends her valuable insight into best practices that will advance our program here at Drake.”

Griffiths said Drake University, its Occupational Therapy doctorate program faculty, and its program style attracted her to the directorship.

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“I am very excited to serve as the new program director of the occupational therapy program at Drake University,” Griffiths said. “The fact that this is an entry-level OTD program is distinctly attractive, and I am familiar with many of the wonderful occupational therapy faculty. I am looking forward to developing the Drake brand of occupational therapy education and taking the program to the next level.”

Griffiths also looks forward to moving into her office in the new home of the Occupational Therapy program, which opened this spring at 3003 Forest Ave. In addition to classroom, laboratory and faculty office space, a vital community need will be served through the Lifestyle Redesign Center, in which people with mobility challenges will be able to test a variety of assistive equipment and devices through a simulated bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, automobile and streetscape.

Griffiths succeeds the program’s first director, Dr. Ann Burkhardt, who joined the Drake University staff in July 2015 and oversaw the formal launch of Drake’s Occupational Therapy degree programs in summer 2016. Burkhardt will return to Rhode Island to start an Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at Johnson & Wales University.

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