Home College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Dr. Ann Burkhardt named Director of Occupational Therapy Program

Dr. Ann Burkhardt named Director of Occupational Therapy Program

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has announced Dr. Ann Burkhardt as the director of the Occupational Therapy program at Drake University, effective July 1, 2015.

Burkhardt is currently a therapy resources management (TRM) occupational therapist at Crestwood & Grace Barker Nursing and Rehabilitation facilities in Warren, Rhode Island. Until 2010, she served as director of the post-professional online masters program in occupational therapy at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. After that, she served as director and associate professor in the division of occupational therapy at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York.

Burkhardt obtained her bachelor of arts in psychology and biology from Wheaton College in 1976, her Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy at New York University in 1979, and her doctorate in post-professional Occupational Therapy (OTD) at Creighton University in 2004.

“An occupational therapy career has fed my passion for making a difference in the lives of others,” Burkhardt said.

Burkhardt has an extensive history in the field of occupational therapy. She also served as associate clinical instructor at Columbia University and the director of occupational therapy at NY Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center for over a decade. She has taught or contributed as a lecturer in the study of occupational therapy over a span of 20 years. She has authored four books and contributed to dozens of industry publications. She is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association, and newly appointed to the Legacy and Leaders Society of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

Dean Wendy Duncan said that when the search committee learned Burkhardt was one of the candidates, they expressed deep interest in her as she is very well known and respected in the occupational therapy field.

“When she did her presentation (as part of the application process) she gave a deep, historical perspective of the profession,” said Duncan. “Her audience came quickly to understand the scope of occupational therapy practice and where the profession is going in the future. She’s a visionary, which bodes well for the new program at Drake.”

Burkhardt said it was the people that attracted her to Drake University. “Everyone with whom I had contact was warm and personable, and always communicative, honest, and assuring,” Burkhardt said.

Burkhardt’s vision for the program is to prepare students for careers in occupational therapy, which will add more qualified clinicians to a workforce that is currently experiencing vacancies and shortages.

The Drake University Board of Trustees approved the new Occupational Therapy degree programs, which will begin in summer, 2016.

Read more about Burkhardt’s career, why she’s passionate about OT, and why she chose Drake in this Q&A.