Mariann E. Moran, OTD, OTR, CHT
Department Interim Chairperson
Mariann Moran, OTD, OTR, CHT, has been an Occupational Therapist since 1979. Dr. Moran earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at Kean University (1976), her Master in Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickenson University (2000) with a concentration in health care administration, and her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (2010) with a concentration in hand rehabilitation. She has worked in a variety of settings including acute care, homecare, school based therapy, and hand therapy clinics. She has been a certified hand therapist since 1992. In 1994, she started her own private practice in hand therapy. Accelerated Hand Therapy had grown from one office to six offices in 5 counties, with a staff of 40 with 14 certified hand therapists and occupational therapists, when she sold it in 2017. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at Kean University from 2001-2011 and was elevated to full time Assistant Professor in September 2011.
Mariann has represented both occupational therapy and hand therapy on several committees including Horizon Casualty (part of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield), New Jersey Occupational Therapy License Advisory Council and St. Elizabeth’s College Masters in Health Administration Advisory Committee. She is a founding member of the New Jersey chapter of the American Society of Hand Therapists and was president from 1996-1999. She is an active member of the American Society of Hand Therapists and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). She was president of the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA) from 2009 until 2011 and has been an executive board member for many years. She represented New Jersey as the NJ Representative to the Representative Assembly of AOTA.
Mariann has developed a special interest in ergonomics. She has presented many lectures and workshops to companies, industries, other professions, and the general public. She has presented both national and international. She has articles published in peer review journals and in specialized hand therapy books.
Department Managers & Staff
Michael Camacho, OTD, OTR/L, L.Ac., NJ Licensed, CKTP
Michael Camacho, OTD, OTR/L, L.Ac. has been a practicing occupational therapist for over 24 years. Dr. Camacho received his B.S. in occupational therapy from Kean College in 1995. In 2004 he earned an M.S degree in Acupuncture from the Tri-state College of Acupuncture. Dr . Camacho maintains a national certification and NJ licence to practice acupuncture. He earned his Post Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) from Quinnipiac University in 2019.
Dr. Camacho practice area of interest and passion is adult rehabilitation with an expertise in amputee rehabilitation. He has experience working in acute care, inpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities. As a clinician, Dr. Camacho has worked closely with amputee survivors and their families to facilitate engagement and participation in valued and needed occupations within their desired environment.
Dr. Camacho began his academic career in 2006 as an Adjunct Professor at Kean University and consistently taught Theory II lab and Introduction to Occupational Therapy until 2019. He has experience teaching in a class-room and virtual setting.
In 2019, Dr. Camacho joined the Kean University Occupational Therapy Department as an Assistant Professor. He teaches Adult Physical Rehabilitation Practice Seminar, Applied Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy, Conditions Across Lifespan II, Community Partnerships, Theory Guidelines to Practice II (lab instructor) and Introduction to Occupational Therapy.
Dr. Camacho’s research agenda is focused on addressing the physical and mental health of individuals experiencing limb loss. Self management of pain , health literacy and home modifications are among the areas of interest.
Patrick R. Field, Ph.D.
Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Field has been teaching gross anatomy and neuroscience at undergraduate and graduate levels, senior seminar, anatomy and physiology, introductory biology and conducting pedagogical research involving the use of case studies in the classroom at Kean from 1997 to the present. His education includes a Ph.D. in anatomical sciences/neuroscience from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, a B.S. in biology education and a B.A. in biological/anatomical sciences. Dr. Field is an active member of numerous professional organizations including, but not limited to: American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, National Science Teachers Association, Society for Neuroscience, New Jersey Academy of Science and the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. His research and scholarly articles have been published in The Journal of College Science Teaching in October 2006, September 2005, February 2003 and October 2002, on the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science Website in June 2010 and January 2012, in the HAPS Educator, 2001, and in In Vivo, Journal of Metropolitan Association of College and University Biologists in June 2011. He has presented his research at numerous workshops and conferences and is a dedicated educator and faculty member at Kean University. Dr. Field was also very instrumental in the success of the department's video to promote student membership in the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). He is seen pictured above with first and second year OT students recording for the video at a nearby recording studio. The department is thankful for the contribution of his time and talent for this project.
Jennifer A. Gardner, OTD, OTR
Jennifer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Kean University. An alumnus of Kean’s Master of Science in OT program, she has been practicing as a licensed occupational therapist for fifteen years. Dr. Gardner earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at The College of New Jersey (2002), her Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy (2005) and her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy at Chatham University (2012). Prior to joining the faculty full time, Dr. Gardner served as an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Kean from 2007-2010.
Her clinical expertise is in the area of serving individuals living with mental health disorders and/or substance use disorders. She has worked with adults and children in both the inpatient and partial care settings. Her research interests and pursuits are varied, but include exploring sensory preferences of adults with mental health and substance use disorders and the impact of programming that has been provided by the Kean University Occupational Therapy Community Cares Clinic (KU OT CCC).. Dr. Gardner has provided consultation to support the development of sensory modulation rooms on inpatient psychiatric units.
Dr. Gardner teaches the following undergraduate and graduate courses: Conditions Across the Lifespan I & II, Group Development Across the Lifespan, Occupations Across the Lifespan, Community Partnerships & Service, Seminar in Psychosocial Seminar and Introduction to Residency II. She enjoys acting as faculty research advisor as it provides opportunity to role model and mentor future scholars. Through state and national presentations, Dr. Gardner is an active member of the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA) and American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
In addition to her roles as occupational therapist and educator, Dr. Gardner loves being a wife, mother of two boys, aunt to a nephew, friend, sister and daughter. Her leisure pursuits include gardening, going to the beach and couponing.
Patricia Higgins, MS, OTR
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
Patricia Higgins, MS, OTR serves as the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the Occupational Therapy Department. She has been practicing as an occupational therapist since 2005. Ms. Higgins earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Scranton in 2002 and a Master’s of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University-Boston School of Occupational Therapy in 2005. Ms. Higgins has worked in a variety of adult rehabilitation therapeutic settings including inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, day hospital, subacute rehabilitation, and homecare, with an overarching interest and expertise working with clients with neurological conditions. She is certified in LSVT BIG, Congestive Heart Failure, and Kinesiotaping.
Prior to becoming the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Ms. Higgins served as an Adjunct Professor at Kean University since 2012. She currently teaches Applied Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy, Advanced Fieldwork Seminar I/II, and Theoretical Guidelines to Practice II Lab. Ms. Higgins is a member of AOTA and NJOTA. Ms. Higgins has presented at multiple state and local conferences on topics including: Visual Rehabilitation, Serial Casting, Pusher Syndrome, Occupational Therapy treatment for clients with Parkinson’s Disease, Treatment Techniques for a Hemiplegic Upper Extremity, and Returning to the Kitchen Following a Stroke.
Laurie Knis-Matthews, Ph.D., OTR
Laurie has been an occupational therapist in New Jersey for over 20 years now. She has worked with many psychosocial populations across the lifespan including pediatrics, adolescent, adults and geriatrics in various treatment settings such as; hospitals, outpatient settings, group homes, detox units and long term addiction programs.
After earning a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy from Kean College, she continued her studies at New York University where she earned both her master's and doctoral degrees in occupational therapy in 1996 and 2005, respectively. Dr. Knis' dissertation topic focused on the experiences of substance dependent parents in a yearlong drug treatment program. Laurie was employed as an adjunct professor at Kean University and New York University, before beginning full time employment at Kean in 1999. Dr. Knis-Matthews currently teaches a variety of courses in both the masters and doctoral programs related to theoretical guides to practice, research, and psychosocial seminars. In 2012, she was promoted to full professor at Kean University and served as chairperson of the department from 2010-2017.Under her leadership, the occupational therapy program has earned a ten-year accreditation (the maximum amount permitted), developed an onsite OT clinic and began developing an entry level doctoral program.
She serves on numerous educational committees, is a prolific and acclaimed presenter and published author. Many of her research interests focus on the experiences of various vulnerable populations (adults and/or children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, mental illness, addiction). Laurie has had much success publishing and presenting research studies with her graduate students. Dr. Knis-Matthews has developed a model of clinical reasoning called the Matthews Model of Clinical Reasoning. This model is currently under contract to be published into a text book for future reading.
Claire Mulry, OTD, OTR, CAPS
Dr. Mulry is the Entry level Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program Coordinator. She has practiced for over 22 years. Dr. Mulry specializes in adult acquired brain injury, aging in place consulting, community programming, community mobility, dementia care, environmental modifications and home care. Claire is the creator of the Let’s Go Community Mobility program. She received her Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) certification from the National Association of Home Builders in 2009 and has been certified to deliver the evidence-based Skills2Care™ program by Jefferson Elder Care. She is the co-founder of Independent Domain, LLC, which provides consultative services for productive aging, thriving in place, caregiver support and home modifications.
Dr. Mulry’s education includes a Post Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy with an emphasis in Teaching in the Digital Age from Thomas Jefferson University (2012); a Post Professional Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac University (2010); a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Occupational Therapy from Kean College of New Jersey (1997); and a Bachelor’s of Arts with a major in Psychology from Rutgers University (1988).
Dr. Mulry serves as a research advisor and is a reviewer for the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, and the High School Journal. Dr. Mulry teaches in both the Entry Level Doctoral Program and the Masters of Science Program. Courses taught include Introduction to Occupational Therapy, Introduction to Residency I, Advanced Fieldwork Seminar I, Advanced Fieldwork Seminar II, Conditions Across the Lifespan 2, Administration Supervision and Advocacy, Foundations of Occupational Therapy, Seminar in Adult Rehab Practice, Theoretical Guidelines to Practice I and II.
Kean University, Nathan Weiss Graduate College Excellence in Graduate Faculty - 2016
Kean University, Center for Leadership and Service Certificate of Appreciation - 2015
New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association President’s Award - 2014
New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association Award of Merit - 2014
New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association Service Award 2014, 2012, 2010
Dr. Mulry’s passion is to promote meaningful occupational participation and engagement for individuals of all ages across the lifespan Her recent grant funded community work serves older adults living in subsidized senior housing building and provides fall prevention, the Let’s Go Community Mobility Program and AARP’s HomeFit© and home evaluations to promote productive aging, health and wellness for an underserved population while providing students real work experience.
Dr. Mulry’s recent publications include:
- Mulry, C. M. (2018). Hospital discharge can happen very quickly. Will you be ready? Retrieved from https://advocateformomanddad.com/discharge-will-you-be-ready/
- Mulry, C. M. (2018). Medicare, private insurance, long term care insurance, private pay– Who pays for which care facility and for how long? Retrieved from https://advocateformomanddad.com/who-pays-care-facility-how-long
- Mulry, C. M. (2018). Acute care (hospital), inpatient acute rehabilitation (IRF), sub-acute, SNF, LTC, LTAC– The alphabet soup of care facilities. Retrieved from https://advocateformomanddad.com/alphabet-soup-of-care-facilities/
- Mulry, C.M., Papetti, C., DeMartinis, J. & Ravinsky, M. (2017). Facilitating wellness in urban dwelling older adults via community mobility: A mixed methods study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(4). doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.025494
- Knis-Matthews, L., Mulry, C.M., & Richard, L. (2017). The Matthews model of clinical reasoning: A systematic way to think about evaluation and treatment considerations. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 33, 1-14. doi:10.1080/0164212X.2017.1303658
- Mulry, C. M., Gardner, J., Hardaway, H. L., Curcio, C. Herrera, L., Scimeca, K., Shah, M. & Syers, K. (2017). Preemptive home modifications for fall prevention and participation in older adults in PACE program. OT Practice SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 2(2), 21–23.
- Mulry, C. M. (2016). Promoting productive aging using an innovative community mobility program. OT Practice, SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 1, 18-19.
- Hreha, K., Mulry, C.M, Gross, M., Jedziniak, T., Gramas, N., Ohevshalom, L, Sheridan, A., Szabo, G., Davidson, C. & Barrett, A.M., (2016). Assessing chronic stroke survivors with aphasia sheds light on prevalence of spatial neglect. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, DOI: 10.1080.10749357.2016.1196906
- Mulry, C. M. & Piersol, C.V. (2014). The Let’s Go program for community participation: A feasibility study. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 32, 241-254.
- Mulry, C.M. (2012). Transitions to assisted living: A pilot study of residents’ occupational perspectives. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 30, 327-342.doi: 10.3109/02703181.2012.741190
- Mulry, C.M. (2012). Reaching beyond clinic walls: Motor vehicle accident prevention. OT Practice, 17, (21) 7-8.
- Gardner, J., Mulry, C., Chalik, S. (2012). College?: Adolescents with autism and learning disorders participate in an on-campus service-learning program. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 64, 257-269. doi:1-.3109/07380577.2012.720052
Thriving in Community, AARP NJ 2019 $8,000.00
Thriving in Community, AARP NJ 2018 $8,000.00
Quality First Initiative (QFI), Kean University 2017 $8,900.00
Clinton Global Initiative University, Kean University 2017 $5,000.00
Foundation Faculty Research Award, Kean University 2016 $4,000.00
Clinton Global Initiative University, Kean University 2016 $3,333.33
Foundation Faculty Research Award, Kean University 2016 $4,000.00
Students Partnering with Faculty, Kean University 2015 $16,000.00
Foundation Faculty Research Award, Kean University 2015 $5,000.00
Building Our Future, NJ Higher Education Grant
Stephanie L. Blodgett, MS, OTR, CBIS
M.S. in Occupational Therapy, Tufts University
B.S. in Elementary Education, University of Vermont
Professor Blodgett graduated from the University of Vermont with a BS in Elementary Education and a concentration in Special Education and later earned her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University in Boston in 2001. Previously she was employed by the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Manchester, NH, as an Occupational Therapist in the Physical Medicine and Rehab department. Stephanie has been employed with Rehabilitation Specialists in Fair Lawn, NJ, since 2003 and is responsible for evaluation and treatment of adult survivors of brain injury, helping them to achieve maximum independence with ADL, IADL, cognitive functioning, and community re-entry skills. Additionally, Stephanie directs special projects at the day program and supervises the day-to-day operation within the clinical environment. She collaborated with Dr. Loretto Brickfield at Rehabilitation Specialists in instituting several workplace Health & Wellness initiatives aimed at promoting regular exercise, “The Appalachian Trail Pedometer Challenge,” a virtual hike of the Appalachian Trail, during the summer of 2009, and “The Hawaiian Challenge: Hike to Hana,” during the summer of 2010. Her employer is currently one of about a dozen post-acute provider groups in NJ and PA participating in PARF’s (Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities) Outcomes Benchmarking Project, utilizing the Mayo-Portland Adaptability Inventory in evaluating program efficacy for persons served and understanding the long-term outcomes of acquired brain injury.
Stephanie coordinates the Occupational Therapy student intern program at Rehab Specialists and has served as Fieldwork Educator to numerous Level I and II students throughout her career, supervising student interns from Dominican College, Kean University, NYU, Quinnipiac University, Seton Hall University, Touro College, Tufts University, and University of Scranton. Stephanie is a member of AOTA, NJOTA, BIANJ (Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey), and SCR (Society for Cognitive Rehabilitation). She was one of two recipients of the Rehabilitation Specialists Excellence Award in 2005 and earned ACBIS certification as a Brain Injury Specialist, Level I, in 2006. Additionally, Stephanie was nominated twice by student supervisees for Metropolitan Occupational Therapy Education Council of New York and New Jersey’s “Fieldwork Educator of the Year,” first in 2008 and again in 2009; she subsequently received the award in December 2009. In the spring of 2009 Stephanie was selected from a nationwide pool of applicants to serve for three years as a regional instructor for AOTA’s newly established Fieldwork Educators Certificate Program promoting fieldwork excellence. Stephanie joined the OT Department at Kean University in the fall of 2011 as an Adjunct Faculty member and teaches the Introduction to OT prerequisite course.
Christopher J. Hildeman, OTD, OTR
OTD, Chatham University
M.S. in Occupational Therapy, Chatham University
B.S. in Psychology, Pennsylvania State University
Professor Hildeman has been a practicing occupational therapist for 14 years in the acute care and outpatient settings. He is currently employed by an acute care hospital where he serves as the Performance Improvement Supervisor for the rehabilitation department managing rehabilitation outcomes. His health care background began with a BS in Psychology with a heath science option from Pennsylvania State University in 1997. At Penn State he completed a biomechanics internship working with balance systems in the human body. He graduated from Chatham University with a Masters of Occupational Therapy in 1999 completing his Master’s thesis on sensory integration and the use of the Sensory Profile with children with learning disabilities. In 2008 he earned his Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Chatham University completing his capstone project in falls prevention and intervention for hospitalized patients. He is certified in lymphedema management, functional capacity evaluations, and therapeutic modalities. He presented at the 2009 NJOTA conference in falls prevention, served as guest lecturer at Kean University in 2010, and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member.
Kevin Nelson, OTR, SIPT
B.S. in Occupational Therapy, Kean University
Professor Nelson is a certified, licensed occupational therapist within New Jersey. He graduated with honors from Kean University with a BS in Occupational Therapy in 2002. Professor Nelson is currently working on his Capstone Project and is scheduled to graduate from The College of Saint Elizabeth in May 2016 with a MS in Healthcare Management.
During his time as a clinician, Professor Nelson has specialized in pediatrics, providing school-based, clinic-based, and early intervention services for children between the ages of 3 months to 21 years old. In addition to his vast array of experience in pediatrics, he also provided medically based acute care OT for two local hospitals on a contract basis.
In addition to his work as a clinician, Professor Nelson has discovered a passion for education and training. He has been teaching as an adjunct professor since 2005 and has presented to parents, families, educators, directors, and administrators of school districts and private schools, and the New Jersey Association (NJEA).
Courtney Silviotti, MS, OTR/L
M.S. in Occupational Therapy, Elizabethtown College
B.S. in Occupation and Health, Elizabethtown College
Professor Silviotti is a senior occupational therapist at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in Chester, NJ. She received her B.S. in Occupation and Health and her M.S. in Occupational Therapy at Elizabethtown College. She worked for three years at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, before moving to New Jersey and joining Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in 2011. She has presented at multiple conferences including the Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey state conferences as well as the NJOTA spring meeting with topics ranging from pain management, burn rehabilitation, fieldwork education, and spatial neglect research for evidence-based practice. She has guest lectured at Kean University regarding amputee recovery since 2013.
Professor Silviotti is A-ONE certified and currently works with clients in the traumatic brain injury unit. She has over five years of experience working in the inpatient rehabilitation setting with adults having diagnoses ranging from musculoskeletal disorders, burns, amputations, cardiac disorders, and neurological impairments. At Kessler, Professor Silviotti is the co-student coordinator at the Chester campus. In collaboration with the Kessler Foundation Research Center, she is an active participant in data collection and research for a spatial neglect study. Professor Silviotti is involved with other hospital wide programs including training nursing staff for transfers in addition to meal preparation groups for clients with cardiac disorders. Professor Silviotti has also presented multiple in-services for staff members with topics ranging from home safety/fall prevention, splinting, modalities, fieldwork supervision, and neurological approaches.
Ilana Unger, MS, OTR
M.S. in Occupational Therapy, Elizabethtown College
Professor Unger earned a Master’s of Science degree in Occupational Therapy, with a minor in psychology, from Elizabethtown College in 2006. She worked at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, NJ through her final fieldwork placement and upon graduating until joining Rehabilitation Specialist in October 2013. Kessler provided Professor Unger with experience in a variety of diagnoses including spinal cord injury, joint replacements, amputees, and ultimately found her specialty in the area of traumatic and acquired brain injuries. She has presented nationally at the 2012 Brain Injury Summit, and has been published in Brain Tumour Magazine as a co-author.
Working closely by Professor Unger’s side is her facility dog, Rex. Rex, a graduate of Canine Companions for Independence, is a service trained assistance animal whose role is to assist clients in meeting their goals via Professor Unger’s facilitation. Rex is a friendly, black Labrador Retriever, who looks forward to working with clients every day, be it engaging in a game of fetch to work on motor planning, or just keeping someone company for emotional support.