Houston's Patricia Bowyer receives national Outstanding Mentor Award
For time-crunched occupational therapy practitioners, the idea of conducting research often seems impossible.
But thanks to the mentorship of Patricia Bowyer, Ed.D., M.S., OTR, FAOTA, occupational therapy practitioners say they are bridging the gap between research and practice. Recognizing the Texas Woman’s University School of Occupational Therapy-Houston associate director and professor’s contributions, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recently presented Bowyer with its Outstanding Mentor Award.
The award recognizes occupational therapy practitioners who have demonstrated outstanding mentoring of a student, colleague or employee in a sustained practice, academic or research partnership. Bowyer will also be recognized at AOTA’s April 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Chicago.
“I was very honored to receive the Outstanding Mentor Award, which recognizes the work that my mentee and I have been undertaking at the MD Anderson Cancer Center,” said Bowyer, who was nominated by Lauro Munoz, a rehabilitation regulatory supervisor at MD Anderson Cancer Center. “For TWU, I think it is an acknowledgement of the contributions the university, via a researcher, is making within the Texas Medical Center to develop and create innovations in occupational therapy practice.”
Munoz credits Bowyer with helping him set up the MD Anderson Cancer Center’s first occupational therapy research collaboration. The study was based on the concept of a “scholarship of practice,” or gaining new knowledge that is applicable to clinical practice. The study utilized the Short Child Occupational Profile (SCOPE), an occupational therapy assessment that Bowyer developed with a team of colleagues.
“Patty is an exemplary mentor,” said Munoz said. “She has demonstrated an ability to develop mentoring relationships with clinicians, such as me, students and colleagues in different disciplines.”
Since the first study, MD Anderson and TWU have begun three additional occupational therapy studies.
“When I worked as a practitioner, I would have clinical questions that I would seek answers to in the scientific literature,” Bowyer said. “However, I often could not find the answers I was seeking. I then decided that I could add to the science of the profession of occupational therapy by obtaining skills to conduct research.”
Karla Sternberg, TWU-Houston coordinator for level one occupational therapy fieldwork and an occupational therapist who specializes in vision, describes Bowyer as an incredible mentor, supervisor and academic.
“She is always approachable, creative and willing to take the time to help me brainstorm ideas both on campus and in my personal clinic,” said Sternberg, who is collaborating with Bowyer on a study that examines why patients do not always utilize adaptive tools, such as magnifiers and glasses. “She is a strong academic who fully values the importance of occupation and the role it plays in my patients' lives. Even if she is not as familiar with the patient population, she continues to help by encouraging the theoretical base that underlies all of my clinical practice.”