Mary Frances Baxter, PhD, OT, FAOTA

Professor, Houston Center


IHSH 6003
6700 Fannin Street
Houston, TX 77036
Phone: 713-794-2321


Mary F. Baxter has a BS from Colorado State University, an MA from Texas Woman’s University and a PhD from University of Houston.  She has been an occupational therapist for over 30 years and has clinical experience in oncology, pediatrics and adult acute care and rehabilitation. Dr. Baxter has a strong background in neuroscience which she currently translates into research in creativity, cancer and postural control. 

Research Focus

 I currently have 3 primary areas of scholarly inquiry:

  1. Occupational Therapy with cancer patients and survivors
  2. Creativity in occupational therapy practice and education
  3. Postural control across the lifespan

Current Students/Projects





Regina Budet

Postural control in persons with low vision


Linda Barnett

Spiritual practices as a client factor in occupational therapy


Shannon Coker

Postural control in children on the autism spectrum; development of a clinically useful measure.


Ingrid Franc

Validity of the sock test: A functional sitting balance assessment for use in the acute care setting. 


Joseph Noack

Clinical utility of creativity with persons with emotionally disturbances

Area of Research: Cancer


Baxter, M. F., Newman, R., Longpre, S. M., & Polo, K. M. (2017). Occupational therapy's role in cancer survivorship as a chronic condition.   American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71 (3)., doi: 10.5014/ajot.2017.713001.

Baxter, M. F., Smith, T. M., & Wahowski, J. (2014). Effects of Cognitive Changes to Life Participation of Cancer Survivors. Online Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2 (2)., doi: [Spring]

Baxter, M., Dulworth, A. N., & Smith, T. M. (2011). Mild Cognitive Impairment in Cancer Survivors. Occupational Therapy in Health Care: A Journal of Contemporary Practice, 25 (1), 26-37.

Morris, G. S., Gallagher, G., Baxter, M., & Scheetz, J. (2009). Pulmonary rehabilitation improves functional status in oncology patients. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.


Longpre, S. M., Baxter, M. F., Newman, R., & Polo, K. M. (2016). Cancer Survivorship as a Chronic Condition; Implications for Occupational Therapy. AOTA Specialty Conference, Orlando, Florida.

Dulworth, A., Baxter, M., & Smith, T. M. (2010). Identification of Mild Cognitive Impairments In Cancer Survivors. World Federation of Occupational Therapists, Santiago, Chile. 

Baxter, M. (2007). Role of OT with the Cachexia Patient. Palliative Care and Physical Medicine Conference, Houston, Texas.

Area of Research: Creativity


Baxter, M. F. (2015). Neurological Implications of Creativity. In M Coffey, G. Hersch, & N Lamport, (Eds.), Creative Engagement in Occupation; Building Professional Skills. Thorofare, NJ: Slack Incorporated.

Baxter, M. F. & Fletcher, T. (2009). Creativity; Exploring the Possibilities. Society for the Study of Occupation (SSO): USA.  


Baxter, M. F. & Fletcher, T. (2017). Applying Creativity Theories to Occupational Therapy Practice. 2017 AOTA Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Baxter, M. F. & Fletcher, T. (2017). Tracing the History of the Constructs of Creativity in Occupational Therapy Practice and Education. 2017 AOTA Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Boiselle, A. & Baxter, M. F. (2014). Creative Thinking and the Occupational Therapist: A Preliminary Study. American Occupational Therapy Association National Conference, Baltimore, Maryland

Fletcher, T. & Baxter, M. (2012). Creativity; Exploring the Possibilities.   National Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Baxter, M. F. & Fletcher, T. (2009, October). Creativity; Exploring the Possibilities.   Society for the Study of Occupation (SSO): USA, New Haven, Connecticut.

Baxter, M. & Filip, H. (2007). Therapeutic Use of Creative Activities.   Central Conference of the Texas Occupational Therapy Association, Houston, Texas.

Area of Research: Postural Control across the lifespan


Chang, P. J., Baxter, M. F., & Risky, J. (2016).  Effectiveness of interventions within the scope of occupational therapy practice to improve motor function of people with traumatic brain injury: A systematic review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70 (3)., doi: DOI: 10.5014/ajot.2016.020867.

Nelson, M. & Baxter, M. F. (2014). Postural Control in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.   NDTA NETWORK, 21 (1), 20-26.  [February]

Layne, C. S., Mulavara, A. P., Bloomberg, J. J., Forth, K. E., Baxter, M., Houser, JJ (2002).  Using dynamic foot stimulation during space flight as a countermeasure to muscle degradation. Neuroscience Letters., doi: DOI:10.1109/IEMBS.2002.1053220.  [January]

Layne, C. S., Forth, K. E., Baxter, M., & Houser, J. J. (2002).  Voluntary neuromuscular activation is enhanced when paired with a mechanical stimulus to human plantar soles. Neuroscience Letters., doi: DOI: 10.1016/S0304-3940(02)01104-7.  [December]


Baxter, M., Barerra, J., Nelson, M., & Pinon, A. (2011). Postural Control in Children with Autism. Mountain Central/Texas Occupational Therapy Association, Richardson, Texas.  

Baxter, M., Christopher, C., Lauzon, R., & Wiggin, M. (2006). Postural Control Problems in Children with Brachial Plexus Injury, A Retrospective Review.   World Federation of Occupational Therapists Conference, Sydney, Australia.  

Baxter, M. F. (2004, October). Postural Control Across the Lifespan. Vanderkooi Endowed Lecture Series, Dallas, Texas. 

Baxter, M. F. (2003, September). Development of Postural Control. Texas Occupational Therapy Association State Conference Mountain Central, Richardson, Texas.  

Baxter, M. F. (2003, June). Development of Postural Control. American Occupational Therapy Association, Washington DC, Washington.

Broad Research Areas for SOT

  1. Participation and Context (creativity and oncology)
  2. Occupation and Adaptation (Creativity, Oncology and postural control)
  3. Applied Reasoning-classroom, clinic, community (Creativity)

Page last updated 3:17 PM, October 17, 2017