Christine Childers PT, MS, GCS

Chris received her degree in Physiotherapy from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. This program is a combined PT and OT program so a strong affiliation between the two disciplines is taught and has stayed with her throughout her career.  Moving to the US in 1998, Chris practiced in the skilled nursing arena and became a board certified Geriatric clinical specialist in 2005 the same year she completed her MS in Gerontology.  In 2012 she transitioned from full time clinician to assistant professor at the University of St. Augustine and continues to work part time in home health care.   She first met the Allen Cognitive levels when Cathy Elgas presented at the University and since then has been passionate about ensuring that PTs understand the importance of cognitive levels in all arenas, including outpatient.  She has been delighted to present at two ACN symposiums emphasizing the importance for PTs to learn about cognitive issues and work closely with their OT colleagues to achieve this.   

Bauer, Constance, OTR/L, Western Montana Mental Health Center; Missoula, MO

Connie Bauer has used the cognitive disabilities model since the early 1980s in inpatient and community health and mental health settings and has taught this model to OT students in clinical and academic settings. For the past 12 years, she has provided vocational services to clients of the Western Montana Mental Health Center in Missoula, Montana. She is a member of the ACN board and Chair of the Membership Committee.


Tanya Feddern-Bekcan, MOT, OTR/L, DCCT, MLIS

Tanya Feddern-Bekcan, OTR/L, got her start in OT with pediatrics in the hippotherapy setting, but has been working with late middle-age and geriatric clients since 2011. She is also a medical librarian and for many years, taught an academic course on Evidence-Based Medicine to University of Miami medical students and CE courses to nurses and other clinicians at the Jackson Memorial Hospital. She is an experienced and comfortable public speaker who has presented at numerous conferences in the US and Canada. The specialized training she received at Dementia Care Specialists has greatly enriched her skills as a therapist. Occupational Therapy: Activities for Practice and Teaching by Estelle B. Breines, Claudia Allen’s Model of Cognitive Disabilities, and Sensory Integration have formed her core philosophies in OT, leading to many engaging (and even fun!) sessions for her and her clients.


Alyssa Ford, DHS, OTR, Area Rehab Clinucak Specialist, Legacy Healthcare Services

Alyssa earned a Doctor of Health Science degree from the University of Indianapolis and serves as the Area Rehab Clinical Specialist for Legacy Healthcare Services. Dr. Ford’s clinical experience includes acute care, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and memory care units. Dr. Ford has successfully implemented the cognitive disabilities model in a variety of settings. She is an Authorized Instructor through Dementia Care Specialists/Crisis Prevention Institute for the Dementia Capable Care: Foundation Course. Dr. Ford is a co-author of the Functional Cognitive Assessment, which is a standardized, performance-based test of functional cognition. She was also a recipient of the 2015 Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter Early Investigator Scholarship for Dementia Research and Study. Dr. Ford is licensed to practice Occupational Therapy in Indiana. Dr. Ford is credentialed through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Indiana Occupational Therapy Association, and the Allen Cognitive Network.


Metzger, Lizabeth, MS, OTR/L, Crisis Prevention Institute

Liz Metzger graduated from Boston University Sargent College with her MSOT in 2011. She currently works for the Dementia Care Specialists within Crisis Prevention Institute. She trains clinicains around the country in the use of the Cognitive Disabilities Model for older adults living with dementia. She was so impressed and excited by the Allen Cognitive Network conference in 2012 she decided she had to get more involved. Liz is co-chairing the website committee.



Marrero, Manny, MS, OTR/L, Cape Cod Healthcare's Centers for Behavioral Health; Hyanis, MA

Manny Marrero is a Mental Health Occupational Therapist at Cape Cod Healthcare’s Centers for Behavioral Health in Hyannis, Massachusetts. After serving eight years honorably in the United States Marine Corps, Manny attended Westfield State University, where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Sports Medicine. He continued his education, earning a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Manny serves on the board of directors for NAMI Cape Cod & the Islands. During his off time, he volunteers and acts as a mentor to a young boy through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands. Manny was recently honored by Cape Cod and Plymouth Business Magazine as one of the area’s 40 Under 40 for excelling in his profession and showing dynamic leadership in the community.


Allison Sullivan, DOT, MS, OTR/L, OTD Program Coordinator and an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at American International College in Springfield, MA.
Dr Sullivan is the 2017 recipient of the Massachusetts Association of Occupational Therapists’s Catherine Trombly award for excellence in research and education. Her recent study, "Impact of a Fieldwork Experience on Attitudes Toward People with Intellectual Disabilities", is published in the 2017 November/December issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. As an occupational therapist and educator, Dr. Sullivan has dedicated her career toward improving the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan, working in day habilitation services, school-based occupational therapy, and residential settings in a career spanning 24 years. She is the chair of the MAOT Western Massachusetts Mental Health Special Interest Group, a certified group exercise and yoga instructor (RYT), and the co-founder and leader of #OTalk2US, a monthly Twitter chat for occupational therapists with over 60 million views of tweets carrying this tag. Please visit her website www.allisulli.com for more information on her work.


Urish, Christine, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Davenport, IA

Christine Urish graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1989 and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1994. She has worked clinically in psychiatric/behavioral health settings working with adolescents through older adults, throughout her career in Iowa and Illinois. She has been an Occupational Therapy educator at St. Ambrose University since 1994 and completed a PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2005 from the University of Iowa. She has used the cognitive disabilities model in clinical practice since 1989 and has presented on this model in Brazil where she takes students to experience Brazilian culture and health care through a special topics course offered every other year. She was awarded a Fellow through the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2008 for exemplary contributions to Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy Education and Occupational Therapy Practice. She was one of the first Board Certified Occupational Therapists in Mental Health (BCMH) and currently possesses this advanced certification through 2016.

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