March 22, 2017
By Greg Peters
Carrie Ciro, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, has been named the chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy Education in the University of Kansas School of Health Professions, effective July 1.
Ciro comes to the University of Kansas Medical Center from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center where she has served in the College of Allied Health since 2010, most recently as an associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, which includes both occupational and physical therapy education. She will be taking over a department that was recently ranked No. 4 nationally among public graduate school programs in occupational therapy by U.S. News and World Report.
"I am humbled and greatly respect what this department has achieved," Ciro said. "I look forward to working with the faculty to create an enhanced vision for our future - including maintaining and exceeding our national rankings."
"I am delighted to have such an accomplished educator, researcher, and clinician as Dr. Ciro lead our vibrant and highly ranked Occupational Therapy Education program in the University of Kansas School of Health Professions," said Abiodun Akinwuntan, Ph.D., MPH, MBA., dean of the School of Health Professions. "Dr. Ciro's teaching portfolio, research expertise, clinical experience and professional service experience all align to ensure success in her new role. I look forward to working with her."
Ciro has focused on working with older adults with chronic conditions. Among her interests are the identification and prevention of occupational disabilities in older adults. She has worked to understand how cognitive decline affects a person's ability to perform daily functions. And she has developed evidence-based interventions that either help maintain a person's ability to perform activities of daily life, or delay their decline. Ciro was the first occupational therapist to earn a national grant from the Alzheimer's Association to test a rehabilitation intervention for people with mild-moderate dementia.
Ciro has practiced occupational therapy in settings in Texas and Oklahoma since her clinical career began in 1990. One of the highlights of her career was developing and directing an occupational therapy program in Oklahoma's only Level I trauma unit. The program helped patients, starting in the intensive care unit through their rehabilitation.
She has served multiple roles academically, and was the recipient of an interprofessional grant to teach occupational therapists, physical therapists and nurse practitioners how to deliver health services via telemedicine. She has published numerous papers and articles in scholarly journals, and was named a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2013.
"KU has such a well-respected program," Ciro said. "Opportunities abound for interprofessional collaboration through the KU Alzheimer's Disease Center, the Landon Center on Aging and the Zamierowski Institute for Experiential Learning."
Ciro earned her undergraduate degree in occupational therapy from OU Health Sciences Center in 1990. She received a Master's of Health Science in Occupational Therapy in 2000 from the University of Indianapolis. And in 2010, she received her doctorate in preventive medicine and community health from the University of Texas Medical Branch.