Meet our Faculty

Johnson & Wales has a long history of hiring high-quality faculty members with years of expertise in their fields. The faculty in this OTD program are terminally-degreed individuals with strong academic and professional credentials. They also have experience developing and teaching occupational therapy courses.

This profession allows for so much creativity: We look at individual needs and identify how to adapt in order to help people meet their goals. ASSISTANT PROFESSOR REBECCA SIMON

Ann Burkhardt, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Professor, program founder and director Ann Burkhardt understands the personal and professional aspects of occupational therapy. She served as a caregiver for parents with dementia and brings 30-plus years of experience spanning both the clinician and educational side of occupational therapy.

Burkhardt’s clinical work has been primarily hospital-based (NYPH-Columbia, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NYPH-Weill Cornell and Columbia University-Harlem Hospital). She is also experienced in sub-acute rehabilitation and longterm care, home care, private practice and consulting. She is passionate about teaching at the doctoral level.

“We need more transitional services for our growing aging population,” notes Burkhardt. “Graduates can meet the needs that are not being met by the community now. A doctorate will help them develop unexplored fields and deliver educated messages about how to be successful in your own home. Living at home and remaining a productive member of the community is the wave of the future.”


Rebecca L. Simon, OTR/L

Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Rebecca Simon is an occupational therapist with more than two decades of experience in pediatrics. As a former professor in JWU’s Physician Assistant program, Simon’s interprofessional depth is an asset to the development of the state's first occupational therapy doctorate.

Simon’s clinical practice has focused on pediatrics with a specialty in sensory integration. She offers private occupational therapy consultation and services to families with children who have special needs.

“Occupational therapy is part of who I am in daily life,” says Simon. “I look at a problem and think, ‘If I can’t fix it, how can I work around it?’ We compensate when we can’t remediate. This profession allows for so much creativity: We look at individual needs and identify how to adapt in order to help people meet their goals.”


Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA

Amy Wagenfeld is an occupational therapist, educator, researcher, author, and therapeutic design consultant. She is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and holds specialty certification in environmental modifications through the AOTA, as well as certification in Healthcare Garden Design through the Chicago Botanical Garden.

Wagenfeld presents and publishes widely in peer-reviewed and popular press publications on topics relating to collaboration with designers and access to nature. Design projects include:

  • collaboration with landscape architects on memory care and assisted living gardens
  • evidence-based design guidelines for site design for wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Naval Military Center VA
  • a sensory garden for individuals with autism
  • a serenity garden at a Florida state park
  • a garden for children in the foster care system