Andrea Fairman

Associate Professor & Capstone Coordinator

JWU Faculty Since 2021


Contact Info


About Andrea

Andrea Fairman, Ph.D., MOT, OTR/L, CPRP grew up in the countryside of western Pennsylvania in the small town of Rural Valley. She had never heard of occupational therapy and had decided to pursue a career as a psychiatrist. She began her career working in human services providing training for persons receiving public assistance benefits to help them get back to work while earning her Bachelor’s degree at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. At Duquesne, she learned about occupational therapy and decided to apply to their weekend program designed for working adults. Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences, she then worked as a case manager for persons with serious mental illness while earning her entry-level Master’s degree (MOT) in occupational therapy. While working in community mental health it became clear that occupational therapy was the perfect fit for her interests. Every day at work provided a wealth of opportunity to apply what she was learning in the classroom.

Fairman’s MOT thesis project focused on writing a grant proposal and development of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. The grant was awarded and upon completing her MOT degree in 2001, she developed the program which still successfully operates today. Fairman was one of the first 100 persons in the world to take the exam to become a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP), since at the time OTs were not recognized as licensed mental health providers in the state of Pennsylvania.

In 2003, she decided to return to school to eventually earn her PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh - 10 years later! During this time, Fairman continued to work in clinical and administrative roles gaining new skills and experiences along the way with a variety of populations and settings including home health, school-based services, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient, and served as the Executive Director of the Spina Bifida Association of Western PA before entering academia full-time in 2010.


  • Ph.D., Rehabilitation Science, University of Pittsburgh
  • MOT, Occupational Therapy, Duquesne University
  • BS, Health Sciences, Duquesne University

I believe people learn best by doing. Whenever possible, I prefer to teach students much the same way that I work with clients through experiential learning. Let’s not just talk about it, let’s do it!

Teaching Interests

Dr. Fairman has taught a wide variety of courses in several occupational therapy programs. Some of her favorite topics to teach include: Assistive Technology, Research Methods, Pediatrics, and Mental Health.


  • OTD8270: Technology & Innovation in Occupational Therapy
  • OTD8215: Introduction to Capstone I