Nancy R. Dooley Named OTD Program Director

Group posing for a photo

Nancy R. Dooley, Ph.D., OTR/L, CDP has been named program director of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program (OTD) at Johnson & Wales University.

For more than 25 years, Dooley has been an occupational therapist in Rhode Island, working with people who have mental, physical and cognitive impairments that impact their ability to do the things they need and want to do every day. She has varied clinical experience in hospital and community mental health, including work with families experiencing homelessness and supervision of students in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living settings, adult day programs and home care.

Dooley is looking forward to leading the newly-launched program and has already begun working to establish community connections. “I’m looking forward to all of the different ways we can connect with the community in Providence,” she says, “in a healthcare setting or otherwise.” The OTD building, located in Providence’s Downcity campus, is a stone’s throw away from schools, elder care services, and programs that help with the mentally and physically disabled.

"I’m looking forward to all of the different ways we can connect with the community in Providence."

Dooley spent 17 years teaching and developing the first occupational therapy master’s degree program in Rhode Island. She taught at a state university in Massachusetts and recently left to join the faculty of JWU’s new occupational therapy doctorate program.

As a leader within the Rhode Island Occupational Therapy Association, she is part of an interdisciplinary group pursuing legislative efforts to improve access to non-pharmaceutical pain interventions for Rhode Islanders.

Her research interests are assessment of functional cognition and maximizing quality of life for people with dementia and their family caregivers. Dooley earned a B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy from New York University.

The inaugural class, who will finish their doctorates in 2022, has provided a great starting point for Dooley’s entry into directorship. “They are a really great group,” she says. “They are bright, enthusiastic, and already making a mark on campus.”