CPERL is celebrating our first OTD graduate! Briana Rigau wraps up her time in our lab on May 20. She has chosen to transition to Peek-a-boo Pediatric Therapy in Denver, Colorado to work as an occupational therapist in early intervention. At her new position, Briana will gain further structured mentorship as an occupational therapist and have an opportunity to use her acquired skills to strengthen provider capacity for research engagement at Peek-a-boo Pediatric Therapy.

Briana shares, “I have had the wonderful opportunity to learn from my mentor, Dr. Khetani; CPERL members; and our community partners. I am so thankful for the many opportunities available to me during my time in CPERL. I have learned tremendous amounts about family-centered care, function-focused care, electronic patient-reported outcome measures, and health services research. I gained experience in coordinating a multi-site NIH funded project. I gained formal and informal training in building and sustaining community partnerships.These experiences have deepened my understanding of the critical role practitioner and caregiver engagement play in advancing knowledge about how children’s participation, performance, environment, and service use link to one another. Time and time again, I had the privilege to fail forward. Using my “failures” as a springboard, I was able to successfully co-design a professional development opportunity to build early intervention practitioner capacity for health services research engagement. I know that this is a ‘see you later’ rather than a ‘goodbye’ and I will continue to seek opportunities to collaborate with CPERL moving forward. Thank you to all of the CPERL members who I have had the pleasure of working with over the past 3 years. Your camaraderie, support, and mentorship have been invaluable and have helped to shape who I am and will become as an occupational therapist.”

Mary shares, It has been a joy to mentor Briana over the past three years to complete an MS/OTD program of study. She built foundational knowledge and skills to be a research engaged practitioner and then leveraged them to design and carry out her doctoral project. Her desire to cultivate practitioner curiosity and tolerance for failure when engaged in research to build new knowledge for practice eventually led to the conception of an ambitious project. Her organizational skills and keen attention to detail ensured its rigorous and timely completion. Her willingness to mentor and be mentored resulted in her ability to innovate and pursue excellence in the short term and build an authentic and lasting connection to the work in the longer-term. I couldn’t be more excited about all that she will contribute to our profession through her chosen career trajectory. We will miss her!”

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