Andrea Gurga

Andrea Collage

What drew you to CPERL? How does CPERL align with your professional vision?

I was introduced to Dr. Khetani during my MS in Occupational Therapy program when I enrolled in her elective course, OT 594 Pediatric Processes of Care.  Lively class discussions left me yearning to make a difference as an occupational therapist, hungry for opportunities to improve pediatric systems of care.  After learning more about CPERL, I realized that its scope aligned well with my professional vision of advancing current processes of pediatric care through the use of environmentally-focused measures and tools.

What do you work on in CPERL?

Since May 2017, I have co-coordinated the completion of an AOTF-funded project to undertake initial testing of PEM+ and co-authored another study whereby we analyzed open-ended PEM items to examine caregiver use of participation-focused strategies. My involvement in these projects has expanded my understanding of how research is useful for building out assessment tools so that they can facilitate provider-caregiver communication to improve care quality. I am leveraging what I have learned to complete my OTD capstone project this year. My project will focus on optimizing select PEM+ features.

What has been your most memorable moment in CPERL to date?

My most memorable experiences in CPERL to date involve our lively lab meetings.  We come together each week to share updates related to our given areas of lab focus, give and receive feedback, and learn of lab happenings.  In addition, our team shares exciting news and opportunities to “fail forward”.  The honesty, comradery, and support our team members show one another during these meetings is something I value and cherish – it feels like a family.

What are your favorite ways to occupy yourself, and what does it mean for you to participate in these activities?

I enjoy practicing hot yoga, running, traveling, spending time with loved ones, and exploring the beautiful city of Chicago.  Participating in these activities provides me with a sense of self – I take great pride after a satisfying yoga session, checking off a US National Park from my bucket list, or experiencing a new ‘gem’ in my favorite city.  Understanding the sense of self-efficacy one gains from participating in occupation has helped to guide my interactions with clients, considering each person a unique partner in determining participation-focused goals that are meaningful for their lives.