Sarah Smidl named chair of Radford University’s Department of Occupational Therapy
Radford University has named Sarah Smidl, Ph.D., the permanent chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy. Smidl has served as the interim chair since August 2018 and is in her ninth year as an associate professor in the department.
During her time as interim chair, Smidl led the integration of undergraduate and graduate occupational therapy programs into the department as Radford University Carilion (RUC) was established. As part of this integration, she was instrumental in the full accreditation of a new Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) site at RUC from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Since the establishment of RUC in July 2019, Smidl has continued to make a positive impact on the department through her work to develop new applicant review processes, change prerequisite requirements and implement of on-site interviews for applicants, as well as assessing the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.) and Occupational Therapy Assistant (O.T.A.) programs. Her continuing work on the O.T.A. program includes transitioning the associate degree program to a baccalaureate level.
Smidl also created and led an Occupational Therapy Advisory Committee to help inform the department about community needs and trends, as well as to disseminate information about occupational therapists to the community.
Before coming to Radford, Smidl worked with children and adolescents with autism and other developmental disabilities for over 20 years in early intervention, outpatient and school settings. Through her service and scholarship, she currently focuses on addressing the needs of offenders in prison, including those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
Smidl also focuses on educating students and professionals on how to care for individuals with disabilities in locations around the world where therapeutic services are limited. She has led trips to locations such as Jamaica, Africa and Central America with the nonprofit organization Therapy Missions.
Kenneth M. Cox, Au.D., M.P.H., CCC-A, professor and dean of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services, said, “I am excited that Sarah has accepted this permanent role and will continue her outstanding leadership of the Department of Occupational Therapy. During her tenure as interim chair, she has proven that her experience, dedication and determination will ensure that Radford University continues educating innovative and accomplished occupational therapists for years to come.”
Smidl completed a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Florida International University and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Child, Adolescent and Family Development from Virginia Tech.