Top of Page
Skip main navigation

Occupational Therapy (OTD) - CHAOS

Request / Apply Now

To receive more information about NSU occupational therapy programs or to apply now, use one of the options below.

Request Information

Apply Now

CHAOS logo

CHAOS - The Community and Health Advocacy through Occupational Studies


Community and Health Advocacy through Occupational Studies (CHAOS)

Mission Statement

CHAOS serves as a platform for all scholars, which include students, faculty and other practitioners to promote the advancement of occupational studies in the global community

Vision Statement

We envision that CHAOS inspires, promotes, and contributes to the study of occupational studies

Background and Development

The Community and Health Advocacy through Occupational Studies (CHAOS) is a virtual community dedicated to promoting research in occupational studies with the goal of informing the practice of occupational therapy, to raise awareness and advocate for occupational justice, and to improve the health and wellness of individuals, communities, and populations. To assist with disseminating research and promoting discourse among scholars from around the world, CHAOS established OCCUPATION: A Medium of Inquiry for Students, Faculty & Other Practitioners Advocating for Health through Occupational Studies. This electronic scholarly journal serves as a platform for contributors—including current students, recent graduates, occupational therapy practitioners, and professionals, from a variety disciplines.

On the evening of November 14, 2014, before an audience of 300 people during the NSU OTD program’s Fall Ceremonies, the Class of 2015—along with the program’s Founding Director, Dr. Ricardo Carrasco, Program Professor, Dr. Mirtha Whaley, and Associate Dean of the College of Health Care Sciences, Dr. Peter Taylor—held a formal ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the inauguration of Community & Health Advocacy through Occupational Studies (CHAOS) and the launching of OCCUPATION: A Medium of Inquiry for Students, Faculty & Other Practitioners Advocating for Health through Occupational Studies.

During the Fall Ceremonies, on November 13, 2015; the Class of 2016 unveiled the updated CHAOS: Community & Health Advocacy through Occupational Studies website and launched OCCUPATION: A Medium of Inquiry for Students, Faculty & Other Practitioners Advocating for Health through Occupational Studies (OMI) journal. During the ceremonies the class of 2015 passed the legacy torch to the class of 2016, who then passed it down to the class of 2017, in order to symbolize the next step of the Legacy Project.

The Legacy Project will continue via this virtual community and the publication of the journal "OCCUPATION" which will be hosted by NSUWorks in November, 2016.


During the Fall of 2014, six third-year students from the entry-level doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) program at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Tampa campus enrolled in the specialized, elective course of Occupational Science. As they began learning about the discipline of occupational science, they recognized its importance in providing a research base that helps to inform the practice of occupational therapy. In addition, they came to discover that there were relatively few professional organizations and resources available to help further the study of occupational studies, especially for aspiring students and other scholars.

Working with their professor, these six students collaborated to create a brand new professional organization and scholarly journal dedicated to the advancement of occupational studies. After creating an organizational structure and electing to share equal responsibility as the founding Board of Directors, they invited the remaining nine students in their cohort, who had instead chosen to take the other specialized elective course Wellness and Health Promotion in Occupational Therapy, to join them as founding members and assist in the development and implementation of their new organization and journal. This venture would become known as The Legacy Project, and all 15 members of the Class of 2015—the inaugural class in NSU Tampa Campus’ OTD program—came together to work on this groundbreaking endeavor. Through the creation of this new organization and journal, the Class of 2015 hoped to not only fulfill the important mission of promoting occupational studies research globally, but to also create a lasting legacy that could be passed down to subsequent NSU OTD cohorts in the years to come. Every cohort will have a chance to leave their own legacy through the continued development and administration of CHAOS, the virtual community, and OCCUPATION: A Medium of Inquiry for Students, Faculty & Other Practitioners Advocating for Health through Occupational Studies and each student will have the opportunity to leave an individual legacy by submitting a scholarly article for publication in the journal.

The class of 2016 answered the call to continue The Legacy Project conceptualized by the class of 2015. During the Fall 2016 semester the nine students in the Occupational Science course completed the CHAOS and OCCUPATION website and completed the first edition of the OCCUPATION journal. The occupational science class invited the remaining eleven classmates in their cohort that elected to take the specialized elective course Wellness and Health Promotion in Occupational Therapy, to join them in writing publishable papers for the 2nd edition of OCCUPATION.

The class of 2017 will continue creating publishable papers addressing health advocacy and occupational studies.

CHAOS Founding
Board of Directors
CHAOS Founding
Ricardo C. Carrasco Chelsea Bryant
Mirtha Montejo Whaley Ellie Edrissi
Ellie Edrissi Annie He
Larry Holmes Larry Holmes
Kristin McMillen Hillarie Hough
Hillarie Whitacre Kristin McMillen
Jamie Williams Shree Patel
Ashley Steadman
My-Lynn Tran
Hillary Whitacre
Jamie Williams
Hillarie Hough Chelsea Bryant
Kristin McMillen Annie He
Jamie Williams Larry Holmes
Oluwaseyi Akapo Shree Patel
Kimberly Bartels Ashley Steadman
Molly Christian  
Kristine Cinco Website
Megan Dadez Kristine Cinco
Monica Hodge Megan Dadez
Korie Jackson Ellie Edrissi
Tara Johnson Lillian Freeman
Crystal Key Megan Granata
Nikita Mathew Crystal Key
Lee Meach Lee Meach
Jaslin Parhar Amanda Pignion
Amanda Pignon Shannon Taylor
Mara Rosen My-Lynn Tran
Brittaney Sargent Yazmin Walker
Shannon Taylor Hillary Whitacre
Yazmin Walker Brittany Whitworth
Kelly Walsh  
Brittany Whitworth  
Kim Yetman  

"Anything that we have to learn to do we learn by the actual doing of it... We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate ones, brave by doing brave ones."

Aristotle Niconachean Ethics, Book II, p.9

Occupational studies is a term used to describe the collection of concepts surrounding occupation. This includes the values and philosophies of occupational therapy, occupational science, and the notion that humans are occupational beings.

Occupational therapy is a rehabilitation profession that utilizes therapeutic activities (occupations) with individuals or groups for the purpose of enhancing or enabling participation in roles, habits, and routines in the home, school, workplace, community, and other settings (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2014). The term occupational therapy practitioner is used interchangeably for occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistants.

Occupational therapy practitioners utilize therapeutic use of self to engage clients in valuable occupations within context; to design occupation-based intervention plans that:

  • Facilitate change or growth in client factors (body functions, body structures values, beliefs, and spirituality)
  • Develop skills (motor, process, and social interaction) needed for successful participation
  • Encourage functional engagement through adaptations and modifications to the environment or objects within the environment when needed
  • Provide techniques to clientele allowing for the acquisition of skills needed to promote health and wellness in their lives
  • Provide techniques to clientele allowing for the acquisition of skills needed to promote health and wellness in their lives

Occupational science is a relatively new discipline that emerged in the late 1980s with the intent of providing a research base that would inform the clinical practice of occupational therapy (Pierce, 2014). At its core, it seeks to understand the relationship between humans, occupations, and health (Yerxa et al., 1989), including:

  • Why people engage in occupations
  • How people's occupations influence their health, well-being, and quality of life
  • How people's health influences their occupational participation and performance
  • How people's environments enable and/or prevent them from engaging in occupations
  • How being deprived of opportunities to engage in occupations can affect people's health

Occupational science embraces a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on work from scholars in a variety of disciplines, including psychology, anthropology, sociology, and public health (Pierce, 2014). By advancing our understanding of the ways in which occupations influence the health of individuals and communities, the field of occupational science equips occupational therapy practitioners and other professionals with valuable information that can be used to address global health concerns and to advocate for occupational justice both locally and around the world.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice

            framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational

            Therapy, 68(Suppl. 1), S1-S48.

Pierce, D. (2014). Occupational science: A powerful disciplinary knowledge base for

            occupational therapy. In D. Pierce (Ed.), Occupational science for occupational

            therapy (pp.1-10). Thorofare, NJ: SLACK Incorporated.

Judson, L. (2006). Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics, Books II – IV. (C. C. W. Taylor,

            Trans). New York: Oxford University Press. (Original work published c. 325 BC)

Yerxa, E., Clark, F., Jackson, J., Parham, D., Pierce, D., Stein, C., & Zemke, R. (1990).

            An introduction to occupational science, a foundation for occupational therapy in

            the 21st century. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 6(4), 1-17.

Return to top of page