Diane L. Smith, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Photo of OTD Associate Professor Diane Smith
Professor and Doctoral Capstone Coordinator
Occupational Therapy
(617) 643-0504
Office Location: 
Shouse - 247

Diane L. Smith, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor and Doctoral Capstone Coordinator in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Prior to her move to MGH Institute, Dr. Smith was Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Missouri, and on the faculty at Saint Louis University and at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of interest include health policy, research, and disability advocacy.

Dr. Smith has practiced in various areas of occupational therapy including outpatient rehabilitation and served as a consultant to Walt Disney World, initiating occupational therapy services for employees and providing suggestions for ergonomic adaptations for injury prevention. She has held administrative roles with HealthSouth Rehabilitation in Orlando, Florida, and with Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

She has over 40 peer-reviewed publications, 6 book chapters and has presented at the international, national and state level. Her areas of research interest are social justice related to health literacy and issues of empowerment for people with disabilities, specifically women, including the effect of policy on employment, access to health care and education. She has also published with students looking at issues related to occupational therapy’s role in issues of intersectionality and climate change.

Dr. Smith was formerly an associate editor for the American Journal of Occupational Therapy and the NBCOT Continuing Competency Project, and was elected to the Roster of Fellows for the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2009.

Research Interests

  • Health policy; specifically disability policy related to access for persons with disabilities (especially subpopulations, women and veterans) to employment and education 
  • Health literacy related to health communication for vulnerable populations and assessment of health care environments


Smith, D.L., Fleming, K., Brown, L., Allen, A., Baker, J., & Gallagher, M. (in press).  Occupational therapy and environmental sustainability:  A scoping review.  Annals of International Occupational Therapy.

Leslie, C., Smith, D.L., & Nicolas, P.K. (in press).  Health literacy understanding of early intervention providers: A scoping review.  Journal of Nurse Practitioners.

Jaegers, L.A. Skinner, E., Conners, B., Hayes, C., West-Bruce, S., Vaughn, M.G., Smith, D.L.& Barney, K.F (in press).  Evaluation of jail-based occupational therapy transition and integration services program for community re-entry.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy

Erler, K.S., Juengst, S.B., Smith, D.L., O’Neill-Pirozzi, T.M., Novack, T.A., Berquist, T.F., ..
Whitneck, G.G. (2018).  Examining driving and participation 5 years after traumatic brain injury.  OTJR:  Occupation, Participation and Health, 38, 143-150.

Smith, D.L., Atmatzidis, K., Capogreco, M., Lloyd-Randolfi, D., & Seman, V.  (2016). Evidence-based interventions for increasing work participation for persons with disabilities:  A systematic review.  OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 131 (suppl.), 1-11.

PubMed summary of abstracts for Dr. Smith.


  • Health policy; specifically disability policy related to access for persons with disabilities, using an intersectional approach, to health care, employment and education. 
  • Social justice issues, such as racism and climate change and the role of occupational therapy to address these environmental issues.

Curriculum Vitae