American Occupational Therapy Foundation Honors Two at Colorado State University

Note to Reporters: Photos of Patti Davies and Bill Farland are available with the news release at or

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation on Saturday honored Patti Davies, associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, and Bill Farland, vice president for Research at Colorado State University, with two of the foundation’s most prestigious awards.

Davies was inducted into the foundation’s Academy of Research – an honor bestowed on fewer than 50 researchers around the country. Farland accepted the 2010 Meritorious Service Award for his many contributions to the organization and the occupational therapy profession. The awards ceremony was held at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s 90th Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Colorado State’s Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Applied Human Sciences has ranked among the top 10 programs in the nation since 1998 and is currently ranked eighth by U.S. News and World Report. About 40 students are admitted each fall into the professional master’s program.

“Educational opportunities in this field have changed significantly in the past decade, moving largely from an undergraduate to a graduate curriculum and on research and evidence-based practice,” Farland said. “I’ve been pleased to be part of those advancements, and given that framework, I’m very proud of the outstanding work of Dr. Davies and Colorado State’s occupational therapy department.”

Davies has a joint appointment with the Departments of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University. She is also a faculty member in the Molecular, Cellular and Integrated Neuroscience Program. She received her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy at Colorado State, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in neuroscience and developmental psychology at the University of Wyoming. She taught at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, for six years before coming to CSU in the fall of 2000.

Davies, who has 20 years of experience as a pediatric occupational therapist, is director of the Brainwaves Research Laboratory at CSU. The focus of her research is to understand the development of neurophysiological mechanisms that underlie cognitive and motor behaviors in children with and without disorders. Through various tests, she is able to relate brain activity to sensory and cognitive functional performance. Along with William Gavin and numerous graduate and undergraduate students, she has collected data on more than 800 children and adolescents.

Farland has served as a member of the foundation’s board of directors for 12 years, including two terms as the foundation’s treasurer. In presenting the award to Farland, Charles Christiansen, executive director of the foundation, noted that Farland’s “expertise in research on both the national and international levels, as well as his keen knowledge of governmental agencies, has provided a unique perspective that has greatly benefitted the American Occupational Therapy Foundation as well as the occupational therapy profession.”

When Farland joined Colorado State in September 2006, he was the highest ranking career scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency. He served as deputy assistant administrator for science in the EPA’s Office of Research and Development and also directed the EPA’s Office of the Science Advisor, which serves as the authority on integrating sound science in regulatory decisions. He served as Acting Agency Science Advisor throughout 2005. The Academy of Toxicological Sciences named him a Fellow in 2008. Since he has been at Colorado State, Farland has managed record-breaking annual research expenditures of $312 million.

Earlier this year, Farland was named to two prestigious National Academies of Science committees that address environmental issues and their impact on human health. He is chair of the National Research Council committee on Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions, which will focus on new discoveries and technologies used in the identification and control of environmental impacts on human health. He also serves on a new National Research Council committee established by the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology that will address risks associated with environmentally released nanomaterials.

The mission of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, according to its website, is “to advance research, education, and leadership in the field of occupational therapy and raise public awareness of the importance of enabling individuals to participate fully in life regardless of their physical, social, mental, or developmental circumstances.”