Chair of the department

Mary Anderson OTD, OTR/L
Assistant Professor, OTD Program Director


OTD, Chatham University, 2013
BS in Occupational Therapy, University of New England, 1993

Mary has been an occupational therapist for 29 years. Mary holds an NBCOT specialty in pediatrics. However, she has a very diverse background, working in many service settings. Mary developed the Community Clinic at the Lewiston-Auburn campus. She has owned her own pediatric private practice, covered many contracts for different school districts, worked in industrial ergonomics/health and wellness, orthopedics, and worked for the Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders. She teaches pediatric practice courses in both the MOT and OTD programs as well as a physical disabilities practice course. In addition to Mary’s teaching responsibilities, she is the program director for USM’s OTD programs. When not teaching, Mary enjoys spending time with her family, horses, and three dogs.

Pediatric mental health,
Interdisciplinary education.

Sensory Integration & Praxis Certification
Complete Decongestive Therapy Certification
LSVT-Big Certification
Telepractice Certification
Maine NBCOT Ambassador

Anderson, M. & Grinder, S. (2017). Occupational therapy’s role in social-emotional development throughout childhood. OT PRACTICE, 22(7)
Anderson, M. & DaLomba, L. (2019). A college experience for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities: Meeting community needs. SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 4,15-18.
Peabody, M., Noyes, S., & Anderson, M. (2022). Permission to Learn: Intentional Use of Art and Object-mediated Strategies to Develop Reflective Professional Skills. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 6 (3). Retrieved from


Julie Larouche, OTD, OTR/L

MOT Program Director; Assistant Professor


B.S. in Occupational Therapy, University of New England
M.S. in Occupational Therapy, University of New England
OTD, Chatham University, 2016

Julie has been an Occupational Therapist for over 26 years. She has spent the past 21 years in academia serving may roles such as OTA Program Director, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, and Faculty Senate President. She enjoys teaching courses in pediatrics, physical disabilities, kinesiology, medical terminology, introduction to OT, and leadership skills. She has clinical experience working with adults with physical disabilities and children of all ages. She has practiced in many settings including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, schools, and early intervention clinics. Julie is involved in various boards and committees across her campus community and is a long-standing member of her state and local professional organizations. She takes pride in being an active part of her community and is passionate about keeping kids active and healthy. When Julie is not at work, she enjoys outside activities with her family, friends, and 2 dogs.

Childhood obesity
Multisensory environments
Supplemental learning tools for academic

Certified Handwriting without Tears Specialist
Tammy Bickmore OTD, OTR/L

Clinical Assistant Professor, Doctoral Capstone Coordinator



PHONE 207-753-6623



  • OTD, Chatham University, 2011
  • M.S. in Occupational Therapy, University of New Hampshire
  • B.S. in Occupational Therapy, University of New Hampshire
  • A.S. in Occupational Therapy Assistant, Manchester Community College


For the past 27 years, Tammy’s practice has focused on adult rehabilitation and adult mental health practice. She has worked across the continuum of care in all settings including acute care, outpatient, skilled nursing, and home health and has held several management and leadership positions in New England before moving back to her birth state of Maine.

Most recently, Tammy worked with clients with dementia, helping individuals with cognitive impairment retain or regain engagement in meaningful occupation. She has developed training programs for caregivers about the benefits of engagement in occupation and providing occupation-focused care for persons relocating to assisted living or other supportive residential environments. Tammy gains inspiration from both her clients and her students, and their success. 

Tammy and her partner enjoy their free time traveling, spending time at the beach, and visiting family both in the United States and Europe.


AMPS certified

Sarah Grinder MOT, OTR/L




PHONE 207-753-6668



  • PhD Student in Occupational Therapy, Nova Southeastern University
  • MOT, Master of Occupational Therapy, University of Southern Maine, 2013
  • BA in Religion, Hillsdale College, 2005


Sarah graduated from the University of Southern Maine’s occupational therapy program in 2013 and began teaching for the program in Spring 2015. Before becoming an occupational therapist, she enjoyed over six years of teaching and private tutoring experience, including classical languages and formal logic.  She currently teaches in the Pediatric Clinical courses and the OT Foundations course. 

When she is not teaching, Sarah practices occupational therapy in a local, private clinic, where she works with children of all ages. She has experience in school-based and early intervention settings, as well as in community settings for adults with developmental disabilities. Looking at the whole person as a fellow human being, not just a diagnosis, guides Sarah’s practice, and she draws inspiration from the satisfaction of empowering a child to do more than he or she thought possible. Sarah explores how play can help a child learn, develop, and grow, while using Sensory Integration techniques, and is inspired by helping children learn how to live and love, and play with family and friends with joy.

Sarah was recognized as an AOTA Emerging Leader and presented research at the AOTA annual national conference. Sarah is also an active member of MEOTA. Outside of work, Sarah loves working with a local beagle rescue, performing with community theater, traveling as much as she can, and spending time outdoors with her husband.  RESEARCH INTERESTS

Occupational Therapy’s role in supporting students in the college environment
Sensory Integration

  • Certification in Sensory Integration (WPS/USC)
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • SOS Approach to Feeding
  • AOTA Emerging Leaders Development Program, 2013-2014
Bernadette Kroon PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA



PHONE 207-753-6582



  • Doctor of Physical Therapy, Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, 2011
  • B.S. in Physical Therapy, Haagse Hoge School, 1988


Bernadette has been a practicing physical therapist since 1988. She has primarily practiced in rehabilitation. Her area of expertise is adult rehabilitation with a focus on acquired brain injury, complex medical conditions and aging. Currently, Bernadette works with the geriatric population and is interested in their ability to remain active participants in their own lives and their community..

Bernadette works closely with OTs in clinical practice and training and is interested in inter-professional education and practice to better meet the needs of clients.

In her free time, Bernadette enjoys traveling, visiting family in the Netherlands, running, reading.AREAS OF EXPERTISE

American Board Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in Geriatrics (GCS)
Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult (CEEAA)
LSVT BIG trained
Neuro-developmental training (NDT) trained


Maine state advocate for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy (AGPT)

Treasurer of International Association of Physiotherapist working with Older People (IPTOP-physio)

Erin McCall, MOT OTR/L CCM



PHONE 207-753-6584



  • B.A. in English and Secondary Education Teaching, University of Richmond, Virginia
  • M.S. in Occupational Therapy: School of Allied Health at Medical College of Virginia, Richmond Virginia
  • OTD, University of Southern Maine


Erin has been practicing OT since 2000, in settings that include schools, mental health, vocational rehabilitation, employee wellness, low vision, geriatrics, and case management. She is slowly and steadily promoting OT in the Primary Care settings in Southern Maine. For fun, she uses her OT training to help adults learn to swing dance. With years of experience in improvisational theater, she is teaching “applied medical improv” to promote better listening and motivational interviewing skills to OT’s and caregivers. She has also completed many courses at Salus University in the Health and Wellness Specialty track.


Certified Case Manager
Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Mental Health
Vocational Rehabilitation
Population Health

Susan Noyes PhD, OTR/L

Associate Professor


PHONE 207-753-6591



  • PhD in Adult Learning, Lesley University
  • MS in Adult Education, University of Southern Maine
  • BS in Occupational Therapy, Tufts University, 1984


Susan chose a career in occupational therapy to work in adult rehabilitation, but had such an amazing level II fieldwork experience in mental health that she has practiced in that area for over 30 years. She has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient units, outpatient clinics, day treatment programs, and community residential facilities, as well as numerous grant-funded projects.

Susan has taught in the USM MOT program since 2006. She teaches the mental health practice course as well as courses in research and evidence-based practice, OT theory, the reflective OT practitioner, and group process.

Susan’s scholarly interests include improving quality of life for adults living with serious mental illness; developing occupational therapy assessment and intervention for adults living with hoarding disorder; and facilitating occupational therapy students’ engagement in reflective practice to develop critical thinking and professional reasoning skills. Susan has conducted qualitative research on a volunteer program for people living with hoarding disorder; she has also published and presented on this topic, and was a founding member of the former Portland Maine Hoarding Task Force. She has most recently authored part of AOTA’s updated systematic review on occupational therapy interventions for adults with serious mental illness, and the updated AOTA Practice Guidelines based on this systematic review. She was co-guest editor of the AJOT special issue on mental health, and has served AOTA as both chair and research coordinator of the Mental Health Special Interest Section.

When not teaching, Susan enjoys baking, yoga, dabbling in art, and spending time with her family and adorable dog, Mavis.


Noyes, S. & Lannigan, E. (April, 2019). AOTA Practice Guidelines for Adults with Serious Mental Illness. AOTA Press: Baltimore, Maryland.

Noyes, S. (January 2019). Anxiety Disorders. In Occupational Therapy in Mental Health: A Vision for Participation. (2nd edition). Brown, C., Stoffel, V. (Eds.) Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis. 

Swarbrick, M., & Noyes, S. (2018). Guest Editorial—Effectiveness of occupational therapy services in mental health practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72, 7205170010.

Noyes, S., Sokolow, H. & Arbesman, M. (2018). Evidence for occupational therapy intervention with employment and education for adults with serious mental illness: A systematic review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72, 7205190010.

Peabody, M. & Noyes, S. (2017) Reflective boot camp: Adapting LEGO® Serious Play® in higher education. Reflective Practice, DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2016.1268117 

Noyes, S. (November, 2015). Living in the community with serious mental illness: Occupational therapy’s role in a community residential setting. OT Practice, American Occupational Therapy Association: Maryland.  

Clark, L. & Spear, S. N. (2015). Ethical Leadership. In Occupational Therapy Perspective on Leadership: Theoretical and Practical Dimensions (pp. 75-84). (2nd edition). Dunbar, S., Winston, K. (Eds.) Thorofare, NJ: SLACK.

Spear, S. N. (March 2014). “Friendly visitor”: An occupational therapist’s experience of supporting a person with compulsive hoarding behavior. OT Practice. American Occupational Therapy Association: Maryland PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITY

Research Coordinator of the Mental Health Special Interest Section (MHSIS) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (2018-2021)

Chair of the Mental Health Special Interest Section (MHSIS) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (2015-2018)

Guest Co-Editor, Special Issue on Evidence-based Practice in Mental Health (October 2018), American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT), Baltimore, MD

Founding member, Portland Maine Hoarding Task Force, 2011-present

Reviewer, American Occupational Therapy Association, conference proposals (mental health content) for Annual Conference 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah

Chair, Mental Health Special Interest Section (MHSIS) Annual Program, “Developing a Private Practice in Mental Health Occupational Therapy,” American Occupational Therapy Association annual conference, March 2017

Editorial Board member (2015-2018): OT Practice, published by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Baltimore, MD

Elizabeth “Liza” Palmer, OTD, MEd, OTR/L

Academic Fieldwork Coordinator; Clinical Assistant Professor


PHONE 207-753-6676



Elizabeth has worked with pediatric populations for over 20 years.  As an occupational therapist, she is able to draw from her skills and knowledge from her former career as a Special Education Teacher; specifically working with students in alternative education and residential settings. She has worked and volunteered overseas and in several diverse communities in the United States.  Elizabeth’s goals when working with clients of any age is to help them discover (or rediscover) the dignity and self-confidence that comes with independence and help open up a world where they can participate in life freely.  When working with students, she aspires to help them discover that there is joy and fun in learning and to help kindle a passion for life-long learning.


Robina O’Rourke MSOT, OTR/L

Community Clinic Coordinator
Professional Staff

PHONE: 207-753-6677

Robina is the new Community Clinic Coordinator effective September 2022. Over the past 10 years, Robina has worked with Level I and Level II USM OT students in a skilled nursing facility. Over the past 28 years, Robina’s practice has focused on adult rehabilitation. She has worked across the continuum of care in all settings including skilled nursing, acute care, acute rehab, outpatient, and home health.
She recently held a Rehabilitation Manager position at a skilled nursing facility and she continues to work at the facility as a per diem OT. As a certified yoga instructor, Robina enjoys teaching yoga to all levels and previously taught a senior yoga class at the skilled nursing facility. She continues to incorporate yoga postures and breath education into her OT intervention with clients.

In her free time, she enjoys yoga, running, hiking, skiing, and spending time with friends, family, and her dog, Vaila. 


Academic degrees:
BA Anthropology, Hartwick College
MS Occupational Therapy, Springfield College

Theresa Arita (USM ’97 B.A., ’09 M.S.)
Administrative Specialist CL2
PHONE: 207-753-6503

Theresa has 30 years of experience as an administrative assistant in Maine and California. She obtained her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in counseling from USM. She enjoys living in Lewiston near her mother and daughter, hiking the area to bird-watch, and painting watercolors.