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Meet Claudia Robertson, a graduate student pursuing her doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD) at Eastern Kentucky University while working with BH WELL as a project assistant since January 2019. Claudia graduated the University of Kentucky with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Sociology in May 2021. She graduates in May 2023 with an additional BS in Occupational Science. She plans on completing her OTD in August 2025. Claudia is a dedicated student who has taken on the challenge of pursuing her academic goals while also engaging in work that she is passionate about – behavioral health.

Claudia reflects on her work with BH WELL. “I have learned so much about how to help those with behavioral health needs in an evidence-based way. I've been able to apply this to my occupational therapy classes already and know that I will be a better practitioner because of my experience with BH WELL.”

As part of her work with BH WELL, Claudia blogs about different aspects of mental health, including a series of blogs on the eight dimensions of wellness. One of her most unique blogs was considering legislator as an occupation. She also created social media platforms for BH WELL and uses this platform to reach out to people who may be struggling with mental and behavioral health challenges and the health professionals who serve them. She uses these accounts to share information about BH WELL’s partnerships, research, and to promote mental health awareness along with the importance of tobacco treatment tailored to the behavioral health population. To see engagement rates increase makes her smile.

Claudia greatly appreciates Dr. Okoli and the opportunities he has provided to her through the BH WELL research team. “Dr. Okoli supports and encourages consistent growth. He provides guidance toward our career goals while still allowing us to have individual responsibility for our part of the team’s work toward meeting our mission. I have learned so much about the research process from him. It has benefited me greatly in my research courses and in graduate school. And, I even requested a behavioral health environment as one of my field work placements because he has clearly and consistently shared why it is  important to tailor our treatments to serve individual needs of people living with mental and behavioral health challenges.”

Dr. Okoli reflects, “Watching Claudia grow through the years has been a joy. Her obtaining a second degree in Occupational Therapy demonstrates her tenacity while keeping true to her heart for people and service to vulnerable populations. We are so proud of her accomplishments and look forward to celebrating her future success as she furthers her graduate studies in Occupational Therapy.”

Claudia's dedication to both her academic and personal pursuits is truly inspiring. When asked why she chose occupational therapy, Claudia immediately had an answer. “Occupational therapy encompasses a wide scope of needs including behavioral, physical, mental, and other health needs. Being able to recognize patient and client needs beyond physical needs will allow me to help a patient or client with both functional and structural improvements. Ultimately, I want to help my patients or clients live their best lives.”

When asked what she does in her spare time, Claudia gave a transparent response, “To be very honest, I don’t do much extra right now. But when I do have time, I love art, game nights or watch party nights with friends and family, and my workouts. Oh, and of course, time with our dog, Lucy!”

Claudia is an example of how hard work and passion can come together to create fulfilling and meaningful work. We wish her all the best in her continued studies!

Read some of BH WELL’s work developed by Claudia here.

6 Ways Occupational Therapists Can Support People Living with Mental Illnesses

The Relationship Between the Five Facets of Mindfulness and the Dimensions of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Legislator as an Occupation and You!

Is My Child At-Risk For ADHD?