Wendy Coster, Professor and Chair in the Department of Occupational Therapy, has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the Presidents’ Commendation Award from The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF). The rarely given accolade was established jointly by the governing Boards of both AOTA and AOTF to honor “a respected leader of the profession who has made sustained contributions to occupational therapy over a lifetime of service.”
Coster was selected for her “unwavering dedication to the profession” over her 40 career as a therapist, educator, and advocate.
“I am truly honored to be recognized by this award that is given jointly by my professional association and the Foundation, both of which have been very important to me throughout my career,” says Coster.
Coster’s research area includes outcomes measurement, specifically the development of conceptually grounded, psychometrically sound measures of activity, participation, and environment. Her primary clinical focus has been in schools and other community programs serving children with emotional, behavioral, and cognitive disabilities. Coster coauthored the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory and the School Function Assessment, two of the first standardized assessments designed to describe the functional abilities of children with disabling conditions. The PEDI became the gold standard for clinical trials examining interventions to improve function in children with cerebral palsy and other movement disorders and was translated into more than 10 languages.
Coster has served in leadership roles for both the AOTA and AOTF. She is a Fellow and past president of AOTA, a member of the Academy of Research of the AOTF, a recipient of the AOTF’s A. Jean Ayres Research Award, and the 2007 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award from AOTA.
The Presidents’ Award will be presented at the annual AOTA Conference in Boston this March.