- Additional Titles:Associate Professor, BU School of Medicine
Director, Motor Development Laboratory
- Education:BS in Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, 1997
MS in Occupational Therapy, Tufts University, 1999
MA in Psychology, New York University, 2006
PhD in Psychology, New York University, 2009
- Website or Lab: Motor Development Lab
Scholarly, Research, and/or Practice Interests
- Dr. Gill investigates how individuals’ bodies and environmental demands influence walking and motor functioning across the lifespan. She uses a variety of methods to examine how children and adults modify their walking patterns to navigate through the environment. She is particularly interested in understanding how childhood and adult obesity affect the ability to adapt to change. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Obesity Society, the Society for Research in Child Development, the International Society of Developmental Psychobiology, and the American Diabetes Association.
- Dr. Gill directs the Motor Development Laboratory where she investigates how people’s bodies and environmental demands influence walking and motor functioning across the lifespan. Dr. Gill uses a variety of methods to examine how children and adults modify their walking patterns to navigate through the environment: three-dimensional motion capture, computerized video coding, wearable motion sensor technology, portable spatio-temporal gait systems, and digital pressure mats. Her long-term goals are to:
- develop novel systems approaches to optimize health outcomes in early childhood
- design innovative interventions that minimize fall risks associated with childhood and adult obesity
- create new methods to detect fall risks linked with childhood and adult obesity
Entry-level OTD courses
SAR OT501: Integrative Seminar II and LIFW
This course is the second in a four-seminar sequence designed to develop and enhance professional reasoning processes by integrating knowledge and skills from previous educational and work experiences and from concurrent OT courses with weekly fieldwork experiences. This seminar focuses on reasoning related to theories of learning and behavior change; the assessment, intervention, and documentation process; use of theory and research evidence in practice; therapeutic rapport and communication; and other professional topics and issues as they relate to working with persons and populations of all ages in a variety of OT practice contexts. Self-directed and collaborative learning, class participation, reflective writing for application and analysis of learning, case-based learning, and ongoing development of a professional portfolio are essential aspects of this seminar. (Credits: 2)
SAR OT502: Integrative Seminar III and LIFW
This is the third course in a sequence designed to develop clinical reasoning by integrating course-related knowledge with weekly fieldwork experiences. The course uses problem-based case scenarios and fieldwork experiences to practice reasoning about evaluation and intervention for person of all ages with a variety of disabling conditions. Students apply client-centered, occupation and evidence-based practice concepts to their evaluation and intervention plans. (Credits: 4)
SAR OT520: Evidence-Based Practice I
This course is designed for occupational therapy graduate students to develop beginning skills for conducting evidence-based practice. The focus is on using research evidence to support the first task of therapy: getting to know the client and the client's needs. Students learn how to find, use, and communicate about two types of published research reports that support the therapist's task of getting to know a client: (1) reports about the occupational lives and needs of people like the client (i.e., similar health care conditions, gender, cultural group, etc.), and (2) reports about the quality of different assessment methods for gaining information about a client's occupational life and needs. The format of class sessions is primarily discussion, with some lecture, that is structured around actual client cases and guiding questions. Student performance is assessed with class participation, homework assignments, and a final exam/project. (Credits: 2)
SAR OT526: Functional Movement: Analysis and Assessment
This occupational therapy course examines changes in gross and fine movement skills across the life course, and the relation of these changes to occupational performance. In addition, students learn biomechanical, ecological systems, and dynamical systems' principles underlying human movement and their application to functional activities including seating, transfers, and mobility. Principles covered in lecture are applied through practical experiences and discussions during the application sessions. (Credits: 4)
SAR OT570: Special Topics in Occupational Therapy
Advanced study in a selected area of occupational therapy theory or practice. Specific topic announced in the semester offered. Seminar and/or supervised laboratory study as appropriate to the particular topic. (Credits: Var)
SAR OT943: Professional Development Seminar
This course will prepare students to develop a professional developmental plan to achieve career aspirations and a proposal for the OTD Doctoral Project. Through a series of guided self-analysis assignments students will identify academic, personal and professional strengths and create career goals. Students will review gaps or shortcomings in current occupational therapy practice and knowledge and skills to achieve their goals and develop an initial plan for the OTD Doctoral Experiential Component. The purpose of the Doctoral Experiential Component is to learn the process for creating an evidence and theory based innovative program. The Doctoral Experiential Component is organized around the student's proposed innovation in practice. The Doctoral Experiential Component includes a series of competency tasks, each of which represents a critical phase of the Doctoral Experiential Component. Guidance in the Doctoral Experiential Component is provided through a combination of three mentors: faculty advising (academic mentor), guidance by external expert (Mentor in the situation of practice), and peer mentoring (peer mentors). Students will develop peer mentoring relationships focused on their Doctoral Experiential Component in the context of this course. (Credits: 4)
PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences courses
SAR RS650: Foundations of Rehabilitation Sciences
This course provides an overview of the field of rehabilitation science and an introduction to the social constructs of disability with an emphasis on bio-psycho-social-environmental models of the enabling-disabling process across the life course. The historical, philosophical and theoretical foundations of Rehabilitation Science and the evolution of laws and policies related to rehabilitation that inform the ethical, funding, and social implications of rehabilitation research are analyzed. The course will also provide an in-depth understanding of person-environment interactions and the link between biomedical factors and community participation. (Credits: 2)
SAR RS890: Doctoral Seminar in Rehabilitation Sciences
This seminar allows for a discussion of topics of interest to doctoral-level students in the PhD program in Rehabilitation Sciences, and is designed to provide insight in 1) curricular aspects of the PhD program, 2) mentor-mentee relationship, 3) skills necessary for PhD graduates entering the field of rehabilitation sciences with a research doctorate, and 4) interdisciplinary nature of the field of rehabilitation. This course enhances the student's ability to successfully complete the PhD program by working on skills needed to write and critically review IRB proposals, research manuscripts and research grant proposals, to outline ethical dilemmas in research, to formulate and disseminate a line of inquiry, and to distinguish various career paths. Literature addressing these issues will be used throughout to illustrate the arguments. (Credits: Var)
Post-professional distance education OTD courses
SAR OT930: Doctoral Project
This is an on-line graduate course in the post-professional OTD program. Concurrent with each full semester (fall, spring, summer) in the OTD program, students register for one credit of the Doctoral Project. In the fourth semester of the program, students register for 3 credits of the Doctoral Project course. The Doctoral Project is organized around the student's proposed innovation in practice. It is in the form of a series of qualifying tasks, each of which represents a critical phase of the proposal. Guidance in the doctoral project will be through a combination of three elements: Faculty advising and mentorship, peer mentorship and a.Circle of Advisors composed of a minimum of two professionals with content expertise in the doctoral project. The project outcomes include: Description of a short-coming, gap or specific need in the student's area of practice; compilation of a theoretical and evidence base to support the proposed project; description of the proposed program; evaluation plan; funding plan; dissemination plan; executive summary and Fact Sheet. (1 credit each full semester until completed, 3 credits in the final semester - a minimum of 6 credits) (Credits: Var)
- Kim, D. & Gill, S. V. (2020). Changes in center of pressure velocities during obstacle crossing one year after bariatric surgery. Gait & Posture, 76: 377-381.
- Gill, S. V., Yang, Z., & Hung, Y. C. (2017). Effects of singular and dual task constraints on motor skill variability in childhood. Gait & Posture, 53: 121-126.
- Gill, S. V., Hicks, G., Zhang, Y., Niu, J, Apovian, C. M., & White, D. K. (2017). The association of waist circumference with community walking ability in knee osteoarthritis: The osteoarthritis initiative. Osteoarthritis & Cartilage, 25: 60-66.
- Gill, S. V., Walsh, M. K., Pratt, J. A., Toosizadeh, N., Najafi, B., & Travison, T. G. (2016). Changes in spatio-temporal gait patterns during flat ground walking and obstacle crossing one year after bariatric surgery. Surgery for Obesity and Other Related Diseases, 12, 1080-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.soard.2016.03.029
- Gill, S. V. (2015). Walking to the beat of their own drum: How children and adults meet task constraints. PLoS One, 10, e0127894.
- Gill, S. V., Vessali, M.*, Pratt, J. A., Watts*, S., Pratt, J. S., Raghavan, P., & DeSilva, J. M. (2015). The importance of interdisciplinary research training and community dissemination. Clinical and Translational Science, 8, 611-14.
- Gill, S. V. (2015). The impact of weight classification on safety: Timing steps to adapt to external constraints. Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interaction, 15, 103-8.
- Ben-Sasson & Gill, S. V. (2014). Motor and language abilities from early to late toddlerhood: Using formalized assessments to capture continuity and discontinuity in development. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35, 1425-32.
- Cole, W. G.*, Gill, S. V., Vereijken, B., & Adolph, K. E. (2014). Coping with asymmetry: How infants and adults walk with one elongated leg. Infant Behavior & Development 37, 305-314.
- Forhan, M. & Gill, S. V. (2013). Obesity, functional mobility, and quality of life. Best Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Special issue on complications of obesity, 27, 129-137.