MS in Occupational Therapy

Faculty

Jeff Snodgrass, PhD, MPH, OTR/L
Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy
Professor of Healthcare Administration & Occupational Therapy

Christy Isbell, Ph.D., OTR/L
Professor of Occupational Therapy

Jill Smith, OTD, OTR/L
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

Christy M. Fellers, OTD, OTR/L, C/NDT
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

Rachel Ellis, MS, OTR/L
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

John-Paul Abner, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Occupational Therapy

Karen Kelly, Ph.D
Professor of Biology and Occupational Therapy

Kristia Brown
Occupational Therapy Office Manager and Admission Coordinator


Jeff Snodgrass, PhD, MPH, OTR/L
Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy
Professor of Healthcare Administration & Occupational Therapy

Dr. Snodgrass is the Area Chair/Director and Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at Milligan College (TN).  In addition, he holds a part-time faculty appointment at Walden University (PhD Programs in Public Health and Health Services).  Dr. Snodgrass graduated with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Administration from East Tennessee State University. He holds a PhD in Health Sciences with a specialization in Health Care Administration from Trident International University.

Dr. Snodgrass serves as the Associate Editor for the Journal of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences and as a peer reviewer for several journals. He previously served a three-year term on AOTA's Commission on Education and a three-year term on the Work and Industry Special Interest Section as the quarterly editor. He previously served on the Tennessee Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners (licensure board) and the executive board for the Tennessee Occupational Therapy Association.

Dr. Snodgrass has published research in peer-reviewed journals and authored several book chapters in the areas of leadership, rehabilitation and prevention of work related disorders. He co-authored Occupational Therapy Practice Guidelines for Individuals with Work Related Injuries and Illnesses through AOTA Press. He previously held clinical specialty certifications as a Certified Work Capacity Evaluator, Certified Ergonomic Evaluation Specialist and Board Certified Disability Analyst. He has held a license to practice occupational therapy in TN and VA for the past 18 years.

Dr. Snodgrass is married to Shellena, a pediatric occupational therapist, and has two children, Ansley and Aiden.

In addition to directing the MSOT Program at Milligan, Dr. Snodgrass is responsible for instructing courses in work rehabilitation, leadership and management of health services, and health care administration and policy.

Current Research Projects: Leadership and administration in health care, evidence-based OT interventions for the prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries, and ergonomic interventions in the office setting.  

Christy Isbell, Ph.D., OTR/L
Professor of Occupational Therapy

Dr. Isbell holds a B.S. in Occupational Therapy and a Master in Health Sciences with a speciality in occupational therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina. Her Ph.D. is in Child Development and Family Studies from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Dr. Isbell is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and has more than twenty years of experience. She has worked in school systems, hospitals, outpatient facilities, homes and child-care centers. She is trained in Neurodevelopmental Treatment and Sensory Integration Treatment of children. She specializes in the treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder and Cerebral Palsy. Dr. Isbell maintains her clinical expertise by providing OT services to infants, toddlers and young children.

Her award winning books Sensory Integration: A guide for preschool teachers (2007), Mighty Fine Motor Fun: Fine motor activities for preschoolers (2010), and Everyday Fun: Getting your young child ready for school (2010) are resources for OT practitioners, teachers and parents. Dr. Isbell co-authored The Inclusive Learning Center Book for Young Children with Special Needs (2005) and The Complete Learning Spaces Book for Infants and Toddlers (2003).  Her latest collaboration is the three book series, Learn Every Day: Building strong foundations for infants, toddlers, and twos (2013). She has written articles and presented on early childhood and OT topics at national and international conferences.

Dr. Isbell is responsible for teaching courses on the foundations of occupational therapy, child and adult development, and pediatric occupational therapy.

Research Interests:  Sensory Processing Disorders in Young Children,  Therapeutic and Learning Environments, Play and Education of Caregivers.

Jill Smith, OTD, OTR/L
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

Jill has been an occupational therapist for 12 years and holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Central Michigan University, a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University and an Occupational Therapy Doctorate from the University of St. Augustine.

Prior to teaching at Milligan she was a private practice therapist working primarily with adults with intellectual disabilities. She has also worked as a staff occupational therapist at the Greene Valley Developmental Center in Tennessee.

Before becoming an occupational therapist Jill held a variety of positions addressing mental health concerns including counselor, social worker and case manager. She also provides trainings and workshops on creativity and creative thinking.

Jill is responsible for the fun classes in the Milligan occupational therapy program including: Play and Leisure, Psychosocial Occupational Therapy, Expressive Arts, Group Process and Professional Development.

Research and Other Professional Interests: Creativity and Creative Thinking, Community-Based Intervention, Developmental Disabilities, Wellness

Christy M. Fellers, OTD, OTR/L, C/NDT
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

Dr. Fellers received her Associate of Science degree from Walters State Community College. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biological Sciences and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Milligan College. She received her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences with a concentration in adult neurological dysfunction.

Christy has 14 years of experience providing occupational therapy services to a variety of populations. She worked full time for 7 years as an acute care occupational therapist in a Level I Trauma Center where she specialized in the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with neurological illness or injury as she earned a clinical specialty certification in Neurodevelopmental Treatment. She has also worked in outpatient rehab, inpatient rehab and several local skilled nursing facilities.

Dr. Fellers came to the profession of Occupational Therapy with a background in neuromuscular massage therapy (NMT). She worked as a licensed NMT for 7 years before returning to school for her occupational therapy training. As an NMT, she worked with several chiropractors as she specialized in the treatment of acute and chronic injuries of the back and neck. She also worked under the supervision of a psychiatrist assisting patients with biofeedback training for pain management. She maintains her OT clinical expertise by continuing to work on an as needed basis in acute care and inpatient rehab settings and in geriatric skilled care units.

Christy is responsible for teaching several adult physical dysfunction related courses in the occupational therapy program at Milligan College including: Diagnostic Considerations in Occupational Therapy, Kinesiology for Occupational Therapy, Adult Neurological Dysfunction, Adult Orthopedic Physical Dysfunction, and Activities of Daily Living. Additionally she enjoys supervising hands-on action-based research and graduate projects in the occupational therapy program.

Rachel Ellis, MS, OTR/L
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

Rachel has been an Occupational Therapist for 8 years and holds an associate degree in Respiratory Therapy from ETSU, bachelor's degree in Public Health Administration from ETSU and master's in Occupational Therapy from Milligan College. Prior to becoming the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Milligan she worked 8 years as a Respiratory Therapist in acute care with pediatrics and adults.

As an Occupational Therapist her focus has been primarily with geriatrics in skilled nursing facilities and home health. Rachel has taught an elective in Home Modification and currently the Geriatrics course. She has also developed a therapeutic gardening program for a skilled nursing facility and assists with graduate projects focusing on healing through helping others.

In addition to being the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Rachel is responsible for the placement and supervision of MSOT students during their fieldwork rotations and serves as part of the admissions committee for the OT program.

John-Paul Abner, Ph.D.
Professor of Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Counseling

Dr. John-Paul Abner graduated with a bachelor's of science degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1987 and graduated from the University of Florida with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Child and Adolescent emphasis) in August of 1996. Following three years of teaching at East Tennessee State University, he joined the faculty of Milligan College in 1999. He is now an professor in psychology and research coordinator for the occupational therapy graduate program.

In addition to his roles at Milligan College, he is currently a licensed psychologist in the state of Tennessee. His areas of interests and expertise include learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety disorders, and Parent Child Interaction Therapy with oppositional defiant children. He is also currently working with the ETSU Center of Excellence for Children in state custody to help disseminate Parent Child Interaction Therapy to therapists in the community to improve services for children who have been maltreated. He is also a certified PCIT Master Trainer for PCIT International and is involved in dissemination efforts nationwide.  

He was lucky enough to talk his wife Pam into marrying him and he has three tall children, John-Phillip 14, Brynn 12 and Matt 9.

In the occupational therapy program, Dr. Abner teaches the research curriculum, psychopathology, and Christ and Calling in Health Care.

Karen Kelly, Ph.D
Professor of Biology and Occupational Therapy

Dr. Kelly graduated from Milligan College with a B.S. and from the University of California-Los Angeles with her Ph.D. in anatomy and cell biology.

Before coming to work for Milligan, Kelly taught at Santa Monica College, West Los Angeles Community College, California State University Long Beach, and the University of Southern California School of Dentistry.

Her research has been published in several scientific journals. She is a member of the American Association of Anatomists, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, and the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society for which she serves on the Cadaver Use Committee.

Research and Other Professional Interests: Biology; Anatomical Education

Kristia Brown
Occupational Therapy Office Manager and Admission Coordinator

Kristia attended ETSU and Northeast State Community College for Early Childhood Education. She loves being with her husband, David, and their four children. She also enjoys attending her children's sporting events. She is a member of Sinking Creek Baptist Church where she is active in many areas, such as Sunday School Teacher, VBS and Judgment House.