By Kate Hunger
Ricky Joseph, Ph.D., OTR, received the School of Health Professions 2017 Spectrum Award in May. The Spectrum is the School's highest award, recognizing excellence in the areas of teaching, service, leadership and scholarship.
"Dr. Joseph is a kind and generous colleague who maintains a positive attitude in all that he undertakes. Dr. Joseph tirelessly supports the mission of the department, school, and university. I know of no other faculty member across the institution who has distinguished themselves as a leader in IPE (interprofessional education) the way Dr. Joseph has," wrote Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, Ph.D., OTR, associate professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in a nomination letter to the School of Health Professions Teaching Excellence Committee.
Dr. Joseph joined the Department of Occupational Therapy in 2013.
His 40-year career in the field includes serving as an occupational therapist in the U.S. Army.
Dr. Joseph said he works with students to achieve excellence and treat their graduate studies as a job. "My focus is to make sure that students are the best they can be in their profession and they feel competent, they feel like they will be skilled and ready occupational therapy practitioners," he said, adding that he also urges students to communicate with clients in order to understand their goals and ultimately help them achieve better outcomes, he said.
"Can I dress myself, feed myself, mobilize around the community, take care of my child, take care of my pets, take care of my home? This is what is important to them," Joseph said.
Joseph initially pursued pre-medicine.
"I found out about occupational therapy and basically how we use our skills and abilities to work with patients to rehab and get better, and that fit me better than medicine," he said.