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Stark, Susy, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Clinical Interests

Home modification interventions to support aging in place, implementation of evidence-based fall prevention interventions

Research Interests

Dr. Stark’s research focuses on how the environment influences the occupational performance and participation of community dwelling older adults with chronic conditions. The goal of this work is to support aging in place at home and to prevent falls. She conducts clinical trials and implementation studies among community dwelling older adults (including medically underserved older adults). Dr. Stark's collaborators are from the community including the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging and from the University including the Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, the Department of Emergency Medicine, and the Department of Computer Science.

Teaching Roles

Dr. Stark is an instructor for the environment class in the MSOT and OTD program, the environment class in the Rehabilitation and Participation Science (RAPS) PhD program, the geriatric interdisciplinary training class offered across schools. Additionally, she mentors students who work in her laboratory and is the co-director of the TL1 Predoctoral Training program.


1998: PhD in environment and behavior science, University of Missouri-Columbia
1989: MS in occupational therapy, Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Occupational Therapy
1988: BS in exercise and health science, Alma College


Dr. Stark served in clinical roles at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center until she joined Washington University School of Medicine as a member of the clinical service and teaching faculty in 1992. In 1994, she earned her PhD in environment and behavior science and returned to Washington University to work with David Gray, PhD. She began serving as the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) representative for issues related to the development of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. In 2005, she was selected as an institutional scholar in Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Stark works closely with her mentor John Morris, MD, and other multidisciplinary colleagues in the area of aging. Dr. Stark is a member of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, the Washington University Institute for Public Health and the Institute of Clinical and Translational Science. She is the co-director of the ICTS Predoctoral Training Program. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Participation, Environment and Performance Laboratory focused on developing innovative approaches to help older adults successfully aging in place. Her work is supported by both private and federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes for Health and The Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Stark is active in the Gerontological Society of America and a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Dr. Stark is active in community service including serving on the advisory board for the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Stark, S., Somerville, E, and Li, M. Feasibility of using GPS-enabled cell phones to characterize community participation in older adults. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (under review).
  • Stark, S., Keglovits, M., Armbesman, M. & Leiberman, D., Effectiveness of home modification interventions on participation for community-dwelling adults and older adults: A systematic review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy (under review).
  • Mandelbaum C., Clemson, L, Keglovits, M., and Stark, S. Fall Hazards in the Homes of Older Adults: A Scoping Review. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal (under review).
  • Zozula, A., Carpenter, C., Lipsey, K., and Stark. S. Prehospital emergency services screening and referral to reduce falls in community-dwelling older adults: a systematic review. Emergency Medicine Journal (under review).
  • Chiang, L, Liu, J, Flood, K.L., Carroll, M.B., Piccirillo, J.F., Stark, S., Wang, A., Wildes, T.M., Geriatric assessment as predictors of hospital readmission in older adults with cancer. Journal of Geriatric Oncology (in press).
  • Keglovits, M., Somerville, E., Stark, S. The In-Home Occupational Performance Evaluation for informal caregivers providing assistance. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, (in press for 2016) (69)5.
  • Hammel, J., Magazi, S., Heinemann, A., Gray, D., Stark, S., Kisala, P., Corlozzi, N., Tulsky, D., Garcia, S. and Hahn, E. Environmental barriers and supports to everyday participation: A qualitative insider perspective from people with disabilities. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (in press).
  • Stark, S. L., Somerville, E., Keglovits, M., Smason, A., & Bigham, K.. Clinical reasoning guideline for home modification interventions. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2015;69(2), 6902290030p1-6902290030p8.
  • Stark, S. L., Silianoff, T. J., Kim, H. L., Conte, J. W., & Morris, J. C. Tailored calendar journals to ascertain falls among older adults. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health. 2015;35(1), 53-59.
  • Wildes, T.M., Dua, P., Fowler, S.A., Miller, J.P., Carpenter, C. R., Avidan, M.S., & Stark, S. Systematic review of falls in older adults with cancer. Journal of Geriatric Oncology. 2015;6(1):70-83.
  • Carpenter, C., Avidan, M., Wildes, T., & Stark, S., Fowler, S. Predicting community-dwelling older adult falls following an episode of emergency department care:  A systematic review. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2014; 21(10):1069-1082.
  • Stark, S,  Roe, C.M., Grant, E., Hollingsworth, H., Benzinger, T. L., Fagan, A. M., Buckles V., & Morris, J.C.. Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease and risk for falls. Neurology. 2013;81:437-44.
  • Carpenter, C., Griffey, R.T., Stark, S., Coopersmith, C. M., & Gage, B. F. Physician and Nurse Acceptance of Technicians to Screen for Geriatric Syndromes in the Emergency Department. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2011; 12(4): 489-495.
  • Stark S, Somerville E, & Morris J. The in-home occupational performance evaluation. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2010; 64(4) 580-589.
  • Yang H & Stark S. How do environmental features in assisted living facilities influence residents’ social engagement. Journal of Housing for Elderly. 2010;24(10):28-43.
  • Carpenter CR, Griffey RT, Stark S, Coopersmith CM, Gage BF. Geriatric syndrome screening in emergency medicine: A geriatric technician acceptability analysis. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2009;54(3):S82.
  • Stark S, Landsbaum A, Palmer J, Somerville E, & Morris J. Home modifications improve daily activity performance of older adults. The Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2009;76:235-245.
  • Reed G, Dilfer K, Bufka L, et al. Three model curricula for teaching clinicians to use the ICF. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2008;30(00):1-15.
  • Stark S, Hollingsworth H, Morgan K & Gray D. The interrater reliability of the Community Health Environment Checklist. The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2008;89(11):2218-2219.
  • Gray DB, Hollingsworth HH, Stark S, Morgan, KA. A subjective measure of environmental factors and barriers to participation for people with mobility limitations. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2008;30(6):434-457.
  • Carpenter B, Edwards D, Pickard J, et al. Anticipating relocation: Concerns about moving among NORC residents. Journal of Gerontological Social. 2007; 49(1-2):165-84.
  • Gray DB, Hollingsworth HH, Stark SL & Morgan KA. Participation survey/mobility psychometric properties of a measure of participation for people with mobility impairments and limitations. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2006;87(2):189-197.
  • Vierkant K, Hollingsworth H & Stark S. Accessible worship: The receptivity of religious buildings in St. Louis. Disability Studies Quarterly. 2006; 26.
  • Gray DB, Hollingsworth HH, Stark SL & Morgan KA. PARTS/M: Psychometric properties of a measure of participation for people with mobility impairments and limitations. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2006;87(2):189-197.
  • Stark S, Hollingsworth H, Morgan K & Gray D. Development of a measure of the physical environment. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2006;29(2):123-137.
  • Reed G, Bufka L, Trask C, et al. Operationalizing the international classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF) in clinical settings. Rehabilitation Psychology. 2005;50:122-131.
  • Stark S, Hollingsworth H, Morgan K & Gray D. Validation of the reintegration to normal living index in a population of community-dwelling people with mobility limitations. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2005;86:344-345.
  • Stark S. Removing environmental barriers in the homes of older adults with disabilities improves occupational performance. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research. 2004;24:32-39.
  • Stark S. Creating disability in the home: The role of environmental barriers. Disability and Society. 2001;16:37-49.
  • Stark S. The application of theory to universal design practice for people with disabilities. Proceedings of Designing for the 21st Century: An International Conference on Universal Design, Hempstead, NY 1998.
  • Solomon G & Stark S. Comparison of elderly and young alcoholics and prescription drug abusers: Historical and clinical presentation. Clinical Gerontologist. 1993;12:41-56.

Book Chapters and Other

  • Lysack, C., Stark, S. Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, In: S. K. Whitbourne (Ed) Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging, Wiley-Blackwell (in press)
  • Stark, S., Sanford, J, & Keglovits, M.  Environmental Performance Enablers and Their Impact on Occupational Performance. In: Charles H. Christiansen, Carolyn M. Baum, Julie D. Bass, (Eds) Occupational Therapy: Performance, Participation, and Well-Being, 4th edition, Slack, (2015)
  • Sanford, J. & Stark, S. Universal Design as a Workplace Accommodation Strategy. In: Ingrid Soderback, Ed, the International Handbook of Occupational Therapy Interventions Second Edition, Springer (2015)
  • Stark, S., & Keglovits, M., Critically Appraised Topic: Home Modifications, American Occupational Therapy Association.
  • Siebert, C., Smallfield, S., & Stark, S., Home modification practice guide: American Occupational Therapy Association Press, Bethesda, MD (2014).
  • Pearson, A., & Stark, S. Falls. In: Eugene Toy, Dentino, A., Williams, M., Johnson, L. eds. Case Files: Geriatrics. McGraw-Hill (2014).
  • Stark S, Somerville E, & Russell-Thomas D. (2011). Choosing assessments for home modifications. In: Christenson M & Chase C, eds. Occupational therapy and home modifications: Promoting safety and supporting participation., Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.
  • Contributor. Draft report Chapter 6, Environment facilitators and barriers, International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury. Geneva, WHO, 2010.
  • Gray DB, Stark S, Bricout J, Morgan K & Hollingsworth, H. Measures of community receptivity and participation by people with mobility impairments. Entretiens de L’Institut Garches.
  • Rigby P, Stark S, Letts L, & Ringart L. OT Evaluation and Intervention: Environments. In: Crepeau EB, Cohn E & Schell BA, eds. Willard and Spackman’s Occupational Therapy (11th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.
  • Putnam M & Stark S. Aging and disability: Promoting healthy aging & community participation. In: Berkman B, ed. The handbook of social work in health and aging. Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, New York. 2006 p. 70-91.
  • Stark S & Sanford J. Environmental performance enablers and their impact on occupational performance. In: Christiansen C & Baum C, eds. Occupational therapy: Enabling function and well-being (3rd ed.). Thorofare, NJ: Slack; 2005.
  • Jacobson J, Kennedy C, Peterson D, et al. International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health: Procedural manual and guide for a standardized application of the ICF: A manual for health professionals, Sample and prototype. American Psychological Association. 2003.
  • Stark S. Home modifications that enable occupational performance. In: Letts L, Rigby P & Stewart D, eds. Using environments to enable occupational performance. Thorofare, NJ: Slack; 2003.
  • Stark S & Sutter D. Needs assessment for the City of St. Louis Department of Human Services, Office on the Disabled; 2002.
  • Baptiste S, Letts L, Stark S & Westmorland M. Doing client-centered practice. In: Law M & Baum C, eds. Occupation based practice: Fostering performance and participation. Thorofare, NJ: Slack; 2001.


2012: The Arlene and Meyer Kopolow Award for excellence in Geriatrics, Psychiatry and Neurology
2011: American Occupational Therapy Association Cordelia Myers Writer’s Award
2006: Psi Theta Epsilon Honorary Member
2005: White House Conference on Aging Delegate
2005: Roster of Fellows, American Occupational Therapy Association
2004: Washington University Center for Aging, Proposal Development Award
1998: Adeline Hoffman Scholarship Award, University of Missouri, Department of Human Environmental Science
1997: Phi Upsilon Omicron
1994: Presidents Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities


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Stark, Susy, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Curriculum Vitae
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, Neurology and Social Work

Contact Information

Program in Occupational Therapy
Washington University
4444 Forest Park Ave.
CB 855
St. Louis, MO 63108-2212
Phone: 314-273-4114
Fax: 314-286-1601

Research Laboratory

Participation, Environment and Performance Laboratory

Additional Information

Link to NLM Publications

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