Dr. Watson’s clinical interests include adult physical rehabilitation with a focus on neurophysiological and orthopedic injuries. She has clinical experience in outpatient, inpatient, hand therapy, assisted living/skilled nursing, and inpatient rehabilitation settings. Dr. Watson developed [and facilitates] a community balance and exercise program, BALANCED, to promote aging in place, fall prevention, and improved independence during participation in meaningful occupations. In addition, Dr. Watson is interested in improving perinatal mental and physical health outcomes for families pursuing and/or navigating parenthood and is certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Affiliate Provider [PMH-C].
Dr. Watson’s research focuses on the development, implementation, and testing of health promotion and outreach programs through two lines of scholarly activity. One line of research seeks to understand and support occupational engagement for families navigating perinatal loss, disenfranchised grief and/or bereavement, infertility, adoption, and parenting multiples. Dr. Watson is also interested in exploring and improving occupational performance outcomes of older adults aging in place through the implementation of occupation-focused community balanced and exercise programs.
Dr. Watson teaches a variety of courses within the master’s degree and clinical doctoral degree curricula with an emphasis on adult/older adult neurorehabilitation. She is the co-course director for Evaluation and Intervention: Adults and Older Adults II and Case-Based Learning II and III. Dr. Watson also provides course support for Neuroscience and Theoretical Foundations.
2019: Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD), Creighton University
1999: Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University
Dr. Watson earned her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy in 1999 from Colorado State University and her doctorate in occupational therapy in 2019 from Creighton University. She is also certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Affiliate Provider [PMH-C] through Postpartum Support International. Before joining Washington University in St. Louis as full-time faculty, Dr. Watson served as a lecturer within the Program from 2019-2022. She was also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at Saint Louis University from 2020-2022 and in the Department of Psychology at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois, from 2019-2022.
Dr. Watson’s professional identity as an occupational therapist and educator has been shaped by a foundation of integrative learning and a desire to optimize human performance and engagement. Since 2000, she has worked as an occupational therapist with adult clients with a variety of neurophysiological and orthopedic injuries in outpatient, hand therapy, assisted living/skilled nursing, and inpatient rehabilitation settings. A former military spouse, Dr. Watson has lived and/or practiced in Colorado, California, Oklahoma, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, and Missouri.
Dr. Watson’s certification as a Perinatal Mental Health Affiliate Provider (PMH-C) has advanced her clinical competency in maternal mental health and has allowed her to provide capstone mentorship to students interested in this emerging practice area, with projects focused on creating inclusive healthcare partnerships to better meet the needs of parents within the transgender community and facilitating a smooth transition to motherhood for military dependents. She also developed BALANCED, a community-based balance and exercise program to promote safety and independence during participation in meaningful occupations and to sustain preferred roles and routines within the home and community.
Dr. Watson currently serves on the Nominations Committee for the Missouri Occupational Therapy Association and has been actively engaged in a variety of professional organizations including the American Occupational Therapy Association, Illinois Occupational Therapy Association [Public Policy Coordinator], and Postpartum Support International [Military Specialized Support Coordinator and Illinois Support Coordinator].
Watson, M. (2020). BALANCED: A community balance and exercise program. OT Practice, 25(11), 28-30.
Watson, M. (2019). Diverse-OT in practice: A military spouse perspective. OT Practice, 24(10), 19-21.
Lampe, A., Belarmino, J. A., & Misciagno, S. & Watson, M. (2018). Balancing work, family, and school: An occupational juggling act. OT Practice, 23(17), 8-11.
Watson, M. A., Jewell, V. D., & Smith, S. L. (2018). Journey interrupted: A phenomenological exploration of miscarriage. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 6(3), Article 7. https://doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1439
2023: Faculty Commencement Speaker, Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Occupational Therapy
2018: Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctoral Student of the Year, Creighton University
2018: International Perinatal Bereavement Conference Scholarship. Sponsored by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).
2014: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Spouses’ Club Educational Achievement Award
1999: Quality of Life Community Service Award, Miss America Scholarship Organization
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