Dr. Nellis has worked on interprofessional teams focusing on adult rehabilitation and habilitation across the continuum of care. Her clinical experience includes working with adults who have experienced strokes and community-dwelling adults living with multiple morbidities, including anxiety and depression that affect function and engagement in everyday occupations. Dr. Nellis’ focus is on health promotion, well-being and self-management in order to empower patients to take charge of their own global health.
Dr. Nellis also has an interest in alternative health-care service delivery models including team-based, interprofessional care aimed at community integration and identification/remediation of functional risk for vulnerable, community-dwelling adults.
Dr. Nellis’ scholarly interests focus on well-being in community-dwelling older adults, interprofessional practice supporting transition from hospital to home and experiential learning for occupational therapy students. She piloted a well-being program in an older adult independent living community with positive results in changes in global health scores from before/after program execution. From a clinical perspective, she partnered with researchers to provide clinical services for a NICU to home transition program aimed at providing a continuum of services for at risk infants until formal early intervention services are set up. The results showed that a sustainable, dedicated program can decrease the gap from discharge to initiation of early intervention services. Dr. Nellis was instrumental in initiating a student experiential learning clinic where students deliver services to post-stroke patients in a supervised clinic settings. Early results of this program support the value for hands on learning for occupational therapy students early in in their educational career.
Dr. Nellis has taught management in changing practice environments and guest lectures on topics of management and health-care delivery services.
2017: Occupational Therapy Doctorate, A. T. Still University
2007: Master of Business Adminstration, Columbia College
1980: BS in occupational therapy, Western Michigan College
Early in her career, Dr. Nellis assumed leadership and managerial responsibilities for interprofessional teams, including audiology, music, nursing, occupational, physical, recreational and speech therapists, and developed contemporary services for each setting. Her work experience spans both rural and urban communities, and she has a special interest in rural health and related disparities. Dr. Nellis began her career as an occupational therapist working in forensic mental health in Oklahoma and Missouri. While in Oklahoma, she worked with her Department of Mental Health team and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to develop protocols for mental health services to be delivered within the correctional setting. At Fulton State Hospital, she developed contemporary programming, including skills based training programs for self-care and re-integration into work settings. From there, she led and delivered services in multiple areas including acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities (SNF), home health and outpatient settings. While in the SNF setting, Dr. Nellis coordinated the major transition to prospective payment for SNFs that involved oversight of more than 500 beds in six different facilities. This included integration of the clinical tool and payment model and multiple hours of staff education and training. After moving to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Dr. Nellis built the infrastructure necessary to deliver high-quality services in a fast-paced acute/academic environment. There, she re-defined discipline roles and re-aligned therapy teams with medical practices to better meet patient needs. She also developed specialized interprofessional teams to serve patients in the areas of neurology, orthopedics, oncology, cardiology, specialty surgery and general medicine. While there, she developed intricate metrics to measure team productivity and set in place the infrastructure necessary to implement/measure quality of services and engage in interprofessional research.
Performance, Participation and Well-Being, 4th edition, chapter author, Enabling Successful Practice through Application of Business Fundamentals, Slack Inc., 2014
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Current, future and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion, followed by a tour that’s led by one of our current occupational therapy students.
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