Katherine Gladhart-Hayes, MSOT/MPH ’24

Name: Katherine Gladhart-Hayes, MSOT/MPH ’24
Hometown: Eugene, OR
Undergraduate degree: BA in science, technology and society with an emphasis in bioethics from the University of Puget Sound
LouHealth Intimate Partner Violence Survivor Advocacy Team Lead; WUSOTA MOTA Committee Co-Chair; Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration Student Advisory Council Member; Clark-Fox Graduate Policy Scholar; Graduate Research Assistant

What are your meaningful occupations?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, baking, martial arts, and getting outside to hike, swim and garden. I knit, sew and mend a lot, and I love finding creative ways to use scraps and reduce waste. One of my most meaningful occupations is volunteering both in St. Louis and at home to support abortion access through practical support.

What is your definition of occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) is a holistic field that uses a client-centered approach that considers the physical, social and policy environment in conjunction with mental and physical health to support individuals’ participation in the roles, routines and activities that are meaningful and important to them.

Why did you choose the MSOT/MPH joint degree?
I chose the joint degree because I wanted additional training in structural problems and solutions to inform work in bioethics, advocacy and policy. Working in COVID-19 response during my gap year affirmed my interest in public health; I really appreciated how our team combined big-picture goals with support for individuals and families in our community. I wanted to be able to do more work with that kind of an approach.

What are your career goals?
After graduating, I plan to do a mix of clinical practice and community policy work focused on health equity, reproductive justice and environmental justice. I have a range of clinical interests but am particularly interested in perinatal health. In the future, I plan to pursue a PhD in bioethics with a focus on using OT theory, reproductive justice and fat liberation approaches within clinical and public health ethics.

What WashU experience stands out to you?
My favorite part of the WashU experience has been the ability to bring different perspectives together in classes, research and fieldwork. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Dr. Ashley Housten in the Division of Public Health on a review of patient decision aids for abortion care to analyze whether and how they address different social and legal factors. I also completed an independent study with Dr. Wanda Mahoney on the role of the eugenics movement in early OT history. Both of these projects have helped me see the connections between OT, public health, and bioethics and focus my career goals.

Anything else you would like us to know?
A huge thank-you to my family, friends, mentors and fellow activists for all their support and everything I’ve learned from them, and I want to thank all the clients I’ve had the honor to work with as an OT student or as an abortion fund volunteer for the opportunity to learn from them and for their trust in working with me.



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