Participation, Environment and Performance Laboratory

General Laboratory Description

The clinical translational research of the Participation, Environment and Performance Laboratory (PEPL) focuses on the unique contribution that the environment can make toward improving the performance, participation and quality of life for persons living with functional limitations. Dr. Stark and her team study how the environment accounts for the differences between what individuals are capable of doing and their actual participation in society. An exploration of the physical environment as influencing behavior is the basis of research questions designed to explore the impact of the person/environment interface. The lab studies older adults living in the community.

Members of the lab collaborate with colleagues from a variety of disciplines including engineering, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy and medicine. The lab has a strong network of community partners and many colleagues in the U.S. and internationally that collaborate on projects. The lab also accepts Fieldwork II students from across the U.S.

General Description of Student Activities

Students are members of the research team. All laboratory members assist with data collection, data analysis and dissemination of our work. Students work with our older adult advisory board and assist in the assessment and treatment of community-dwelling older adults with disabling conditions. Students also initiate and participate in innovative pilot studies. Examples of pilots:

  • Identify home modification barriers in the homes of medically underserved elderly
  • Examine the outcome of a fall prevention bingo intervention
  • Lead a community advisory board

Students should consider this laboratory if they are interested in how the environment can impact occupational performance and community participation, if they are interested in clinical translational research, evidence-based practice and translating evidence into practice. We welcome volunteers who would like to explore our lab.

Examples of Projects

  • Effectiveness study of home hazard removal to reduce falls
  • Feasibility study of a transitional program for older adults leaving rehabilitation after stroke
  • Identifying home modification barriers in the homes of medically-underserved elderly
  • Validation of a measure of caregiver self-efficacy and medication adherence

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We welcome inquiries from prospective students, potential collaborators, community partners, alumni and others who want to connect with us. Please complete the form below to begin the conversation.

Schedule a Visit

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.

Upcoming visit sessions*:

*At least two to three visit sessions are scheduled every month. All times are Central Standard Time (CST). Click here for more info.

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Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610
or Robin Hattori at (314) 286-1653