Occupational Therapy Staff

John White, PhD, OTR/L

Director of Occupational Therapy

John loves to nurture people to achieve their best, whether students, faculty, or his occupational therapy clients. He brings this passion and skill to his leadership and teaching for the community of learning found within the School of Occupational Therapy. John believes that the innovative work being done by faculty and students in the School has the potential to significantly change and improve the delivery of occupational therapy services. His beliefs are supported by research that has demonstrated the profound healthful impact of an occupational therapy treatment approach to diverse groups of people. Development of an OT practice center to implement these ideas more directly is a long term goal he envisions for the school.

People with chronic disability face many obstacles in participating in society or their chosen occupations, and John advocates, through his teaching, community work, and research, to remove those barriers and promote more satisfying opportunities for people with disabilities. John is one of the early pioneers in the study and research of occupational science, a burgeoning field designed to understand the complexities of human occupation, and to apply that knowledge to the practice of occupational therapy. Dr. White believes that this emerging knowledge base also supports the development of occupational justice, or social justice through occupational therapy. Using this approach will enable occupational therapists to tackle significant problems facing society such as rapidly changing activity patterns, environmental degradation, and a growing aging population; and he brings this research into the curriculum. John is currently working on a project with students and faculty member Dr. Sandra Rogers to collaborate with other researchers across the U.S. to improve the outcomes for people transitioning from jail or prison into community life. Early results from this OT work in corrections are very promising for a much larger role for occupational therapy in this area of social need.

A challenge outside of work that John enjoys is finding time to juggle his many interests, such as guitar, skiing, camping, woodworking, and yoga. He can often be seen biking or walking the streets of Forest Grove with his wife Bonnie, two children, and their Dalmation, who he says, are great supporters in the quest for a balanced occupational life.


Suzie Schwab

Manager of Administrative Services

From an outside perspective, the natural pace of life for Suzie, Office Manager, might seem consuming, but to her, it's a rapid rate that keeps her at her best. Suzie plays a key role working with the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and the Department head in all aspects of administration, as well as monitoring and maintaining the background support and details of the day to day activities. Suzie is indeed an infrastructure specialist. She assists students in learning collaboration and teamwork within systems and helps students learn how to get their needs met through interactions with other departments.

Suzie has always immersed herself fully in life. Her commitment to balancing her family, career and personal time is unmistakable in her very busy schedule, which often begins well before sunrise as she tends to her horses and other animals. To Suzie, living her life as an example for her two daughters is an important value. From pursuing an education to making life decisions that demonstrate a strong healthy female role model, it is these acts that reflect who Suzie is as a person.

Kelly Hering

Administrative Assistant

Kelly plays a key role within the School of OT planning events, and working closely with the Department Head, providing support for all aspects of administration.

Kelly’s skills and abilities are interwoven with a spirit, energy, and zest for life which are a testimony to who Kelly is as a person. She exhibits this same enthusiastic tempo in her personal life where she is a devoted wife and mother of 5 children, and an active volunteer in local schools and her church community.