A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Faculty - Doctorate (OTD)

Julie Kugel, OTD, OTR/L, OTD Program Director

Dr. Kugel completed her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy from Loma Linda University in 2006.  Her experience with research and program development in the master's program led her to pursue and complete her post-professional doctor of Occupational Therapy degree via distance learning from Loma Linda University in 2009.   Her capstone project explored the role of occupational therapy in occupation based childhood obesity prevention and treatment.

Her experience in online learning was one that was professionally inspiring and personally life changing; it is her desire to make the online learning experience the same for students in the doctoral program.  She has been teaching in the online doctoral program as an adjunct professor for the past two years and is excited to be joining the faculty full time at Loma Linda University.  With her experience both as a student and faculty member she has developed strategies for teaching and learning in the online setting using a variety of media and technology approaches.  Dr. Kugel's personal research interests are in the area of pediatrics, preventative medicine and family centered therapy.

Heather Javaherian-Dysinger, OTD, OTR/L, Associate Professor

Dr. Javaherian has been teaching full time at the university level  in a variety of areas including mental health, neurorehabilitation, and occupational justice. She has served as a faculty research mentor for undergraduate students and will be team-teaching graduate-level research at Loma Linda in the Department of Occupational Therapy. She is a current member of the School of Allied Health Professions Research Committee.

Dr. Javaherian completed her post-professional doctor of occupational therapy in May 2004 via distance learning and on-site intensives at Creighton University focusing in domestic violence. As an online doctoral student for three years, Dr. Javaherian has experience with various web-based programs and student-faculty interaction. She has incorporated Blackboard into many of her courses to enhance the teaching and learning experience. She has also taught a course dedicated to technology that included topics such as web page design, Blackboard, iMovie, and various software programs. Dr. Javaherian has published in the area of online learning and student learning. She is a member of the Technology Mediated Learning Committee in the School of Allied Health Professions.

Liane Hewitt, DrPH, OTR/L, Department Chair, Associate Professor

Liane Hewitt has been teaching full time at the university level  and has been the Department Chairperson since 2000. She completed her doctorate in public health in 2007. Ms. Hewitt is working with other faculty to develop teaching and learning strategies for an online degree program. She has completed two online classes. Ms. Hewitt developed a distance education program for the occupational therapy assistant program in Fresno, California and was a key instructor in the program utilizing various distance technologies. Ms. Hewitt is a member of the Technology Mediated Learning Committee in the School of Allied Health Professions.

Grenith J. Zimmerman, PhD, Associate Dean of Research

Dr. Zimmerman is the Associate Dean for Research for the School of Allied Health Professions. She is also Program Director for the PhD in Rehabilitation Science Program. Her teaching responsibilities include research and biostatistics courses for the master's programs in occupational therapy and physician assistant and for doctoral programs in physical therapy. She does research and statistical consultation for her school and for researchers within the university and is an Academic Associate for Quest Diagnostics. Her personal research interests lie in the area of health-related quality of life for patients with various diseases and problems.

Jessica DeBrun, OTD OTR/L, Assistant Professor

Dr. De Brun completed her Bachelor's degree in Health Science, Master's degree in occupational therapy and her post-professional doctor of occupational therapy degree in 2014 from Loma Linda University.  Her doctoral capstone project focused on early childhood trauma and the maternal-child co-occupational experience while residing in a domestic violence shelter.  She developed and implemented a program for mothers residing in domestic violence shelters with emphasis on enriching co-occupational experiences.
Dr De Brun has been teaching in the department of occupational therapy as an adjunct instructor for five years and in the online doctoral program for one year. She joined the department as a full-time faculty member one year ago.   She is also a practitioner for an early intervention outpatient clinic where she specializes in early childhood trauma occupational therapy evaluations and interventions.  Dr De Brun's areas of interest include occupational science, maternal-child co-occupation, early-intervention and infant mental health.

Dragana Krpalek, PhD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor

Dragana Krpalek is an Occupational Therapist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Loma Linda University.    She graduated  as a doctor in Philosophy in 2012 from the University of Queensland Australia.  She has taught across a range of occupational therapy courses, supervised masters, honors and doctorate projects, provided clinical supervision, and worked within various interdisciplinary teams.  She has provided occupational therapy services in Australia and Haiti and currently in the USA.  Her academic responsibilities include coordinating student research activities and teaching in the area of neuroscience.   Her clinical work focus is in primary care and health promotion.