Faculty

Liane Hewitt, DrPH, CHES, OTR/L

Liane Hewitt, DrPH, CHES, OTR/L

Occupational Therapy Department Chair, Associate Professor

Dr. Hewitt serves as the Chairperson of the Department of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Hewitt began her professional career at Loma Linda University Medical Center where she worked in acute care and inpatient rehabilitation. Her specialty area was neurorehabilitation where she was able to impact the lives of many patients and families. Over the span of her career Dr. Hewitt has worked in a variety of practice areas including home health, skilled nursing, schools and more recently in community-based practice areas.

 

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Heather Javaherian-Dysinger, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Heather Javaherian-Dysinger, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Program Director - MOT, Associate Professor

Dr. Javaherian has been practicing in occupational therapy for nearly 20 years. In 2004 she received her doctorate in occupational therapy with a focus in domestic violence from Creighton University. Dr. Javaherian is currently an Associate Professor and Program Director of the Master’s of Occupational Therapy Program at Loma Linda University. Her teaching emphasis involves research, evidence-based practice, education, community program development, and health promotion.

 

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Julie Kugel, OTD, OTR/L

Julie Kugel, OTD, OTR/L

Program Director - OTD

Dr. Kugel graduated with her master’s degree in 2006 and continues to enjoy an amazing journey as an occupational therapist and educator. Dr. Kugel has worked in a variety of settings including acute care, in-patient rehab, out-patient hand therapy, and out-patient pediatrics before settling into school-based practice where stayed for over 7 years.  

 

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Aaron Moesser, MOT, OTD, OTR/L

Aaron Moesser, MOT, OTD, OTR/L

Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Assistant Professor

My name is Dr. Aaron Moesser and I am the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the MOT program. My main practice area has been in pediatrics, primarily school based, where I practiced for 6 years prior to joining the faculty at Loma Linda University. I recently graduated from a post professional OTD program.

 

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Arezou Salamat, OTD, OTR/L

Arezou Salamat, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor

Dr. Salamat completed her doctorate in Occupational Therapy at Loma Linda University with an emphasis on addressing the needs of children in foster care in collaboration with the Department of Child and Family Services in San Bernardino County. She is certified in infant massage, sensory integration, and extensive experience infant NDT and addressing the needs of children who experienced early childhood trauma. 

 

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Douglas Rakoski, OTD, OTR/L, ATP

Douglas Rakoski, OTD, OTR/L, ATP

Assistant Professor

Dr. Rakoski, OTD, OTR/L, ATP, is an assistant professor and directs the Therapeutic Technology Program at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He has served as clinical specialist in assistive technology for the University of Michigan Health System managing the Computer Assisted Therapy Program.

 

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Dragana Krpalek, PhD, OTR/L

Dragana Krpalek, PhD, OTR/L

Associate Professor

Dr. Krpalek is passionate about occupational therapy and contributing to the profession through research and training of students. She graduated as a Doctor in Philosophy in 2012 from the University of Queensland, Australia. Since then her appreciation and love for research has continued to grow. Dr. Krpalek's clinical and research interests are in lifestyle medicine and she coordinates research courses for the program.

 

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Heather Roese, OTD, OTR/L

Heather Roese, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor

Dr. Roese received her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Loma Linda University in 2014. She has also earned a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences.

 

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Praveen Injeti, MA, MFT, OTD, OT/L

Praveen Injeti, MA, MFT, OTD, OT/L

Capstone Coordinator

Dr. Injeti received his bachelor’s education as an occupational therapist at Loma Linda University in 1999. He then obtained a degree in a Master of Art in Psychology with focus in Marriage and Family Therapy. In 2021 he completed his Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Loma Linda University. Dr. Injeti has worked in various settings such as long-term care, the jail system treating psychiatric patients, and in-patient behavioral health settings as well as home health which nurtured his growth as a clinician.

 

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Sharon Pavlovich, EdD, COTA/L

Sharon Pavlovich, EdD, COTA/L

Assistant Professor

Sharon Pavlovich received her doctorate at USC’s Rossier School of Education. She has a Master’s degree in Management, a Bachelor’s degree in Art, and an Associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy.

 

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Staff

Leticia Guerrero

Leticia Guerrero

Administrative Assistant

Leticia joined the Occupation Therapy Department in August of 2020 as the Administrative Secretary and has been employed with the University since 2016. Her primary duty is administrative support to Department Chair, Director, Faculty, Staff and Students. Leticia is currently attending University of Redlands to obtain a degree in Business. During her free time, Leticia enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids. She also enjoys photography, hiking, gardening and taking road trips.

Candace McCain-Whitaker

Candace McCain-Whitaker

Administrative Assistant

Ms. Candace McCain Whitaker is the administrative assistant for the Department of Occupational Therapy. She has worked at Loma Linda for over 5 years. She joined the Department in 2021 and enjoys watching the students learn and grow into the career of their dreams. Candace enjoys reading, being outdoors and spending time with family.