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Occupational Therapy names Wheeler as chair

Steven Wheeler, Ph.D., OTR/L, returns to West Virginia University to chair the School of Medicine’s Occupational Therapy division.


Dr. Wheeler has been an occupational therapist for 27 years, including more than 20 years of experience in brain injury related teaching, research, advocacy, and clinical work. He joins WVU from the University of Cincinnati where he served as professor and founding director of the Occupational Therapy Program for the past three years.

“I look forward to continuing the Division of Occupational Therapy’s tradition of excellence during a period of exciting change,” he said.

In addition to curriculum revisions to its existing Master of Occupational Therapy degree program, the Division has initiated the process of developing a program leading to the entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) degree.

The Division also continues to expand its clinical services and scholarly work within the Department of Human Performance and its service contributions at the national, state, and regional levels.

Wheeler has presented nationally and internationally on brain injury assessment and rehabilitation approaches and has numerous publications on this subject, including co-authoring the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Practice Guidelines for Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury.

Additionally, his 2018 collaboration with WVU OT faculty members Dr. Amanda Acord-Vira and Dr. Diana Davis, on the role of occupational therapy with individuals post-concussion, received the AOTA Special Interest Section Quarterly Practice Connections Excellence in Writing Award.

From 2001-2016, Wheeler served as a faculty member and associate chair of the WVU Division of Occupational Therapy. He previously served as chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.

He is a past recipient of the Elizabeth Devereaux Service Award by the West Virginia Board of Occupational Therapy, the Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award by the West Virginia University Injury Control Research Center, and the AOTA Outstanding Mentor Award. In March 2020, Dr. Wheeler will join AOTA’s Roster of Fellows, an award recognizing occupational therapists for their significant contributions over time to the profession.

Wheeler earned his bachelor’s in Occupational Therapy from the University of Western Ontario, his master’s in Applied Psychology from the University of Toronto, and his doctorate in Health Related Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition, he recently completed Penn State University’s Academic Leadership Academy.

Wheeler and his wife Jyneen have three kids (Katelyn, Cale, and Nathaniel), all graduates of University High School in Morgantown.