Faculty and Staff

Fulltime Faculty

Julia Wilbarger 4.17.13

Julia Wilbarger, Ph.D., OTR/L, Chair
Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy

MS, Boston University
Ph.D., University of Denver    

[email protected]                                                                

Julia Wilbarger, Ph.D., OTR/L joined the faculty as an adjunct professor in the fall 2012 semester to launch her thesis groups, and in the spring 2013 as an associate professor. She was previously an assistant professor of occupational therapy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She holds a Master of Science degree in occupational therapy from Boston University, and a doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology, specializing in developmental cognitive neuroscience, from the University of Denver. Dr. Wilbarger has done extensive research,  published and presented on issues of sensory processing, sensory modulation disorders, and sensory integration in children.


Li Kitsum

Kitsum Li, OTD, OTR/L, Director 
Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy  

OTD, Rocky Mountain University
MS, State University of New York - Buffalo 

[email protected] 


Born and raised in Hong Kong, Dr. Li was the 6th Hong Kong-trained graduate entering into the profession of Occupational Therapy.  Dr. Li has certifications in both Neuro Developmental Therapy and Neuro-Ifrah for the management and treatment of adults with hemiplegia.  She has also received advance training in Bioness, Myomo and Saebo, and other contemporary interventions used in the treatment of hemiplegic upper extremities. Her areas of interest include interventions for individuals with vestibular dysfunction, low vision, cognitive and visual-perceptual impairments. In addition to being a certified FallProof instructor, Dr. Li also holds advanced practice licenses in California in hand therapy and physical agent modalities.

Dr. Li has over 20 years of clinical experience in working with adults and seniors in a variety of settings. She was one of the pioneer therapists to work with head injury in community-based program as well as onsite therapist in industrial settings in the 1990s. Currently, she teaches Occupation in Adults and Seniors I and II, and serves as thesis advisor. In addition to teaching,she maintains her clinical practice in outpatient clinic working primarily in Hand therapy and CVA rehabilitation. Dominican Scholar Selected Works, Kitsum Li's full profile


Laura Hess, PhD, OTR/LLaura Hess
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy      

BS, Vanderbilt University
MS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
PhD, University of California, Davis

[email protected]

Laura Greiss Hess is an occupational therapist (OT) whose education, clinical and research experience spans over 22 years of work with individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. She completed her PhD in Education at the University of California, Davis, her MS in Occupational Therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her BS in Special Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. Laura’s professional background and formal training include: OT (U.C. Davis MIND Institute and school-based practice), special education teacher, comprehensive certification in sensory integration and certification in assistive technology applications. She has collaborated on research publications and presented nationally and internationally on fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing, interdisciplinary team collaboration, imitation / motor development, school-based OT and assistive technology. Dominican Scholar Selected Works


Karen McCarthy, PhD, OT/LKaren McCarthy
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy  

MA, University of Southern California
OTD  University of Southern California

[email protected]

Dr. Karen McCarthy began her career as an occupational therapist participating in the landmark occupational therapy research study:  The USC Well Elderly Study II: Health Mediating Effects of the Well Elderly Program. She completed her clinical doctorate in Occupational Therapy at USC in 2008, focusing on the development of the program Lifestyle Redesign® for the College Student. She then moved from Los Angeles to Ireland to teach Mental Health Occupational Therapy at University College Cork, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy from 2012-2016. She started her position at Dominican University of California in fall of 2016, teaching Psychosocial Aspects of Occupation.

Karen’s clinical experience is in the areas of mental health, Lifestyle Redesign ®, life coaching, dating coaching, older adults, multiple sclerosis, college student wellness, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Her research interests include mental health and Occupational Science. Dominican Scholar Selected Works.



Gina Tucker-Roghi, OTD, OTR/LIMG_0697 Roghi, Gina.jpg
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy

BS, San Jose State University
MS, University of Indianapolis
OTD, Rocky Mountain University

[email protected]

Dr. Tucker-Roghi began her career and an occupational therapist in 1992 after completing a BS in occupational therapy at San Jose State University. She earned a Master’s of Health Science from the University of Indianapolis in 2004 and has worked in geriatric practice throughout her career; specializing in the occupational needs of clients with neurocognitive impairment and their caregivers.

Gina developed an abilities-based OT intervention program for clients with dementia and has presented nationally on her work. The program has been implemented at facilities around the country where she educates OT practitioners on the implementation of evidence-based OT practices with this unique population.

Gina completed her post-professional clinical doctorate in occupational therapy at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and joined the faculty at Dominican University of California in 2016.


Caroline Umeda, PhD, OTR/LCaroline Umeda Photo 11-2018.jpg
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy

MS University of Washington
PhD University of Washington

[email protected]

Dr. Caroline Umeda has provided occupational therapy services to children with disabilities and their families since 1999. She received her Post-Professional MS and PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Washington and her BS in Occupational Therapy from the University of Puget Sound. Her advanced training includes the Comprehensive Program in Sensory Integration through Western Psychological Services/University of Southern California and certification in administering the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test and the Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers and Young Children.

Through consultative private practice, Caroline partners with community cultural arts and recreational organizations to develop accessible programs and services. Her research focuses on the impact of organization-level occupational therapy consultation to promote meaningful community participation among individuals with diverse abilities.

Caroline has taught extensively in academic, clinical, and community-based contexts, and held a clinical faculty position at the University of Washington from 2008 to 2015. Caroline joined the Department of Occupational Therapy at Dominican University of California in 2018.

Part-Time Faculty

Jamie Close

Jamie Close, MS, OTR/L
Adjunct Professor, Occupational Therapy

MS, Washington University in St. Louis

[email protected]

Jamie has been a pediatric OT for over 18 years.  She earned a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy degree from Washington University in St. Louis and began her career with the New York City Board of Education, working with elementary school students.  She has experience working in early intervention, schools, and outpatient clinics.  Jamie currently is Co-owner/Co-director of Ready Set GO Therapy, an outpatient pediatric clinic in Sausalito, CA.  She has a wide variety of training ranging from SIPT (Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests) Certification to the Perceptual Enrichment Program and DIR® Floortime.  Jamie is passionate about working with children and their families and is delighted to be sharing her enthusiasm and experience with Dominican OT students.   


Susan LeBlanc, MS, OTR/LSusan LeBlanc
Adjunct Professor, Occupational Therapy

BS, Santa Clara University
MS, San Jose State University

[email protected]

Ms. LeBlanc has been an occupational therapist for over 20 years, working with primarily with
adults with physical, developmental, and/or neurobehavioral disabilities. She has served as a
staff therapist, program director and a director of rehabilitation for Garfield Neurobehavioral
Center, and also served on the quality control and falls prevention teams of Telecare
Corporation. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Santa Clara
University and her Master of Science degree in occupational therapy from San Jose State
University. Professor LeBlanc currently teaches the “Healthy Seniors” community practice labs
in the program, and also assists with clinical skills courses.


Miriam Monahan, OTD OTR/LMiriam Monahan
Adjunct Professor, Occupational Therapy

MS, Springfield College
OTD, St. Catherine University

[email protected]

Dr. Monahan began her occupational therapy career in 1995, working primarily in physical rehabilitation with a focus on neurorehabilitation. In 2002, she began to specialize in community-based practice and driving rehabilitation in both hospital-based programs and private practice.

Dr. Monahan has worked as clinical lead on research teams at the University of Florida and University of Western Ontario. She has presented extensively to national and international audiences and has authored or co-authored research publications and book chapters on a variety of subjects including community mobility, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. In addition to teaching, she maintains a practice in driving rehabilitation.

Selected publications: Dominican Scholar Selected Works


Susan Morris, PhD, OTR/L
Adjunct Professor, Occupational Therapy      Susan Morris OT Faculty

BS, University of Puget Sound
MS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
PhD, University of California, San Francisco

[email protected]

Dr. Morris received her degree in occupational therapy from the University Puget Sound, has extensive clinical occupational therapy experience in the area of physical rehabilitation in acute care settings, and holds a doctoral degree in health psychology from the University of California, San Francisco. She also worked as a health researcher for Genentech and other biomedical firms for over 12 years. Her research has been in patient –reported outcomes and the patient experience when evaluating strategies for persons with fibromyalgia and attention-deficit disorder. She is passionate about teaching, and especially interested in occupational therapy contributions to healthy aging and wellness. Dominican Scholar Selected Works


Ann Ruderman, MS, OTR/LAnn_rudermann_.jpg
Adjunct Professor

[email protected]

MS Dominican University Of California

Ann Ruderman is a proud Dominican alumni (MSOT class of 2010). Since graduation, she has remained on staff as an adjunct instructor. She has taught courses for both the undergraduate and graduate cohorts, including three courses in the Introductory to OT series, Human Movement Analysis, and Foundations.

Clinically, Ann has specialized in physical disabilities and seeks to help her patients regain engagement and independence in their life during recovery. Ann worked five years in a skilled nursing facility, during which time she became Physical Agent Modality (PAM) certified. For the last three years, she has worked at UCSF Medical Center where she strives to diversify her practice across inpatient acute care services, including neurology, cardiology, medicine, orthopedic, and transplant.

In her free time, Ann enjoys local and international travels and exploring at every opportunity.


Alison Virzi, MS, OTR/L Alison Virzi.jpg
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Occupational Therapy
Adjunct Professor, Occupational Therapy     

BS, Dominican University of California
MS, Dominican University of California

[email protected]

Alison Virzi is the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Dominican University.  In this role she is responsible for the development of fieldwork sites and placement of students.  Alison is a Marin native and a graduate of the first Dominican University of California Occupational Therapy class in 2000. Upon graduation she worked as a hand therapist for two outpatient hand clinics in Marin.  She has taught various classes in the occupational therapy program, and supervised students for the Healthy Seniors community practice lab and Marin Brain Injury Network. She also advises freshmen in the program.

Alison received her Master's degree in Education in spring 2011.  Her Master's thesis, entitled "Preventing Dequervain's Tendonitis in Nursing Mothers," was published in the Educational Resources Information Center. Alison continues to live in her hometown of Fairfax with her two children, Kate and Drew. Dominican Scholar Selected Works



Diane Griffeath, MAShad St Louis 
Program Administrator, Occupational Therapy 

BA, Dominican University of California
MA, San Francisco State University

[email protected]                                                                  

Diane Griffeath, MA, joined the Occupational Therapy Department as the Administrative Coordinator in January 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Dominican University, and a Master of Arts degree in gerontology with a specialization in long term care administration from San Francisco State University. 


Claire Murphy, BA Claire Murphy
Instructional Resource Coordinator, Occupational Therapy

BA, New College of California

[email protected]                                                           

Claire Murphy joined the Occupational Therapy Department as the Instructional Resource Coordinator in September 2013. She holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University and taught grades K-8 prior to joining the UC Berkeley School of Public Health as coordinator for the DrPH Program. When not at Dominican, Claire enjoys spending time in the ceramic studio
making pottery.