Who's Who Top Educators

Karen Frank Barney, PhD, MS, OTR, FAOTA

Title: Professor Emerita
Company: Saint Louis University
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri, United States

Karen Frank Barney, PhD, MS, OTR, FAOTA, Professor Emerita at Saint Louis University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in academia.

With over three decades of experience to her credit, Dr. Barney has carved out a distinguished career in the field of occupational therapy and rehabilitation. Currently excelling as Professor Emerita at Saint Louis University since 2013, Dr. Barney continues to contribute significantly to the field through her research and teaching. She specializes in writing her textbook and developing her model of rehabilitation for re-entry from incarceration.

In this role, Dr. Barney leverages her expertise in developing rehabilitation models for re-entry from incarceration and advocating for improved living conditions for marginalized populations. Prior to this position, he was actively involved as interim director of the Saint Louis University Prison Program from 2014 to 2015, where she pioneered initiatives to support the rehabilitation of incarcerated individuals. Previously, she served as core faculty at the Geriatric Education Center at Saint Louis University School of Medicine from 1991 to 2013, where she played a pivotal role in educating future healthcare professionals in geriatric care.

Dr. Barney began her career as a doctoral fellow at Saint Louis University School of Public Health from 1993 to 1998, focusing on public health issues affecting vulnerable populations. She has also worked as a consultant, providing home-based services for Independent Living Inc. in Madison, WI, and direct services for three local skilled nursing facilities in Wisconsin over a period of 10 years. 

Laying a solid foundation for her future success, Dr. Barney pursued an education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy in 1966. She continued her academic efforts by completing her master’s degree in adult and continuing education administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982. He concluded her studies with a PhD in health services research from Saint Louis University in 2002.

Outside of her primary vocation, Dr. Barney remains affiliated with various organizations in relation to her areas of expertise. She has maintained her involvement as a member of the Development Committee and Scholarship Committee at the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. She also serves as a trustee at her local church and as a volunteer for organizations related to incarcerations and the Saint Louis Urban League. Additionally, She was a member of the Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Gerontological Society of America.

A standout moment in Dr. Barney’s career was when she wrote her textbook “Occupational Therapy with Aging Adults: Promoting Quality of Life Through Collaborative Practice,” and developed her model of rehabilitation for re-entry from incarceration. She also considers her time as interim director of the Saint Louis University Prison Program a significant highlight.

When giving advice to aspiring professionals, Dr. Barney emphasizes the importance of fierce determination and the value of education, which were instilled in her by her parents. She attributes her success to her fierce determination and the guidance of her parents, who emphasized the importance of education.

Looking forward, Dr. Barney intends to complete the edits for her upcoming textbook and plans to re-engage with the prison program to expand outreach and publishing efforts. She also aims to collaborate with her son, who holds a PhD, on research projects focusing on using occupational therapy to address public health issues across various domains. Currently, she is actively working on the second edition of her textbook, slated for publication in August 2024 by Elsevier, which emphasizes interprofessional collaboration among various health care and related professions.

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