Keynote Lecture
Dr. Karen Jacobs

Karen Jacobs, OT, Ed.D., OTR, CPE, FAOTA earned a doctoral degree at the University of Massachusetts in Educational Leadership in Schooling, a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Boston University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr. Jacobs is a past president and vice president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). She has received 40 awards and honors including being a 2005 recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Akureyri in Akuryeri, Iceland; the 2009 recipient of the Award of Merit from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT); received the Award of Merit from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2003; and the 2011 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award.

Since completing her doctorate in 1993, she has authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited more than 80 peer reviewed journal articles; 24 book chapters, and 24 books such as: Occupational Therapy Essentials for Clinical Competency (3 editions), The AOTA Occupational Therapy Manager, Ergonomics for Therapists (2 editions), Health Professional as Educator (2 editions) and Work Practice: International Perspectives.

Dr. Jacobs is the founding editor-in-chief of the international, interprofessional journal, WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation (IOS Press, The Netherlands).

Dr. Jacobs is the Associate Dean, Digital Learning and Innovation, a clinical professor of occupational therapy and the program director of the online post-professional doctorate (OTD) in occupational therapy program at Boston University. She has worked at Boston University for 38 years and has expertise in the development and instruction of on-line graduate courses, use of technology to enable social participation among various populations of persons with disabilities, ergonomics, and health care marketing.

Dr. Jacobs’ research examines the interface between the environment and human capabilities. In particular, she examines the individual factors and environmental demands associated with increased risk of functional limitations among various populations especially with working from home.

In addition to being an occupational therapist with 42 years of experience, Dr. Jacobs is a certified professional ergonomist (CPE), a fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES); and is a consultant in ergonomics, marketing and entrepreneurship.

Plenary Lecture
Dr. Deirdre Connolly

Dr. Deirdre Connolly is Professor in Occupational Therapy, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Her research is focused on developing and testing occupational-focused self-management interventions for individuals with Chronic Diseases. She has developed a number of self-management interventions across a range of chronic diseases including Inflammatory Arthritis (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Systemic Sclerosis) Cancer and Multimorbidity. These interventions focus on symptom management such as fatigue and pain but also support individuals with Chronic Diseases to better manage their work activities: Fatigue and Activity management Education in Work (FAME-W) ( and Work and Cancer.

Dr Connolly developed OPTIMAL, a six-week self-management programme initially developed for individuals with multimorbidity and then adapted to meet the needs of individuals living with and beyond cancer. Research on the effectiveness of OPTIMAL demonstrates significant improvements in self-efficacy, occupational participation, mental health and quality of life. She is currently investigating the suitability of social prescribing for individuals with chronic mental and physical health difficulties as a community-based self-management support intervention.

Due to her expertise in chronic disease management, Dr Connolly is a member of multiple national and international health-related organisations that focus on reducing the impact of chronic diseases on individuals and healthcare services. She regularly presents the findings of her research at national and international conferences and publishes her research in high-impact journals.

Dr. Cynthia Abbott-Gaffney

Cynthia Abbott-Gaffney, OTD, MA, OTR/L is a full-time assistant professor in the occupational therapy program in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She completed her Master of Arts degree in occupational therapy at New York University and post-professional doctorate degree in occupational therapy at Boston University. Dr. Abbott-Gaffney's interests, research, publications, and educational outreach focus on the use of telehealth for the delivery of occupational therapy services in underserved areas, the use of telehealth to offset OT practitioner shortages globally and use of assistive technology and telehealth to improve efficiency, efficacy, and collaboration in the delivery of OT services. Dr. Abbott-Gaffney has been an occupational therapy practitioner for 25 years, serving in the roles of clinician, clinical case manager, program developer, clinical administrator, and independent contractor and consultant. Her primary practice areas have included traumatic and acquired brain injury rehabilitation and pediatric community, home and school-based intervention. She has served as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer, holding this certification from the Brain Injury Association of America’s Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists. She has been published numerous times on the use of telehealth in OT practice and co-authored the revised Position Statement on Telehealth for the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. She has presented internationally as both a peer-reviewed and invited speaker at professional conferences and universities globally, with topics ranging from resuming occupations post-acquired brain injury, pediatric school-based intervention and the application of telehealth to the provision of rehabilitation services. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has presented on telehealth over 40 times reaching 78 countries. Dr. Abbott-Gaffney holds a post-professional certificate in Assistive Technology and currently serves on the editorial review board of the Open Journal of Occupational Therapy.

Panel Discussion
A/Prof Tan Bhing Leet

Associate Professor Tan Bhing Leet is the Director of Programmes at the Health and Social Sciences Cluster, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). She oversees the Allied Health and Nursing programmes and teaches mental health in the Occupational Therapy programme at SIT. Prior to this appointment, she served as the Head of Occupational Therapy Department at the Institute of Mental Health. She completed her undergraduate occupational therapy and postgraduate mental health training in the United Kingdom. She also graduated from the University of Queensland with a PhD in Psychiatry. Bhing Leet was a recipient of the National Day Award Commendation Medal and National Healthcare Group Allied Health Educator Award. She also serves at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Development Group for Schizophrenia, as well as in board and advisory committee of two social services agencies.

Panel Discussion
Florence Cheong

Florence graduated with a BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy degree from St Loye’s School of Exeter in UK in 1998 under the Public Service Commission scholarship. She obtained postgraduate certification as a driver assessor in 2004 and has a Masters in Health Science Management degree from the University of Sydney in 2005. Florence is currently Senior Principal Occupational Therapist and Head of Occupational Therapy Department in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Since 2006, Florence’s driving assessment team has been collaborating with governmental authorities such as Land Transport Authority, Traffic Police, Ministry of Manpower and Singapore Medical Association to develop and conduct driving assessments for elderly vocational drivers. Partnering with Traffic Police, Land Transport Authority and the Handicapped Welfare Association, the team developed a workflow for persons with disabilities to learn/return to driving after a medical condition in Singapore.

Florence served as council member in the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) from 2013 to 2019 and is the Deputy Chair of the Occupational Therapy Credentials Committee in AHPC. She co-chairs the Occupational Therapy Panel in MOH.
Florence volunteered in various portfolios in the Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists: as elected President (2006-2016); elected Vice President (Finance) (2016-2020) and currently, as Singapore’s Delegate to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. She won the Inspiring Occupational Therapist Award conferred by the association in 2019.
Florence is an adjunct faculty with the Singapore Institute of Technology, imparting knowledge on health systems, management and leadership. She is a recipient of the Skillsfuture Fellowships 2020.

Panel Discussion
Ms Regina Phang

Regina Phang is the managing director of SG Rehab Pte Ltd and Deputy General Manager at the joint venture company MindChamps Allied Care @ Marina Square.

Her passion in the helping profession led Regina to start her journey in the healthcare sector as a registered Occupational Therapist in 2006.

With the vision of connecting the business and therapy world in the private sector, SG Rehab was founded with the mission to empower occupational therapists and physiotherapists with more time for the people and things that matter through flexible locum or part-time work arrangements.

She is passionate about helping her fellow occupational therapists and physiotherapists grow and progress in areas such as work-life balance, remuneration, and career development.

Over the past seven years, SG Rehab has helped to change the lives of over 200 therapists by guiding them along in their locum journey.

As a mother of three, she is especially passionate about creating a family and child-friendly landscape in Singapore through the work that SG Rehab does, and advocating for mothers’ rights to own the way they work so that mothers can be an active contributor both at home and at the workplace.

Panel Discussion
Ms Namrata Sadarangani

Ms Namrata Sadarangani is the Assistant Director of the Community Therapy Services at St. Andrew’s Community Hospital. Namrata did her undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy from Mumbai University, India. She has a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences (Gerontology) (Honours) from the University Of Sydney and is currently doing a post-professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (Cognition) from Columbia University, USA. She has constantly pursued her quest for learning to keep updated about current evidence-based practices, global perspectives in emerging clinical areas like dementia and palliative care and the use of innovative technology for meeting the needs in the community.

Namrata has a wide range of clinical experience in the last 27 years of her clinical practice in Singapore across the spectrum of sub-acute inpatient, outpatient care and community rehabilitation. She has evolved as a clinical administrator since 2010 setting up therapy models of care for five Senior Care Centers in the community, planned and implemented niche therapy programs for adult residents with psychiatric disorders, dementia and those with other medical conditions requiring individualized care plans in five of the organization’s Nursing Homes. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and conducts regular training for her organisation’s therapy and health care teams at the nursing homes and senior care centres enabling their understanding of dementia and other neurocognitive disorders, thereby empowering them to deliver person-centred care for older adults in the community.

As a leader of a growing team her motto has been “To lead with transparency and integrity”.