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Alumni Spotlight: Innovative Assessments

Anne FisherFrom the early stages of her career, Dr. Anne G. Fisher (B.S.’69, Occupational Therapy) set herself apart as a thought-leader, dedicating her life’s work to advancing the profession of occupational therapy.

Dr. Fisher is the Founder of the Center for Innovative OT Solutions (CIOTS). Her more than 50 years of experience as an occupational therapist, occupational scientist, and educator has inspired her to develop innovative assessments of quality of occupational performance and the Occupational Therapy Intervention Process Model (OTIPM).

Dr. Fisher co-authored, with Dr. Abbey Marterella, the new text, Powerful Practice: A Model for Authentic Occupational Therapy. The OTIPM and this most recent book emerged as a solution to a common challenge — how to harness the full power of occupation in practice, education, and research. She has published 115 articles in refereed professional journals and 50 books, book chapters, and test manuals.

Recently, Dr. Fisher retired from her position as President for the CIOTS, but will remain on the Advisory Board. She will be succeeded by Dr. Marterella, who said, “Anne’s substantial contributions to the profession and discipline -- both her research and development of gold-standard, standardized assessments and her thought-provoking theoretical work -- heavily influenced me throughout my career as an occupational therapist and occupational scientist. The opportunity to sustain and advance Anne’s legacy is truly an honor.”

The focus of Dr. Fisher’s research has been on the development of occupation-centered tools that support the implementation of occupation-based and occupation-focused occupational therapy services. Among them are (a) the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) that is used to evaluate a person’s quality of ADL task performance; (b) the School Version of the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (School AMPS), an observational assessment of a student’s ability to perform schoolwork tasks that have been assigned by the teacher and performed within the student’s natural classroom milieu; and (c) the Evaluation of Social Interaction that is used to evaluate the quality of social interaction of persons engaging in actual social exchanges with typical partners.

Most recently, Dr. Fisher has been the co-developer of the Assessment of Compared Qualities -- Occupational Performance (ACQ-OP) and the Assessment of Compared Qualities – Social Interaction (ACQ-SI). These tools have been designed to be used as companion tools to the AMPS and ESI, respectively. They are used to evaluate the extent of discrepancy between a person’s self-reported quality of ADL task performance or social interaction and the quality of performance just observed by the occupational therapist. She is an internationally recognized expert in occupational therapy theory, functional assessment, and instrument development. Dr. Fisher pioneered the use of Rasch analysis in occupational therapy and also is recognized internationally for her expertise in Rasch measurement.

As a researcher, Dr. Fisher has received funding from the National Institutes of Aging, Swedish Research Council, and American Occupational Therapy Association and Foundation, among others. She has served on several editorial boards, including Journal of Applied Measurement, Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, the Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, and the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

Dr. Fisher is a member of the Academy of Research of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation; she was awarded the A. Jean Ayres Award in 1991 in recognition of her efforts refining and synthesizing the theories of sensory integration and the Model of Human Occupation, for excellence in teaching, and for innovative research in measurement and functional assessment. She was the 1997 recipient of the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship for distinguished contributions to theory and functional assessment. In November 2000, Dr. Fisher was awarded an honorary doctorate (hedersdoktor) from Umeå University, Sweden, and is the first occupational therapist ever to have been so honored by that institution. In 2001, she was named University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, an honor bestowed on only 10 faculty who have made significant national and international contributions to their profession. In 2017, the American Occupational Therapy Association honored her as one of 100 people who most influenced occupational therapy’s 100-year history.

After graduating with honors from Western Michigan University, Dr. Fisher pursued graduate degrees at Boston University’s Sargent College of Allied Health Professions, including her M.S. and Sc.D. She graduated with honors and distinction upon completing her advanced degrees at Boston University. Dr. Fisher has held faculty appointments at several prestigious occupational therapy programs both domestically and internationally, including Boston University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Colorado State University, and Umeå University, Sweden.

About Center for Innovative OT Solutions: Center for Innovative OT Solutions develops resources to enable occupational therapists to focus on occupation, helping them become better OTs who more effectively help their clients attain their occupation-focused goals.