Carolyn Baum, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Carolyn Baum, Ph.D., is the Elias Michael Director and Professor of Occupational Therapy and professor of neurology. Baum is considered a leading force in the profession of occupational therapy and a dedicated teacher and mentor to the future leaders in the field.
Baum’s occupational therapy training began with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas. She worked as a therapist in Kansas City for several years and then joined the Washington University faculty as an instructor and director of the occupational therapy clinical service in 1976. She earned a master’s degree in health management from Webster University in 1979, then a Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in 1993. She became a professor in 2004.
Colleagues credit Baum with leading Washington University’s Program in Occupational Therapy to national prominence; it perennially ranks among the top three nationally and is currently ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report. Baum continually provides new and exciting avenues for learning; as one example, the strong collaborations she has built with schools university-wide, including social work, architecture and engineering, provide unique growth opportunities for both trainees and faculty.
Students report that Baum forges immediate and strong connections with them and integrates them into all aspects of the Program’s activities, including research, clinical endeavors and social-policy work. She excels at connecting trainees with the resources and opportunities they need to pursue their individual passions. Her students leave the program as skilled lifelong learners, many of whom go on to become national figures themselves.
She has served nationally as president of the American Occupational Therapy Association and on advisory boards for such national organizations as the Institute of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Among her many honors are the Award of Merit from the American Occupational Therapy Association and election to the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Academy of Research.