Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


This Capstone Project sought to investigate and measure the process of social change in the community setting of a Christian church. A committee of stakeholders came together with a common passion to engage and integrate individuals of varying disabilities at all levels of church participation. As a new committee, stakeholders agreed to use the cyclical process of Participatory Action Research (PAR) to guide them in creating an action plan for promoting this congregational change. The occupational therapist served on the committee as both a co-facilitator and researcher.

While the primary purpose of the project was to objectively measure the degree of progress made towards creating a more inclusive environment, a secondary purpose was to gain a better understanding of how to promote participation and engagement for disabled individuals within a faith-based community. The lessons learned from engaging in PAR may also provide the field of occupational therapy more information about conducting this type of research in faith based community settings.

Faculty Mentor

Shirley P. O'Brien

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Kelly L. Leigers

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


I would like to thank Dr. Shirley O’Brien for her gentle guidance in helping me sort through the multiple facets of this Capstone Project. She has also been a source of ongoing support and motivation throughout my OTD coursework. A genuine thank you is also extended to Dr. Kelly Leigers, who offered several valuable resources and feedback during the proposal and re-writing phases of this project. This research would not have happened without the support of the committee members of ALL God’s People. I have grown quite attached to the friendships we have created and truly believe that the work we are doing goes well beyond my personal needs in accomplishing my OTD. Finally, I want to formally thank my family, friends and co-workers for their patience and support over the last two years. Thank you for allowing me to have moments of absence in my role as a partner, a mother, and a friend as I pursued this degree so late in life. Your support in my personal goals is a testimony to me and I appreciate what you had to sacrifice in order for me to accomplish them.

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)