SMU Professor Giles Wins Highest OT Honor for Brain Trauma Work

Founder of “relentless kindess” treatment model recognized as national leader

Oakland, Calif. (Nov. 18, 2016) —  Samuel Merritt University (SMU) Professor Dr. Gordon Giles has won the most prestigious award in occupational therapy for “innovating the clinical practice of cognitive neurorehabilitation” through his groundbreaking work with patients who have endured severe brain injuries.

Giles will be presented with the Eleanor Clark Slagle Lectureship Award by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) at its 2017 Annual Conference and Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia on April 1. The award, named for a pioneer of occupational therapy, recognizes achievements in research, education and clinical practice that make substantial and lasting contributions to the profession’s body of knowledge.

“It’s the pinnacle of my professional life,” said Giles, a researcher and published scholar as well as a clinician and educator. “It will absolutely raise the profile of my work and what I want to say about the practice of occupational therapy.”

The academic honor recognizes Giles’ efforts to improve the lives of clients through novel clinical practices, including his relational neurobehavioral approach to neurorehabilitation. The non-aversive method, which Giles calls “relentless kindness,” manages patients with severe behavioral and emotional problems by building positive relationships with them rather than relying on confrontation, seclusion, or mechanical restraints.

“Dr. Giles’ accomplishments have put him in the forefront of his field of neurocognitive rehabilitation in occupational therapy, and he is long overdue to be recognized,” said SMU Occupational Therapy Professor Donna Breger-Stanton, who nominated Giles for the award.

In her nomination letter, Breger-Stanton noted the mentorship Giles has provided to students and faculty members at SMU, where he has been teaching introductory and advances courses in clinical research and psychosocial dysfunction since the University established its Occupational Therapy Program in 1994.

Who: SMU’s Professor Dr. Gordon Giles  

What: Winner of Eleanor Clark Slagle Lecturship Award from American Occupational Therapy Association

When: April 1, 2016

Where: Philadelphia, PA

For more info about SMU’s Occuptational Therapy program: https://www.samuelmerritt.edu/occupational_therapy

Media: Justin Berton, Associate Director of Media Relations, 510.869.6511ext.3250 jberton@samuelmerritt.edu

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