Dr. Howells' teaching interests include assessment and intervention with individuals with mental illness, community based practice, disability studies and OT, theory, and participatory and ethnographic research.
As a clinician, she worked with adults in both traditional and non-traditional community-based settings. During the later years of her practice, she worked as a consultant and had a small private practice. The practice area Dr. Howells was most drawn to was that of mental health. She appreciated learning from her clients and supporting them to become more active members of their community. Dr. Howells brings this knowledge and experience into her teaching by using many cases from her practice. She is particularly interested in helping students learn how to think through clinical challenges and be flexible in employing their skills. Dr. Howells enjoys teaching theory and helping students to explore its value in practice, helping students develop an awareness of how to use themselves therapeutically, and teaching about OT practice in mental health.
Dr. Howells' research interests center around stigma and mental illness, healing places and occupational marginalization. She employs ethnographic methods and participatory research designs as she believes they afford the researcher the opportunity to both see and hear more clearly.
- Reviewer for the Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2014
- Reviewer for the Journal of Community Psychology, 2013
- Member of Ph.D. Dissertation Committee for Linda Leimbach, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2013
- External reviewer of Ph.D. dissertation for Clodaugh Nolan, Trinity University, Dublin, Ireland, 2011
- Consultant on inpatient psychiatric unit of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI. November 2007–December 2009.
- Founding member of the Autism Collaborative, an interdisciplinary organization designed to provide services to individuals with autism and their families. 2006–2007.
- Governor's Health Professionals Recovery Committee (HPRC). Represented the Michigan Board of Occupational Therapists. January 2000– December 2003.
- State representative for the American Occupational Therapy Associations Mental Health Partnership Project, Fall, 1999–2000.
- Co-founder of OTACTS: Occupational Therapists Advocating for Community-based Treatment and Services. Winter, 1999.
- Trailblazers Psychosocial Rehabilitation Clubhouse, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Chair of Board, Spring, 2004–2005
- Secretary of Board, Spring, 1999–August, 2003
- Elected to the Executive Board April, 1999
- Board member, 1997–2006
- Michigan Occupational Therapy Association (MiOTA)
- MiOTA representative to Partners for Parity Project, September, 1999–2004
- Mental Health Liaison, September, 1998–2002
- Standard Operating Procedures Task Force Coordinator, 1994–1996
- Member of the Consumer Evaluation Committee at Dreams Unlimited Clubhouse, Oak Park, MI. Serve as a consultant to committee and provide
- Masters student support for projects. Fall, 2000–Spring, 2001.
Key service to OT Program
- Personnel Committee Chair and committee member for the School of Health Sciences, 2004–2013
- Chair of the OT program, 2008–2011.
- Chair of the Program Evaluation Committee for the OT program, 2008–2011.
- Chair of the Lyla M. Spelbring Endowed Lectureship and Conference Event Planning Committee, 2011–present.
- Founding member of the Lyla M. Spelbring Endowed Lectureship Committee, 2010–present.
- Faculty Advisor of EMU Epsilon chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon Honor Society
- Nominated for Women of Excellence Award, 2013
- American Occupational Therapy Association/ American Occupational Therapy Foundation Leadership Fellowship, 2008
- Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Health and Human Services from the EMU Alumni Association, 2007.
- Service Award, Michigan Occupational Therapy Association, 2001.
- Distinguished Alumna of the Year, Occupational Therapy Program, Department of Associated Health Professions, Eastern Michigan University, 1996.
- Service Award, Michigan Occupational Therapy Association, 1996.