Valerie Howells

A photo of Valerie Howells

Professor

Health Sciences

353 Marshall

734.487.3227

valerie.howells@emich.edu

Education

  • Ph.D., Cambridge Graduate School of Psychology, Los Angeles, California, 1991
  • MA, Cambridge Graduate School of Psychology, Los Angeles, California, 1988
  • BS, Occupational Therapy, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, 1974

Publications

  • Howells, V. (2011). Leisure and play. In C. Brown and V. C. Stoffel (Eds.), Occupational Therapy in Mental Health (pp. 724–735). F. A. Davis, Philadelphia.
  • Daniel, J., and Howells, V. (2009). African American women's journey to academia and their experiences as occupational therapy professors. McNair Chronicles, Volume 2, Fall 2009, Eastern Michigan University.
  • Howells, V.and Zelnik, T.(2009) Making art: A qualitative study of personal and group transformation in a community arts studio. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 32, 3 , 215222.
  • Zelnik, T. and Howells, V. (2007). Mood disorders. In B. Atchison & D. Dirette (Eds.), Conditions in occupational therapy. Baltimore, Maryland: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
  • Howells, V. and Francis-Connolly, E. (March, 2006). Constructing a mentoring web: Developing community- based practitioners. Special Interest Section Quarterly: Home and Community Health, 13 (1). American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
  • Howells, V. and Dickie, V. (November, 2004). The Art Oasis: An inclusive arts studio. Mental Health Occupational Therapy, 9 (3), 100102.

Peer Reviewed Presentations

  • Howells, V. (2013, May). Envisioning Spaces: Enlisting Stakeholders in the Redesign of Natural Environments in a Psychiatric Setting. Poster accepted for presentation at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry 2013, Champagne-Urbana, Illinois.
  • Howells, V. (June, 2013). Creating a healing space: The use of a participatory process in the design and implementation of natural spaces within a psychiatric hospital setting. Paper presented at the CU Expo, Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada, June, 2013
  • Howells, V. (July, 2013). Using a participatory process in the design and implementation of natural spaces in a psychiatric hospital setting Design and Health. Paper accepted for presentation at the 9th World Design and Health Conference, Brisbane, Australia, July 2013.
  • Howells, V. , Sinclair, J., and Moran, E.(April, 2012). Creating opportunities for dialogue: Using photovoice in the design of healing and natural spaces in a hospital setting. Poster presented by Sinclair and Moran at the American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, April 2012.
  • Garvey, K., Corbin, I., and Howells, V. (April, 2011).Creating healing natural spaces: The use of a participatory action process in the design of a hospital based healing garden. American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Howells, V. (May, 2013). ' I had my three camps': An ethnographic study of the transformation of stigmatizing attitudes. 15th World Federation of Occupational Therapy Congress, Santiago, Chile.
  • Howells, V., and Zelnik,T. (September, 2008).Art making as a strategy to improve the health of individuals with psychiatric disabilities. World Congress of Psychiatry, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Zelnik, T., and Howells, V. (September, 2008). Exploration of psychiatrists' attitudes toward evidence-based medicine algorithms. Contributing author. World Congress of Psychiatry, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Cole, S., Klerkx, D., Noonan, K., and Howells, V. (May, 2008). An ethnography of a community-base autism collaboration. American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Long Beach, California.

Invited Presentations

  • Howells, V., Marterella, A., and Zakrajsek, A. (September, 2012). Informing practice, Considering participation: Three approaches to community-based research. Panel presented at the Second Annual Lyla M. Spelbring Endowed Lecture and Conference, Ypsilanti, MI.
  • Howells, V. (Fall, 2012). "Implementing Psychiatric Rehabilitation." Invited lecture for staff and psychiatrists at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry, Ypsilanti, MI.
  • Zelnik, T. and Howells, V. (February, 2012). "Oil and water or oil and vinegar? Evidence-based medicine meets recovery." St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Department of Psychiatry Continuing Medical Education, Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Howells, V. and Francis-Connolly, E. (2006). " Evidence based practice." With E. Francis-Connolly. Education SIS. American Occupational Therapy Association. Charlotte, North Carolina. 2006
  • Howells, V. (May, 2005). "The effectiveness of a community arts studio: Assessing change in the lives of participants with and without mental illness." University of Brighton, Euro Masters Occupational Therapy Program. Brighton England.
  • Howells, V., and Zelnik, T. (May, 2004) "The effectiveness of a community arts studio on the lives of participants with and without mental illness." Wayne State University, College of Education, Art Therapy Conference. Detroit, MI.
  • Zelnik, T., and Howells, V. (Winter, 2003) "The use of qualitative research in evidence-based medicine." With T. Zelnik. Continuing Medical Education, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Howells, V. (May, 2000)."Communicate-Advocate." EMU Fieldwork Educators Day, Ypsilanti, MI.
  • Howells, V. (April, 1999). "Introduction to problem based learning." EMU Fieldwork Educators Day, Ypsilanti, MI.
  • Howells, V. (November, 1998). "Reimbursement and ethics." Huron Valley District OT Association, Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Carrellas, A., and Howells, V. (December, 1993) "Working together: Social Work and Occupational Therapy." With Ann Carrellas. Wayne State University Developmental Disabilities Institute, post graduate program.

Funded projects

  • Howells, V. (Winter, 2012). Exploration and analysis of a Participatory Process used in the Design of Natural Spaces Surrounding a Partial
  • Hospitalization Program. Sabbatical leave proposal for Winter 2012. Approved and funded.
  • Howells, V., and Reeves, G. (Fall, 2009). Using global exchanges to enhance health care practice, advocacy skills, and curriculum design. Approved and funded.
  • Zelnik, T. C., and Howells, V. (May, 2005). A Mixed Methods Study of Acceptance and Use of Standardized Treatment Algorithms for Major Depressive and Bipolar Disorders in a Community-based Medical Delivery System. Grant proposal submitted to Ethel and James Flinn Foundation. Funded for 3 years for $725,000.00. Co-PI on project. Designed and implemented the qualitative portion of this mixed methods study.
  • Howells, V. (Fall, 2001). Exploring Change in Participants at a Community Arts Studio. Faculty Research Fellowship proposal. Internal grant from Eastern Michigan University. Approved and funded.
  • Zelnik, T. and Howells, V. (April, 2000). The effectiveness of a community arts studio: Assessing change in the lives of participants with and without mental illness. Grant proposal submitted to the Ethel and James Flinn Family Foundation. Funded for $97,754.00.

Professional

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.

Professional Service

  • 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. 20062007.
  • 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, 19992000.
  • 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, 20042005
    • Secretary of Board, Spring, 1999August, 2003
    • Elected to the Executive Board April, 1999
    • Board member, 19972006
  • Michigan Occupational Therapy Association (MiOTA)
    • MiOTA representative to Partners for Parity Project, September, 19992004
    • Mental Health Liaison, September, 19982002
    • Standard Operating Procedures Task Force Coordinator, 19941996
  • 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, 2000Spring, 2001.

Key service to OT Program

  • Personnel Committee Chair and committee member for the School of Health Sciences, 20042013
  • Chair of the OT program, 20082011.
  • Chair of the Program Evaluation Committee for the OT program, 20082011.
  • Chair of the Lyla M. Spelbring Endowed Lectureship and Conference Event Planning Committee, 2011present.
  • Founding member of the Lyla M. Spelbring Endowed Lectureship Committee, 2010present.
  • Faculty Advisor of EMU Epsilon chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon Honor Society

Professional Awards

  • 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.