Professor Karen Jacobs is one of those guests that makes me feel like I don’t work hard enough. Any of the projects she has been involved in could be looked at as career-defining by mere mortals like myself. Everything from writing textbooks, creating national campaigns looking at safe backpack use, writing a library of kids books. Also, she’s been President and VP of AOTA, run a cable TV show, started an academic journal and runs an OT podcast. The list goes on and on and on!
I first “met” Karen in 2011 when I first got involved with the OT4OT team (where she was a member). There, I was able to help them out with their 24hr virtual conference as well as their suite of Facebook groups. The more I learned about her the more I was just in awe of the impact she has had on our profession.
Jacobs is a clinical professor of occupational therapy and the program director of the distance education post-professional occupational therapy programs at Boston University. She has expertise in the development and instruction of online graduate courses. In addition to being an occupational therapist, Jacobs is also a certified professional ergonomist (CPE). She has a private practice in ergonomics.
Jacobs earned her BA at Washington University in St. Louis, her MS at Boston University, and her doctoral degree at the University of Massachusetts.
Dr Jacob’s research examines the interface between the environment and human capabilities. In particular, she examines the individual factors and demands associated with increased risk of functional limitations among populations of university and middle school-aged students. She focuses particularly on notebook computing, backpack use, and games such as WiiFit. Most recently, she is co-developing, with Dr Nancy Baker at the University of Pittsburgh, the Telerehabilitation Computer Ergonomics System (tele-CES) for computer users with arthritis. The tele-CES is a remote systematic ergonomics program. It’s aimed at substantially reducing work disability among workers with any type of arthritis.
Jacobs is the founding editor-in-chief of the international, interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010.
Jacobs is a past president and vice-president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). She is a 2005 recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Akureyri in Akureyri, Iceland; the 2009 recipient of the Award of Merit from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT); and recipient of the Award of Merit from the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2003.