Ford named HU’s new director of occupational therapy

Ruth Ford
Dr. Ruth Ford

FORT WAYNE, Ind. Huntington University is one step closer to opening its first doctorate program with the appointment of Dr. Ruth Ford as the director of occupational therapy. The program will open in Fort Wayne in fall 2014.

Ford is currently working as a consultant for the university and will assume her position as director in 2014.

"The hiring of Dr. Ford brings national prominence to the initiation of our first university doctoral level program," President Sherilyn Emberton said. "We are so grateful for the support of our board of trustees and special donors for helping provide a new health care workforce in the critical need area of occupational therapy go from dream to reality for the people of Northeast Indiana, Southeast Michigan and Western Ohio."

Ford, who previously served as the associate dean of occupational therapy at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., comes to HU with 13 years of experience in academia, including expertise in the clinical and business aspects of the field. She has 37 clinical years of experience in management, acute care, rehabilitation, outpatient, long-term care and home health. She has managed more than 500 occupational and physical therapists and speech language pathologists and has opened multiple occupational therapy programs.

"Today's educational and health care systems need to be closely aligned with local, regional, national and international involvement," Ford said. "The educational classroom must extend beyond the unnatural boundaries of walls with rich learning experiences for today's students and future health care practitioners. I look forward to the challenge of developing a dynamic learning environment with the help of those at Huntington University and the greater Fort Wayne area."

Ford earned her Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy at The Ohio State University, a Master in Biomedical Sciences degree in rehabilitation from the Medical University of Ohio (now University of Toledo) and her EdD in Leadership and Policy from Bowling Green State University. Ford held teaching positions at the Medical College of Ohio and the University of Findlay prior to her tenure at Belmont.

"Dr. Ruth Ford is just the right person to be the founding director of our occupational therapy program," said Dr. Ann McPherren, senior vice president for strategy. "She brings a great mix of clinical, academic and administrative experience. New program starts are both exciting and challenging. Ruth is motivated by both. With the Lord's blessing and accrediting bodies' go ahead, we are looking forward with great anticipation to greeting Huntington University's first doctoral students next fall."

This doctorate program will be located within the Life Science Education and Research Consortium of Northeast Indiana at the Parkview Randallia campus in Fort Wayne. The program will build on Huntington's undergraduate degrees in psychology, nursing and exercise science. A bachelor's degree and certain prerequisite courses are required for this program.

Ford will relocate to Huntington in January to begin full-work. She is currently serving in a consulting role in preparation for the 2014 program launch.

For more information on the program, visit

Accreditation information

Huntington University's entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE's telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

Once accreditation of the program has been obtained, its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, most states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate's ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Students must complete Level II fieldwork and experiential requirements within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.