Dr. Geela Spira

Geela Spira, PhD, OTR/L

Associate Professor


  • B.A. Barnard College- Psychology, NYS Teaching Certification
  • M.S. Columbia University- Occupational Therapy
  • PhD Nova Southeastern University- Occupational Therapy

Research/Academic Interests

  • Sleep & Sensory Processing
  • Refugee Resettlement
  • Integration of Occupational Therapy occupation-based models with OT theory


Dr Spira’s work can be found in several journals including:
  • Spira, G. & Kupietsky, A. (2005). Oral defensiveness: Children with a dysfunction of sensory regulation. Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry, 29(2), 119-122.
  • Spira, G. (2020). Use of visual imagery as an alternative to written assignments. 2019 Pedagogicon Conference Proceedings.4.
  • Spira, G. & Keener, A.S. (2021). Tacit to Explicit Knowledge Transfer in a University Health Care Program: Use of Student-Professor and Professor-Professor Collaboration. Pedagogicon Conference Proceedings. 1.
  • Spira, G. & Ito, M (2021). A sensory intervention to improve sleep behaviours and sensory processing behaviours of children with Sensory Processing Disorders. Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy. 49(1).

Associations/Affiliations/Work History

  • Clinical experience as an occupational therapist, rehabilitation senior, and Occupational Therapy Director in rehabilitation, burn care, & SNF settings, pediatric out-patient and school settings, & home health care settings.
  • American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
  • World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT)
  • Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association (KOTA)
  • KOTA: Eastern District co-chair; Chair- African-American Caucus of KOTA
  • Member of the Occupational Therapy task force of the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health
  • American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
  • Editor and reviewer: Study for the Science of Occupation Conference submissions, AOTA Conference submissions, KOTA Conference submissions, Kentucky Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship, Journal of Occupational Therapy Education.
  • Rafiki Cultural Center of African Heritage- Board of Directors member & Secretary
  • Kentucky Refugee Ministries- Youth mentor, Citizenship tutor, ESL volunteer
  • Scholar’s Day representative for Occupational Therapy Department, College of Health Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University
  • Occupational Therapy Faculty Library Liaison for J.S. Smith Collection, Eastern Kentucky University
  • Occupational Therapy Education Abroad Liaison, Eastern Kentucky University


  • Recipient of E. Kossoff Best Teaching Practices Award, Barnard College
  • Nominated for Instructional Design- Best use of technology, Eastern Kentucky University 2017
  • 2019 American Occupational Therapy Association Emerging Scholar award
  • 2019 Admitted to Columbia University Alumni Loyal Blue Society