Meet Occupational Therapy Faculty [ORIGINAL]

Program Chair

Sara Story, EdD, OTD, OTR/L, BCG, CAPS

Associate Professor

Sarah Story

Dr. Story earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Science and a Masters of Occupational Therapy from Spalding University. She was awarded a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in 2011 and earned a Doctorate in Leadership (EDD) from Spalding University in 2020. Dr. Story is board-certified in gerontology through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). She maintains her status as a clinician to bring the current clinical practice to the classroom. She is the faculty advisor for the student association. Her areas of practice include gerontology and mental health with a research interest in aging in place, community mobility, and mental health services. She has delivered presentations at the state and national level.

Email Dr.Story


Jana Cason, DHS, OTR/L, FAOTA



Dr. Cason holds a Doctor of Health Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Indianapolis and joined the Spalding faculty in 2004. She is the immediate past chair of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Technology Special Interest Section (2013-2016) and immediate past chair of the American Telemedicine Association’s Telerehabilitation Special Interest Group (2014-2016). She is the senior associate editor of the International Journal of Telerehabilitation and has authored numerous refereed articles, book chapters, and standards and guidelines documents related to telehealth. Dr. Cason was inducted as a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2013. Her primary areas of teaching are physical health and wellness, research, and measurement of OT outcomes in varied service delivery contexts.

Email Dr.Cason

Melba Custer, PhD, OT/L

Melba Custer

Dr. Custer received her MS in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University and a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Kentucky. Prior to coming to Spalding in 2017, Dr. Custer was on the faculty at Eastern Kentucky University, and her clinical expertise is in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation. Dr. Custer teaches research and upper extremity rehabilitation courses. She also teaches certification courses for Deep Physical Agent Modalities (DPAMS) and provides services at a hand therapy clinic in Lexington, Ky.  Past and present research interests include outcomes of occupational therapy, program evaluation, and upper extremity rehabilitation.

Email Dr. Custer

Jeff Lederer, PhD, OTR/L


Jeff Lederer

Dr. Lederer received his MS in Occupational Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University and his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Lederer has practiced in a variety of settings including rehabilitation and home health. He also provided school-based occupational therapy services in both urban and rural communities for several years. His research interests include strategies to effectively include students and adults with disabilities in the community as well as developing occupational therapy services in community settings. He is licensed to practice OT in Kentucky and Florida and is a member of AOTA and KOTA. He also serves as a reviewer for the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT).

 Email Dr. Lederer

Rob McAlister, PhD, OTR/L



Dr. McAlister has twenty years of academic teaching experience and specializes in kinesiology and treatment of adult neurological physical dysfunction. He has also taught multiple research courses and provides mentorship for capstone research presented by students in the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy’s Vision in Action Conference. He earned his Ph.D. in Motor Learning and Control from Auburn University in 2006. Dr. McAlister has extensive experience in manual therapeutic techniques and has taught continuing education courses on myofascial release to allied health professionals nationally. Prior to becoming an instructor, he provided contract OT services for rehabilitation hospitals in the greater Atlanta, Ga., area

Email Dr. McAlister

Greg Pitts, OTD, OTR/L, CHT

Assistant Professor


Professor Pitts received a master’s and doctoral degree (OTD) in occupational therapy from Eastern Kentucky University. He is past chair of the American Hand Therapy Foundation and is currently on the board of the Hand Therapy Certification Commission. He currently teaches work, industry and orthopedic content in the Evaluation and Intervention and Outcomes courses.  He also teaches certification courses for Deep Physical Agent Modalities (DPAMS) and is the manager and owner of a hand therapy clinic in Lexington, Ky.  His most recent publications are on upper extremity rehabilitation.

Email Professor Pitts

Lisa Potts, PhD

Assistant Professor

lisa potts

Lisa teaches Anatomy and Neuroscience courses for the Occupational Therapy and Athletic Training graduate programs at Spalding University. She graduated from Centre College with a B.S. in Psychobiology and went on to obtain her doctorate in Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology from the University of Louisville. Lisa received training in neurophysiology and neuropharmacology as a post-doctoral scholar at Emory University studying novel treatment strategies for Parkinson’s disease in non-human primates. She continued training as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Kentucky working on studies of neuroprotection in non-human primate and rodent models of Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injury. Lisa then expanded her study to spinal cord injury as a senior research associate in the KSCIRC at the University of Louisville. Dr. Potts oversees the anatomy and neuroscience courses in the ASOT program.

Leslie Reed OTD, OTR/L, CPAM

Assistant Professor
Leslie ReedDr. Reed earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University.  She is board certified in Deep Physical Agent Modalities through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and is a Certified Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention instructor.  Prior to joining Spalding, she was the Rehabilitation Services Department Director at Eastern State Hospital for 10 years.   Dr. Reed serves on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Board of Directors for the Lexington, KY chapter.She has over 12 years of clinical experience in mental health care, inpatient acute medical care, skilled nursing, home health, and inpatient and outpatient rehab settings.  Publication and research interests include sensory processing, mental health, health policy, and advocacy.

Email Dr. Reed

Joshua Skuller PhD, OTR/L, BCP, ATP

Associate Professor


Dr. Skuller earned a BS in Occupational Therapy from Spalding University in 2001 followed by a Masters in Education from the University of Louisville in 2003, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum Technology from the University of Louisville in 2011. Before joining the ASOT faculty in 2012, he was a school-based therapist for Jefferson County Public Schools and also continues to practice per diem in the Kosair Charities Pediatric Convalescent Center at the Home of the Innocents. Dr. Skuller is also the director of enTECH (Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana), a state assistive technology resource center on Spalding’s campus. He is board-certified in pediatrics through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and holds certification as an assistive technology professional through the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA).

Email Dr. Skuller

Laura Stimler, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, C/NDT

Associate Professor


Dr. Stimler received a BS in Occupational Therapy from Saint Louis University and a Post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate with a concentration in Pediatric Science from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Her advanced certifications include AOTA Board Certification in Pediatrics, USC/WPS Sensory Integration and Administration of Sensory Integration Praxis Test, and Pediatric Neuro-Developmental Treatment. Her clinical experience includes pediatric and adult long-term care, pediatric rehabilitation, schools and early intervention. Prior to teaching at Spalding, Dr. Stimler specialized in acute care rehabilitation oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Her areas of teaching include pediatrics, psychosocial health and wellness, rehabilitation practice, movement, and fundamentals of OT.

Email Dr. Stimler

Laura Schluter Strickland, EdD, OTR/L, CLT, FAOTA


Dr. Laura Strickland received her BS in Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch. She holds a Master of Arts in Behavioral Health from the University of Houston, a Master of Health Science from the University of Florida, and a Doctorate in Leadership from Spalding University. Dr. Laura served on the Kentucky Board of Licensure in Occupational Therapy for over 12 years. Previously, she served Spalding as the Chair of the Auerbach School and Associate Dean of the Kosair College of Health and Natural Sciences. Dr. Laura enjoys being a full-time occupational therapy faculty member teaching ethics, management, and leadership. Dr. Laura holds an advanced certification as a lymphedema therapist and is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is passionate about her role in supporting and guiding ASOT graduates in their journey to successfully complete the NBCOT OTR® Certification Examination.

Email Dr. Laura Strickland

L. Randy Strickland, Ed.D, OTR/L, FAOTA



Dr. Strickland received his BS in Occupational Therapy from East Carolina University and earned his Master of Education (MEd) and doctorate (EdD) from North Carolina State University. He is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (FAOTA) and an invited charter member of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Living Legacy Society. He has led extensive rehabilitation programs in several states including Kentucky, Texas, and North Carolina. Past service contributions to the profession include state association president, a member of both the Kentucky and Texas occupational therapy licensure boards, Vice President of the American Occupational Therapy Association, and President of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. After extensive service including practice administration, founding director of the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, and Spalding University Provost, he most enjoys now serving as Professor of Occupational Therapy with teaching responsibilities in leadership, management, and program development/evaluation.

Email Dr. Randy Strickland

Faculty Assistants

Jyoti K. Heiple, MHS, OTR/L, CHT

Assistant Professor
Jyoti K. Heiple

Professor Heiple earned a BS in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University in 1999, an MHS in Occupational Therapy with a concentration in orthopedics from the University of Indianapolis in 2015, and will earn her Ph.D. in Health Professions Education from Bellarmine University in 2022.  Professor Heiple has 20 years of clinical experience in outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation, including specialized conditions related to the upper extremity.  She is a Deep Physical Agent Modalities Supervisor and became a Board Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) in 2008, obtaining advanced skills in fabricating custom orthotics and treating traumatic upper extremity conditions, including hand replants and transplants. Her research interests include evidenced-based occupational therapy treatment approaches and upper extremity rehabilitation.

Email Professor Heiple