EllingtonAllison Ellington, OTD, MS, OTR/L

Program Director, Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Assistant Professor

Allison Ellington completed her post-professional OTD at Chatham University and previously earned a master of science in occupational therapy from Ithaca College. She has extensive clinical experience in adult neurological rehabilitation. She earned numerous clinical certifications and regularly incorporated rehabilitation technology into occupational therapy practice. She continues to provide occupational therapy services to clients in both the outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation settings.

Dr. Ellington has been a research team member to develop an occupation-based virtual reality system that is now commercially available. Additionally, she has published and presented nationally on topics including using online journal clubs to educate and support fieldwork educators as well as processes and outcomes of the entry-level OTD doctoral experiential component.



Knewstep-WatkinsShelley Knewstep-Watkins, OTD,OTR/L

Director of Clinical Education

Assistant Professor

Shelley Knewstep-Watkins received her post-professional OTD from the University of St. Augustine, where she previously earned her Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the College of William and Mary. She has been a practicing occupational therapist since 2008 working first in pediatric and adult rehabilitation at Brooks Rehab in Florida. At the University of Virginia Health System, she was a senior occupational therapist providing acute care services throughout the medical center as well as a leader of the interdisciplinary fall prevention team.

Dr. Knewstep-Watkins is a highly recognized expert on the role of occupational therapy for persons with Huntington’s disease, serving as the primary OT in the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at UVA and authoring educational presentations as well as book chapters on this practice area. Additionally, she is a contributing member of a research team investigating interventions for children with cerebral palsy.


EllingtonLisa Burns, PhD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor,  Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Dr. Burns completed her Ph.D. in Human Development (interdisciplinary approach, with specialization in higher education) from Marywood University in Scranton, PA in 2013. While in that program she received the William G. McGowan Medal for Excellence in Doctoral Studies. She has been a practicing OT for more than 20 years, twelve of those as OT Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at University of Scranton. She has taught several OT courses, has been active in numerous professional organizations and presented nationally and regionally on teaching and learning theory and practice in Occupational Therapy.



HansenGreg Hansen, PhD, MS, OTR/L

Assistant Professor,  Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Greg Hansen received his PhD in Motor Learning from the University of Virginia. He has a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from West Virginia University. Dr. Hansen has been a practicing occupational therapist for 20 years. Prior to coming to MDCHS he was employed at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (VSDB). In addition to his work at VSDB, Dr. Hansen has practiced at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, Fayette County Schools (WV) schools, Augusta Health and a number of other hospital based centers. Dr. Hansen has been an invited guest speaker at many regional colleges and has supported OT students in training as a clinical instructor, receiving two awards as “outstanding fieldwork educator.” His area of expertise and his recent research focuses on children with special needs.




StephensonPam Stephenson, OTD, MS, OTR/L

Assistant Professor,  Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Dr. Pam Stephenson received her OT Degree from Ulster Polytechnic in Northern Ireland in 1984. In addition she has a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences (1995) from St. Georges Hospital Medical School, London, a Post-Professional MS in Occupational Therapy from San Jose University, and a Post-Professional Occupational therapy Doctorate from Rocky Mountain University (2014).  In 2012, she was co-author of a book chapter “The Use of Psychosocial Methods and Interpersonal Strategies in Mental Health” as part of the 3rd edition of Psychosocial Occupational Therapy: An Evolving Practice. She is active in the Virginia Occupational Therapy Association (VOTA) and served as the “Blue Ridge District Chair” directing the VOTA activities in the region from 2009 until July 2015. Dr. Stephenson recently accepted the position of Forum Coordinator for the AOTA Early Intervention and School Special Interest Section (EISSIS). Her major areas of interest focus on mental health and autism.



WagonerSandy Wagoner, OTD, MOTR/L, CHT

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Sandy Wagoner received a BS degree in therapeutic recreation followed by a master’s in occupational therapy in 1985 from Texas Woman’s University. Her post professional doctorate degree was obtained from Rocky Mountain University with an emphasis in administration and practice management. Dr. Wagoner has over 30 years of clinical experience working in a variety of settings including out-patient therapy, In-patient rehabilitation, private practice, home health and industrial health. She continues to practice one day a week at Augusta Health’s outpatient therapy clinic. Dr. Wagoner earned an advanced certification in neurodevelopment treatment and became a certified hand therapist in 1997. She currently serves as secretary to the local Blue Ridge Occupational Therapy Association. She has special interest in preventing work place injuries and has presented on both the state and national level sharing how occupational therapy can decrease work injuries in computer users.

HarrisHannah Harris, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Hannah Harris received her entry-level OTD in 2010 from Belmont University and previously earned BS degrees in Kinesiology and Psychology from Shenandoah University. She currently serves as a member of the Roster of Accreditation Evaluators (RAE) for the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Dr. Harris has clinical experience working with populations across the lifespan with a special interest in the aging population. She is currently pursuing her certification as an Aging in Place Specialist and continues to practice one day a week in the long term care setting with emphasis in dementia care and caregiver education.


David Pallister, JD, OTR/L

Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (PPOTD)

David Pallister received his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers Law School (Newark) and Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy from New York University.  He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Wagner College.  An occupational therapist for over 20 years, Dr. Pallister’s clinical experience focused on adult/older-adult rehabilitation and ergonomics and work injury prevention.  His professional and scholarly interests include best practices in occupational therapy online education; legal, legislative and policy issues related to occupational therapy practice and education; and professional advocacy. He currently serves as an advisor to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Habilitation Policy Workgroup and as Chair of the Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures Committee for the Florida Occupational Therapy Association.


Sherri MontgomerySheri Montgomery, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Associate Professor, Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (PPOTD)

Sheri Montgomery received her post-professional OTD from the University of Utah and her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University- Boston School of Occupational Therapy. She is currently completing a Doctorate in Education from West Florida University with a focus in Curriculum Development and Instructional Design. Practicing since 1980 in Wyoming and Utah, Dr. Montgomery’s clinical experience focused on children and youth, with experience in school, early intervention, outpatient rehab, and inpatient rehab/acute settings. She feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to practice in home health, long-term care, mental health, outpatient rehab, and inpatient rehab/acute settings with adults. Dr. Montgomery’s research and scholarly interests are in professional leadership and adult teaching and learning. Dr. Montgomery has been an active member of multiple state associations, serving in a variety of leadership roles. She has held several leadership roles in AOTA, including Chair of the Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures Committee, member of the Representative Assembly, AOTA Secretary, and Board Director. She is currently a Board Director for the American Occupational Therapy Association.


We are in the process of hiring additional faculty and staff — we expect a team of more than 30 professionals supporting our programs when at full capacity.  Potential faculty members are encouraged to reference our website for current employment searches.