OT Community Mourns the Loss of Dr. Jane Case-Smith

Shawn Roll, PhD, OTR/L, CWCE, RMSK

The OT community has lost a great researcher, educator, leader, mentor, friend, and colleague. Dr. Jane Case-Smith, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA, passed away in her home on July 30. Jane was best known in the occupational therapy community for her contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy interventions for children. Her textbook, Occupational Therapy for Children, has been widely adopted by educational programs for more than 20 years. In addition, Jane served as the editor for the Occupational Therapy Journal of Research (OTJR), contributed to more than 20 book chapters, and had more than 100 peer-reviewed publications throughout her career. Most recently, Jane was selected to give the 21st Annual Vanderkooi Endowed Lectureship at Texas Woman’s University, and she was elected to the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Academy of Research in Occupational Therapy.

Jane’s research focused on the effectiveness of occupational therapy and neurorehabilitation therapies for children with cerebral palsy, as well as the translation of evidence-based practice to occupational therapy services for children with developmental disabilities. Jane directed the Pediatric Rehabilitation Lab at The Ohio State University where she was the site principal investigator for the Multisite Trial of Constraint Induced Movement Therapy for Children with Cerebral Palsy and site PI for the Multisite Trial of Neurorehabilitation Therapies for Infants with Unilateral Cerebral Palsy, both funded by National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD) through 2017. Dr. Case-Smith was also the clinical site principal investigator for a recently published randomized controlled trial of constraint induced movement therapy for preschool-age children that compared the effects of different dosage levels.

Beyond her contributions to education and scholarship, Jane was an extraordinary servant leader and mentor. Jane was professor and chair of the Occupational Therapy Department at The Ohio State University, and during her 24-year tenure at OSU she served on more than 200 graduate thesis or dissertation committees. In 2012, Jane was one of three recipients of the prestigious President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service from The Ohio State University. Jane’s legacy will live on in the thousands of occupational therapists she taught, mentored, and interacted with over the years, as well as the children and clients who have benefited from those who learned from her work. 

Jane and her family have requested that memorial contributions be made to the OT program at The Ohio State University. The Dr. Jane Case-Smith Fund for Occupational Therapy (Fund #314918) has been established, with a plan to convert the fund into an endowment that will provide support the development of leaders in our profession and sustain Jane’s legacy for many years to come.  For those who wish, you can make a contribution in her memory here.

Please join me in sending thoughts and prayers to all of Jane’s family, friends, colleagues, and students. Jane will be missed, but not forgotten.

Shawn C. Roll, PhD, OTR/L, CWCE, RMSK, is Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy; and Director, Musculoskeletal Sonography & Occupational Performance Laboratory at the University of Southern California.