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Department of Occupational Therapy

Nancy Baker

Associate Professor and Chair
Sc.D., M.P.H., OT, FAOT

Nancy Baker

Nancy Baker

Associate Professor and Chair
Sc.D., M.P.H., OT, FAOT

Phone 617-627-5562
Collaborative Learning & Innovation Complex (CLIC)
574 Boston Ave, Medford, MA
Education: 
Sc.D., Boston University
M.P.H., University of Pittsburgh
M.S., Boston University
B.S., Tufts University
Expertise: 

Musculoskeletal Health, Ergonomics, Evidence-Base Practice and Knowledge Translation

Research Interests: 

Nancy Baker's research focuses on the musculoskeletal health disorders. Her research reflects a synthesis of preventing work related hand injuries (ergonomics), examining conservative treatments for work-related hand injuries, particularly carpal tunnel syndrome, and treating chronic pain. Her expertise in clinical hand biomechanics has also led to collaborations with others interested in the effect of disability on hand coordination, including glaucoma and rheumatic conditions.

Baker's research is eclectic and uses a variety of tools and techniques to answer her research questions. She has experience with instrument development (Keyboard – Personal Computer Style [K-PeCS); motion capture analysis of upper extremity function; and has completed two randomized clinical trials, one on computer keyboard use, and one comparing conservative treatments of carpal tunnel syndrome. She has developed skills in large dataset analyses and is developing health systems intervention research to improve the care of people with carpal tunnel syndrome. She is developing methods to use Immersive Virtual Reality to treat chronic pain.

From her experiences in work rehabilitation, Baker developed an interest in epidemiology and population level research. She obtained a Master's of Public Health in Epidemiology in 2009, and was a guest researcher at the Centers for Disease Control Division of Population Health: Arthritis, Epilepsy, and Well-Being Branch from 2014 to 2015. She is currently exploring how knowledge translation and implementation science can be used to increase the uptake of evidence-based treatments in occupational therapy.

Selected Honors and Awards: 
  • Academy of Research: American Occupational Therapy Foundation
  • Fellow: American Occupational Therapy Association Roster of Fellows
  • Guest Researcher: CDC Division of Population Health: Arthritis, Epilepsy, and Well-Being Branch (Sabbatical)
  • Service Commendation: American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF)
  • Academic Educator Award: Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA)
  • Ann Kunkel Advocacy Award: Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
  • Visiting Scholar: Center for Rehabilitation Research Using Large Datasets; University of Texas Medical Branch
  • Jeanette Bair’s Writer Award, American Occupational Therapy Association
Selected Professional Activities: 
  • Secretary, American Occupational Therapy Foundation Board of Trustees; 2018 to 2020
  • Associate Editor: Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 2017 to present
  • Editorial Board: The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2004 to present
  • Chair, Experts in Arthritis Task Force. US Bone and Joint Initiative; 2012 to present
  • Peer Reviewer Study Section: Epidemiology, Quality, Health Services, Outcomes, and Health Policy, Rheumatology Research Foundation. 2016 to present
  • Faculty Mentor, Young Investigators Initiative. Sponsored by the US Bone and Joint Initiative and Bone and Joint Decade Canada; 2011 to present
  • AOTA Representative, Disability Prevention and Management Panel to Develop National Treatment Guidelines, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM); 2019 to present
  • CLDR Mentor of Pilot Study Awardees, Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation at University of Texas Medical Branch; 2019 to present
  • Voting Panel Member, ACR Guideline Development Group for National Guidelines related to the Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis; 2018 to present
  • Faculty, Future Scientists Institute, American Occupational Therapy Association/American Occupational Therapy Foundation, 2016 to present
  • Member, ARHP Subcommittees; 2010 to present
Professional Memberships: 
American Occupational Therapy Association
Association of Rheumatology Professionals
World Federation of Occupational Therapy
Massachusetts Occupational Therapy Association
Selected Publications and Presentations: 
  1. Chambers A., Robertson M, Baker NA. The effect of sit-stand desks on office worker behavioral and health outcomes: A scoping review. Applied Ergonomics. 2019;78:37-53. doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2019.01.015
  2. Baker NA, *Feller H, Freburger J. Does insurance coverage affect use of tests and treatments for working age individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome in the United States? Analysis of the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (2005-2014). Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 2019;100:1592-1598. doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2019.03.014
  3. Theis KA, Murphy LB, Baker NA, Hootman, JM. When you can’t walk a mile in your shoes: Walking limitation prevalence and associations among middle-age and older US adults with arthritis: A cross-sectional, population-based study. ACR Open Rheumatology, 2019,1:350-358. doi/full/10.1002/acr2.11046
  4. Bass J, Baker NA. Occupational therapy and public health: Advancing research to improve population health and health equity. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research. 2017, 37(4):175-177. doi: 10.1177/1539449217731665
  5. Baker NA, Stevans J, Terhorst L, Haas A, Kuo Y-F, Al Snih S. What types of treatment are provided for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome? A retrospective analysis of commercial insurance. PM&R. 2018;10:826-835. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2018.02.004
  6. Pure E, Terhorst L, Baker NA. Movement and manual therapy for adults with arthritis: National Health Interview Survey. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2018;37:96-102. doi 0.1016/j.ctim.2018.02.007
  7. Baker NA, Livengood H, Nau AC, Owens G, Chambers AJ, Trout J, Cham R. Effect of central and peripheral vision occlusion on motor performance during hand coordination tasks. IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors. 2017;5(3-4):148-157. doi: 10.1080/24725838.2017.1398691
  8. Baker NA, Barbour K, Helmick C, Zack MM, Al Snih S. Associations between arthritis and change in physical function in U.S. retirees. Journal of Gerontology A: Biological Sciences Medical Sciences. 2017;72(1):127-133. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glw075
  9. Baker NA, Barbour K, Helmick C, Zack M, Al Snih S. Arthritis and cognitive impairment in older adults. International Rheumatology. 2017;37(6):955-961. doi: 10.1007/s00296-017-3698-1
  10. Bove AM, Baker NA, *Livengood H, King V, Mancino J, Popchak A, Fitzgerald K. Task-specific training for adults with chronic knee pain: a case series. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2017;47(8):548-556. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2017.7349
  11. Qin J, Barbour L, Murphy L, Baker NA, Helmick C, Theis K, Schwartz T, Renner J, Nelson A, Allen K, Jordan J. Lifetime risk of symptomatic hand osteoarthritis: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2017;69(6):1204-1212. doi: 10.1002/art.40097
  12. Baker NA, Moehling K, Park SY. The effect of a fixed split-angle keyboard on musculoskeletal discomfort: A randomized cross-over trial. Work. 2015;50(4):677-86. doi: 10.3233/WOR-131797
Teaching/Courses Taught: 
Clinical Reason Seminar IV: Evidence Based Practice (OTS 208)
Clinical Research (OTS 209)