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Andrea D. Fairman, PhD, OTR/L CPRP

Assistant Professor
Rangos School of Health Sciences
Occupational Therapy

Rangos 226
Phone: 412.396.4216


Ph.D., Rehabilitation Science, University of Pittsburgh
M.S., Occupational Therapy, Duquesne University
B.S., Health Sciences, Duquesne University

Education: Dr. Fairman earned her Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences and Masters of Occupational Therapy from Duquesne University, and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science with Certificate in Assistive Technology from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Clinical Background: Andrea began her career working in human services and community mental health before she became an occupational therapist. She was one of the first 100 persons in the world to take the certification exam to become a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP). Over the past 13 years, Andrea has practiced occupational therapy in a wide variety of treatment settings including: home health, school-based services, inpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities. More recent clinical and research interests have been focused on Assistive Technology (AT) and telehealth for persons with disabilities and chronic conditions.

Personal Profile: I enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities such as biking, running, gardening and spend as much time outside as possible. My daughter, Victoria, will be starting the Pharmacy program at Duquesne in 2014. My other "child" is a pit bull rescue named "Bubba," whom I have quite thoroughly spoiled.


• 2010 BIG IDEA Competition - New Product Idea through the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence

• 2009 SHRS Poster Competition - Won 1st place with Jamie Schutte for non-research poster "Wii-Hab" student community outreach activity to promote exercise and socialization for persons with developmental disabilities

• 2008-2009 Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Scholarship,
University of Pittsburgh, Rehabilitation Science & Technology Department - National Science
Foundation's flagship interdisciplinary training program, educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers by building on the foundations of their disciplinary knowledge with interdisciplinary training.


Teaching Philosophy: My teaching philosophy aligns with occupational therapy practice in that people "learn by doing." I strive to include experiential opportunities in every class that I teach. Many of the skills which enable students to become great therapists do not evolve from reading and memorizing information. The best lessons are acquired from applying information to real-life situations and learning from interactions with others.

DU Courses Taught:

OCCT 150: OT Orientation
OCCT 518: Humans, Groups & Occupations / Lab
OCCT 525: Psychosocial Function / Lab
0HLTH 530: Principles of Research
OCCT 550: Environmental Adaptation and Rehabilitation Technology
OCCT 574: Fieldwork Proposal
OCCT 610-612: Research Project I, II, III


Dr. Fairman's research interests include: assistive technology to support persons with cognitive deficits, mHealth systems to promote self-management and wellness in persons with chronic conditions, behavioral interventions and strategies including gamification, virtual rewards and social supports. Dr. Fairman is one of the inventors of the innovative mobile health (mHealth) system called iMHere (Interactive Mobile Health and rehabilitation) aimed at improving self-management skills and preventing and detecting secondary medical complications. She is also currently pursing commercialization of the iMHere system.

Current Funded Research:
Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
Dr. Fairman is a Co-Investigator on this project with the overall goal to further develop and test mobile health (mHealth) tools to support self-management and aid youth with brain and spinal anomalies (BSA) in their transition to adulthood.

Funding Source: Craig H. Neilsen Foundation
Dr. Fairman is a consultant on this project which will translate use of the iMHere mHealth system to support persons with spinal cord injuries.

Funding Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Small Business Innovation Research Grant
Dr. Fairman is a Co-Investigator on this project which aims to refine the application of the mHealth system called iMHere.

Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Co-Investigator on subtask: "Telerehabilitation Enhanced Wellness Program for Spina Bifida" Link: http://www.rerctr.pitt.edu/Projects/R3.html
This research center develops methods, systems, and technologies that support consultative, preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions and address the barriers to successful telerehabilitation for individuals who have limited local access to comprehensive medical and rehabilitation outpatient services. We propose research and development activities addressing cognitive and vocational rehabilitation, communication technology assessment and training, telerehabilitation infrastructure, and prevention and management of secondary conditions.

Current Unfunded Research Projects:
Normative data collection for the Standardized Touchscreen Assessment of Cognition (STAC)
Mobile Technology Strategies to Support Health & Wellness in Persons with Developmental Disabilities
Mobile Technology Strategies to Support Vocational Skills in Persons with Developmental Disabilities


Recent Publications (last 5 years)
Peer-Reviewed Journals:

Dicianno, B.E., Parmanto, B., Fairman, A.D., Crytzer, T.M., Yu, D.X., Pramana, G., Coughenour, D. & Petrazzi, A.A. (2014). Perspectives on the evolution of mobile (mHealth) technologies and application to rehabilitation. Physical Therapy, 94(10) 1-9.

Parmanto, B., Pramana, I.W., Yu, D.X., Fairman, A.D., Dicianno, B.E. & McCue, M.P. (2013). iMHere: A Novel mHealth System for Supporting Self-Care in Management of Complex and Chronic Conditions. Journal of Medical Internet Research Mhealth Uhealth. 1(2):e10, 1-16. doi:10.2196/mhealth.2391 http://mhealth.jmir.org/2013/2/e10/

Fairman, A.D., Dicianno, B.E., Datt, N., Garver, A., Parmanto, B. & McCue, M.P. (2013) Survey outcomes of clinicians, family members and adults with spina bifida regarding use of mHealth applications to promote self-management. International Journal of Telerehabilitation. 5 (10), 3-16. http://telerehab.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/Telerehab/article/view/6116

Crytzer, T.M., Dicianno, B.E., & Fairman, A.D. (2013). Effectiveness of an upper extremity exercise device and text message reminders to exercise in adults with spina bifida: A pilot study. Assistive Technology. 25(4), 181-193. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10400435.2012.747572#.Uu5nMXQo74g

American Occupational Therapy Association (2010c). Telerehabilitation position paper. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 64, S92-S102. (Authors: Schmeler, M.R., Schein, R.M., Fairman, A.D., Bricker, A., & Mann, W.C.)

Fairman, A.D., Thibadeau, J., Dicianno, B.E., & Parmanto, B. (2010). Implementing a specialty electronic medical record to document a life course developmental model and facilitate clinical Interventions in spina bifida clinics. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 57(4); 959-971. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031395510001069

Zabel, T.A., Fairman, A.D. & Linroth, R. (2010). The Preparations website: an online transition-focused resource for the Spina Bifida community. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 57(4); 911-917. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031395510001021

Dicianno, B.E., Fairman, A.D., Juengst, S.B., Braun, P.G., & Zabel, T.A. (2010). Utilizing The Spina Bifida Lifecourse Model in Clinical Practice: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 57(4); 945-957. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031395510001057

McCue, M.P., Fairman, A.D. & Pramuka, M. (2010). Enhancing quality of life through telerehabilitation. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 21, 195-205. http://www.pmr.theclinics.com/article/S1047-9651(09)00059-X/abstract

Saptano, A., Schein, R. M., Parmanto, B. & Fairman, A.D. (2009). Methodology for analyzing and developing information management infrastructure to support telerehabilitation. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 1(1), 39-46. http://telerehab.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/Telerehab/article/view/6012

McCue, M.P., Lopresti, E.F., Hodgins, J. & Fairman, A.D. (2009). Using consumer input to develop telerehabilitation applications for vocational rehabilitation. Telemedicine Journal and e-Health, 15, 53-54.


Dicianno, B.E., Peele, P., Lovelace, J., Fairman, A.D., Smyers, D., Halgas, M., Burkholder, K., & Boninger, M.L. (2013). Specialty medical homes and wellness services in congenital and acquired spinal cord injury. American Medical Group Association Compendium of Chronic Care Practices.

Fairman, A.D. (2013). Developing self-management skills in persons with spina bifida through mHealth applications: Design and clinical efficacy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/18582/

Fairman, A.D. (2012). "Ask the Expert: Tips for Adults Assistive Technology for Improved Self-Care." Insights- Magazine published nationally by the Spina Bifida Association. http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/site/c.evKRI7OXIoJ8H/b.8031517/apps/s/content.asp?ct=12059313



6-13-14 Rehabilitation Engineering and Research Center on Telerehabilitation,
State of the Science Conference
"Telerehabilitation Enhanced Wellness Program for Spina Bifida"
Presenters: Andrea Fairman & Brad Dicianno

Virtual Conference Link: http://www.rerctr.pitt.edu/sos/index.html#AgendaDay01
3-17-09 First World Congress on Spina Bifida Research & Care, Orlando, Florida
"Preparation for Adult Participation" Presentation in conjunction with the CDC
Presenters: Andrea Fairman, Ronna Linroth & Andrew Zabel


4-5-14 American Occupational Therapy Association, Baltimore, MD
Research Presentation: "Developing Self-Management Skills in Persons with Spina Bifida via mHealth Applications: Clinical Efficacy Study" Presenter: Andrea Fairman

4-4-14 American Occupational Therapy Association, Baltimore, MD
Poster: "Qualitative Experiences of Persons with Spina Bifida in a mHealth Wellness Program"
Presenters: Andrea Fairman, Rachel Horgan & Megan Rindfuss

5-6-13 American Telemedicine Association Annual International Meeting & Exposition, Austin, TX
e-Poster: "Clinical Considerations in Developing a mHealth System to Support Self-Management"
Presenter: Andrea Fairman,*ATA published conference proceedings http://www.americantelemed.org/ata-2013/educational-program/scientific-eposters#.U6LPPfldWXE

4-26-13 American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA
Short Course: "Clinical Applications of Telehealth Technologies for Health and Wellness Services in OT"
Presenters: Tammy Richmond, Andrea Fairman & Kathleen Lyons

6-25-11 Spina Bifida Association National Annual Conference, Anaheim, CA
Technology to Improve Self-Management of Spina Bifida: for Healthcare Professionals
Presenters: Andrea Fairman & Brad Dicianno

5-2-11 American Telemedicine Association Annual International Meeting & Exposition, Tampa, FL
"Usability Testing of Smartphone Apps for Spina Bifida: Clinical Perspectives"
Presenter: Andrea Fairman,*ATA published conference proceedings

6-30-10 Spina Bifida Association National Annual Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio
"Increasing Physical Fitness and Motivation through Exercise Using the GameCycleTM
Presenters: Theresa Crytzer, Brad Dicianno & Andrea Fairman

6-29-10 Spina Bifida Association National Annual Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio
"Building a Bridge to the Next Generation" (Adult Transition)
"Exploring New Frontiers" (Teen Transition)
"The Voyage to the Future Begins" (Youth Transition)
Presenters: Andrea Fairman, Ronna Linroth & T. Andrew Zabel

7-3-09 Spina Bifida Association National Annual Conference, Orlando, Florida
"Model for Transition - Employment & Income Support"
Presenters: Andrea Fairman & Mark Swanson, MD of the CDC

6-25-09 RESNA Annual Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana
"Motion Recognition System for Remote Vocational Support" Poster Presentation
Andrea Fairman, Michael McCue, Edmund F. LoPresti, Jessica Hodgins, & Adam Bargteil

11-9-13 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA
Presentation: "Ready for Change? Transitioning to New Practice Settings"
Presenter: Andrea Fairman, Elizabeth DeIuliis & Jennifer Bateson

9-29-12 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Lancaster, PA
Presentation: "The OT Entrepreneur: Concept to Commercialization"
Presenters: Andrea Fairman & Ivelisse Lazzarini

10-28-11 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Erie, PA
"Assistive Technology for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities"
Presenters: Andrea Fairman & Jamie Schutte

10-23-10 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Scranton, PA
"Overview of Current Practice in Telerehabilitation"
Presenter: Andrea Fairman (contributors: Nancy Baker, Karen Jacobs & Rich Schein)

5-21-13 Austill's Rehabilitation Services, Inc. - In Service Presentation
In-Service: Use of Mobile Applications in the School and Community Settings
Presenter: Andrea Fairman

8-16-12 Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Great Works Symposium on "Perspectives on Disability",
Guest Lecture: "Assistive Technology: Research & Development"
Guest Speakers: Michael Glaser, Andrea Fairman, PIAT Representatives

10-6-10 Science 2010 - Technology Showcase, Pittsburgh, PA
"TeleWellness Support Systems"
Presenters: Brad Dicianno & Andrea Fairman