Fellowship Program Mission

The mission of the UNC Health Occupational Therapy Mental Health Fellowship Program is to provide a collaborative, translational experience to advance the knowledge, skills and abilities of occupational therapists specializing in mental health care to meet the health and wellness needs of the people of North Carolina and beyond.


The fellowship mentors follow the principles of Adult Learning Theory - andragogy (Knowles, 1984). Andragogy emphasizes that learners must be active and involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction. Adult learning is most effective through experiential learning where the learner engages in problem-centered rather than content- oriented learning. The theory also emphasizes that adults bring many experiences to the learning situation, which are harnessed as resources for person-centered learning. The fellowship mentors and faculty are committed to developing fellows who are recognized leaders within their specialty area of mental health care.

The core values of the fellowship program are reflected in the mission of UNC Health of becoming the nation’s leading public academic medical center by developing high-quality leaders, teachers, and caregivers.

Program Structure

The UNC Health Occupational Therapy Mental Health Fellowship Program curriculum is designed to increase the breadth and depth of knowledge, skill, and application of occupational therapy in mental health service provision.

Fellows will develop excellence in evaluation, intervention, consultation, advocacy, teaching and the integration of current evidence into the patient care they provide. They will contribute to the profession through teaching, writing, advocacy and leadership.

The UNC Health Occupational Health Mental Health Fellowship is a 12-month program that starts in January. The fellow is a full-time employee (with competitive salary and benefits) who works three days per week providing direct patient care and participates in didactic instruction and mentor time two days a week. Additionally the fellow completes weekly learning activities in a mixed format (reading, researching, discussion, observation, online posts and teaching). Additionally, the fellow covers holidays and receives 10 paid time off days.

Didactic work is organized into learning modules spanning the 12-month fellowship:

  • 6-8 week focused learning: Orientation and Systems, Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations, Older Adults, Adults, Adolescents, Pediatrics, Academic Teaching, Clinical Education and Elective
  • Continuous learning: Research, Advocacy, Interdisciplinary Learning and Leadership

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the fellowship program the fellow will:

  • Meet competencies set forth from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) as essential skills.
  • Be eligible for fast track candidacy in the AOTA Board Certification in Mental Health.
  • Have successfully submitted a presentation to the North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association (NCOTA) Fall conference

Information on Student Affiliations

Rehabilitation Therapies, Therapy Services Educators
Kristel Maes, PT, DPT
Amber Corbin, MA, CCC-SLP
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