Faculty Spotlight: Claire M. Mulry, OTD, OTR, CAPS, FAOTA
Chairperson for the Kean University Department of Occupational and Associate Professor

October 2023

Carmen Cicero

From murals to meals, classrooms to community, Dr. Claire Mulry’s dedication to and passion for her Occupational Therapy students at Kean University, as well as older adults in the community, are hard to match.

Dr. Claire M. Mulry (she/her/hers) is the 8th Chairperson of Kean University’s Department of Occupational Therapy. She has been a practicing occupational therapist for over 27 years. Dr. Mulry received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University in 1988 and her Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Occupational Therapy from Kean College in 1997. She received her Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) from the National Association of Home Builders in 2009 and her Post Professional Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac University in 2010. Dr. Mulry earned her Post Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) from Thomas Jefferson University’s School of Health Professions in 2012. She was awarded the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Roster of Fellows Award (FAOTA) in 2021.

Dr. Mulry’s passion is to promote participation and engagement in meaningful occupations for all. Her research interests include aging an participation, acquired brain injury, inter-professional care and program development. Dr. Mulry has received outside grants totaling more than $2,000,000 from the New Jersey Building Our Future Bond Initiative, AARP Community Challenge, AARP New Jersey and Roselle Senior Housing. She has received Kean University grants including the Quality First Initiative Grant in 2017-2018, Students Partnering with Faculty Grant (SpF) in 2016 2017 and Foundation Faculty Research Awards in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Dr. Mulry and a team of student researchers implemented her Let’s Go Program to promote community mobility for older adults in seven urban residences and in the community for clients living with chronic mental health concerns.

Currently, Dr. Mulry is launching a new initiative entitled “Resilience Through Relationships and Recipes” thanks to the generous support from the Grotta Fund for Older Adults. Resilience through Relationship and Recipes is a collaboration between Kean University’s Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) and the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth (HACE). This project creates new and innovative pilot programming to increase health and quality of life for older adult residents of HACE by helping them reengage in social participation through intergenerational community building. It targets multiple goals, social connectedness, increased health and quality of life.

Dr. Mulry has also been the recipient of the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association’s President’s Award (2014), Award of Merit (2014), Service Award (2014, 2012, 2010) and Nathan Weiss Graduate College Excellence in Graduate Faculty Award (2016). Her occupational roles, in addition to OT, OT educator and citizen, include wife, dog mom, sister, friend, aunt and Grauntie. Dr. Mulry’s leisure pursuits include hiking, reading, board games, roller coasters, music and concerts and theater, as well as being an avid Mets fan.