Natalie Leland, PhD, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA

Assistant Professor, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association Designation


  • BS, University of New Hampshire, 2000
  • MS, University of Massachusetts, 2006
  • PhD, University of Massachusetts, 2009


Natalie Leland, PhD, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA, focuses on understanding and improving post-acute care quality for older adults and with a particular interest in how occupational therapy can contribute to fall prevention. Leland is an expert in secondary data analysis and evaluating the impact of health services on quality of care for older adults in post-acute settings.


Leland is an outstanding researcher in gerontology with a focus improving post-acute care services for older adults. Dr. Leland received her BS in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Hampshire and her MS and PhD in Gerontology from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University. Dr. Leland has extensive geriatric clinical experience in a variety of rehabilitation settings.

She has joint faculty appointments in the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the Davis School of Gerontology. Leland holds leadership positions both within occupational therapy and within the broader discipline of gerontology. She was President of the Rhode Island Occupational Therapy Association, currently serves on the Board for Advanced and Specialty Certification (BASC) for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and is on the Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization (ESPO) Executive Committee for the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

Leland’s recent scholarship includes the recent AOTA Clinical Guidelines for productive aging among community-living older adults and trends in access and outcomes of post-acute care for patients post-hip fracture surgery. She has received international attention for her work on falls among new-admitted nursing home patients. She is expert in the use of large, administrative datasets, longitudinal data analysis, and geographic variation in rehabilitation services. Leland has received funding from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as a T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Rehabilitation Research Career Development (RRDC) Program (#5T32HS000011, P.I. Vincent Mor, PhD), and from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NICHD) as a K12 Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program Scholar (K12 HD055929, P.I. Kenneth Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR).


Office Location: CHP 133

Office Phone: (213) 442-1307

Fax: (213) 442-1540