Former Occupational Therapy Chair earns "emerita" status

Susan Esdaile, PhD, has earned the appointment of Emerita Professor from Wayne State University (WSU).  Dr. Esdaile served as professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) from 1995 to 2000 and continued as professor until her retirement in 2003 from the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (EACPHS).

She was awarded the honor in early 2013, prior to her death on May 11. “I know Susan was looking forward with pride to her emeritus appointment,” said Howard J. Normile, associate dean for health sciences. “I’m very pleased she received official notification of her appointment before her untimely passing.”

“Dr. Esdaile achieved impressive levels of excellence in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service,” said Doreen Head, interim chair of the Department of Health Care Sciences and program director for Occupational Therapy. “I am pleased that she was aware of this honor and our appreciation for her exceptional contributions.”

As chair, Dr. Esdaile maintained the department’s accreditation with state and professional organizations and a high past rate (95-98 percent) for graduating OT students taking the national registration exam. “She was responsible for bringing more focus on-evidence based practice and upgrading the senior research class when the transition to the master of occupational therapy degree occurred,” Head said. “She also developed the original collaborative arrangements with the WSU College of Engineering, which has proved productive for both occupational therapy students and faculty to this day.”

During her professional career, Dr. Esdaile had more than 20 peer-reviewed papers published, 12 book chapters and more than 30 conference presentations and papers completed.  “She was a valuable mentor to the OT faculty,” said Head. Dr. Esdaile organized a series of faculty development workshop and made expert mentoring available to foster faculty scholarship development.

Her service to Wayne State was extensive. She served on numerous committees and working parties. These included the Institutes of Gerontology and the Detroit Medical Center. Her contributions to the OT profession included international and national service. Dr. Esdaile also acted as a Convener of the Qualitative Research Exchange for the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, which is a significant scholarship service to the OT Profession.   
Following her retirement, Dr. Esdaile returned to her home in Victoria, Australia. In 2006, she was appointed adjunct professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University. Dr. Esdaile earned a doctor of philosophy degree in educational and behavioral health sciences from LaTrobe University, Dundoora, Victoria; master’s degree in education from Melbourne College of Advanced Education; bachelor of applied science in occupational therapy from the Victorian Institute of Colleges in Melbourne; and diploma of occupational therapy from Occupational Therapy Training Center in Sydney.

“Susan was a very unique, creative individual who always was thinking of others before herself. She will be greatly missed as a friend and colleague,” said David J.P. Bassett, professor in the WSU School of Medicine.

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is committed to advancing the health and well-being of society by preparing highly skilled health care practitioners and conducting groundbreaking research to improve models of practice and methods of treatment in pharmacy and the health sciences.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.

June 10, 2013

Media Contact: Kathleen J. Karas
Phone: (313) 577-2312

Return to news
150 years in the heart of Detroit