Johns Hopkins Mental Health Occupational Therapy Fellowship

The fellowship program enables the completion of professional milestones in just one year, which may take several years to attain. It aligns with the AOTA Standards for continuing competence, emphasizing knowledge, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, performance abilities and ethical behavior. The program prepares fellows for career advancement, surpassing the level of their peers who are not board certified. As a Johns Hopkins Health System employee, fellows receive a salary and full-time employee benefits, including medical and paid time off.

Duration: 12 months
Accreditation: AOTA Approved
Application open: January 1, 2024
Application deadline: February 29, 2024
Admission decision: April
Program start: July
View program flyer


Please click the pay application link to pay the supplementary application fee. Application will not be processed until the fee is received and application is complete. All fees are non-refundable.

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I was fortunate to work with a variety of mentors. Each of them offered guidance and direction regarding treatment interventions, group dynamics and evaluation measures. They challenged me to expand my knowledge while respecting and fostering my skill set to provide advanced clinical practice.

Joanna Lackner, class of 2018

Eligibility Criteria

  • Graduate from an ACOTE-Accredited occupational therapy program
  • Occupational therapy license in Maryland
  • AHA CPR certification
  • AOTA membership
  • Please note that we are unable to sponsor visas for international applicants

Fellowship Program Goals

  1. Foster an inquiry-based and experience-based opportunity to increase an entry-level clinician’s knowledge base and skills to incorporate the values and attitudes necessary to be an advanced practitioner successfully.
  2. Provide clinical and didactic experiences along multiple service lines to progress the fellow’s clinical practice and clinical reasoning skills in the specialized mental health service delivery area, as evidenced by the successful completion of an outcome-oriented curriculum.
  3. Embrace the mission of Johns Hopkins Medicine as an outstanding academic medical institution and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation by providing high-quality, evidence-based care.
  4. Provide ongoing clinical mentoring based upon practice analysis, adult learning theory and active learning strategies and principles to promote the fellow’s intentional engagement throughout the program.
  5. Afford the fellow with opportunities to participate in advocacy efforts, outreach and education of others and participation in research and quality improvement projects.
  6. Expect the fellow to comply with existing ethical standards of practice, become knowledgeable in local, state and federal laws and regulations that impact service delivery, and demonstrate professional behaviors consistent with those of an advanced professional in mental health.

Fellowship Program Features

  • Specialized mental health knowledge and skills
  • Advanced clinical practice throughout care continuum
  • Delivery of evidence-based, high-quality services
  • Opportunities for advocacy, teaching and mentorship
  • Involvement in research or quality improvement projects

Covered clinical service areas (across inpatient, outpatient and day-hospital settings): general psychiatry, schizophrenia, adult and adolescent/young adult mood disorders, child and adolescence, geriatrics, motivated behaviors, pain treatment and eating disorders and exposure to the behavioral health occupational therapy-medical consult service.

Our Alumni's Achievements

  • Improving clinical practice models in existing programs
  • Achieving AOTA board certification in mental health
  • Establishing innovative occupational therapy clinical programs
  • Securing advanced and leadership therapy positions
  • Presenting at local, state and national conferences
  • Instructing mental health curriculum in higher education institutions
  • Publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals

Fellowship Director

Bobby Walsh, DBH, OTR/L, BCMH

2016 Fellowship Alumnus
Email: [email protected]

headshot of Bobby Walsh

Fellowship Alumni

Grace Hart, OTR/L | Class of 2022

Undergraduate school: The Ohio State University, bachelor’s in early and middle childhood education
Graduate school: Lenoir-Rhyne University, master's in occupational therapy
Hometown: Dublin, Ohio
Professional interests: forensic psychiatry, occupational justice, pediatric mental health
Why I chose Johns Hopkins: I was drawn to the fellowship for the opportunity to observe and practice in multiple service areas within the field of mental health occupational therapy and to increase my knowledge of assessment and treatment specific to each service area. I chose Johns Hopkins for the opportunity to develop my clinical knowledge and skillset as a therapist while learning from some of the best therapists in the field of mental health OT. The hospital's reputation for excellence in patient-centered care and for the development and use of evidence-based practice were additional aspects that led me to choose Johns Hopkins.
What I like about Baltimore: I love the parks in the city and running along the promenade by the water. Baltimore is a very walkable city and I love starting my morning with a walk to work and ending the day with a walk to dinner.

headshot of Grace Hart

Katy Schmidt, OTD, OTR/L | Class of 2021

Undergraduate school: Belmont University, bachelor’s in psychological science and bachelor's of music in music performance
Graduate school: Belmont University, doctorate of occupational therapy
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Professional interests: chronic pain, substance use disorders, mental health in the criminal justice system, mental health in schools, evidence-based practice
Why I chose Johns Hopkins: I chose this fellowship at Johns Hopkins because it offers clinical experiences in a variety of psychiatric services at a world-renowned hospital. In addition, the program includes mentorship from multiple specialists in the field of mental health occupational therapy. This fellowship and its diverse assortment of educational opportunities will certainly support my professional goals of promoting mental wellness through clinical excellence, program development, research and education.
What I like about Baltimore: Baltimore has a vibrant culture, rich with history, architecture, art, music, and food. I love getting to know the unique characters of the various neighborhoods.

headshot of Katy Schmidt

Samantha Susson, OTR/L | Class of 2020

Undergraduate school: University of Delaware, bachelor’s in health studies
Graduate school: Thomas Jefferson University, master’s in occupational therapy
Hometown: Voorhees Township, New Jersey
Professional interests: community-based practice for people with serious mental illnesses
Why I chose Johns Hopkins: I chose Johns Hopkins because of the ability to see multiple areas of psychiatry, and the way that assessment and intervention strategies differ based on someone’s diagnosis and the opportunity to be mentored by many clinicians who are working at the top of our field.
What I like about Baltimore: I love the pathway around the harbor where you can see the boats sailing on the water, and that there are so many great parks to be in nature both within the city and close by.

headshot of Samantha Susson

Kelsey Nicks, OTR/L | Class of 2019

Undergraduate school: Northern Arizona University; bachelor’s in psychology
Graduate school: California State University, Dominguez Hills; master's in occupational therapy
Hometown: Monterey, California
Professional interests: reducing the mental health stigma, children and adolescents, prevention and community-based mental health, advocacy for mental health/occupational therapy, program development
Why I chose Johns Hopkins: I chose Johns Hopkins because it is a leading innovator in the healthcare industry and I wanted to be a part of a team and organization that prioritizes client-centered care, evidenced-based practice and motivates me to be better. I was previously doing program development for a community-based facility as the only occupational therapist and I wanted to enhance, expand and solidify my knowledge and experience as an advanced occupational therapy mental health practitioner, thus I looked to Johns Hopkins to bridge the gaps in my professional endeavors. Furthermore, I was seeking mentorship as I strongly believe that surrounding oneself with like-minded individuals is a sure way to reach goals and challenge capabilities.
What I like about Baltimore: I have only been here three weeks, but when I visited I fell in love with the cobblestone roads, the historic and artsy feel, the down-to-earth people, and all the red brick!

headshot of Kelsey Nicks

Joanna Lackner, OTR/L | Class of 2018

Read Q&A with Joanna about her fellowship experience.
Undergraduate school: University of Minnesota; bachelor’s in psychology
Graduate school: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, master's in occupational therapy
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Professional interests: affective disorders, pediatric mental health
Why I chose Johns Hopkins: This well-designed fellowship focuses on mentorship and excellence in evidence-based practice. The program provides a diverse collection of educational experiences, including opportunities to attend didactic lectures within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, advocate to further our profession at the state and national levels, and receive personalized mentorship throughout each of the eight service line rotations.
What I like about Baltimore: Baltimore is a city filled with history and culture — there’s always something to do in one of the city’s great neighborhoods. Baltimore is also within driving distance of many great destinations such as D.C., Philadelphia and the Eastern Shore.

headshot of Joanna Lackner

Elizabeth Duggan, OTR/L | Class of 2017

Undergraduate school: State University of New York at New Paltz in New Paltz, NY; bachelor’s in visual arts education and bachelor’s of fine arts in photography
Graduate school: University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA; MOT in occupational therapy
Hometown: East Amherst, New York

photo coming soon

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