MS Occupational Therapy University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI 2009
BS Occupational Therapy University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI 2000
- Mental Health Needs of Veterans
- Mental Illness and Families
- Group Process
- Careers in Occupational Therapy
Interests & Expertise
Heidi Plach is passionate about improving the lives of people affected by mental illness and helping students emerge into professionals who can make a difference in health care. She has been an occupational therapist since 2000 and has spent her clinical years working in community mental health practice, specializing in advocacy and group occupational therapy.
Since completion of her master’s thesis on the occupational performance needs of young veterans in 2009, she has become a voice for this population in Wisconsin with TV coverage and presentations at national and local conferences. She serves on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Veteran’s Advisory Council to improve the campus environment for student veterans.
Additionally, Plach is enthusiastic about teaching students how to be compassionate, skilled and service-minded clinicians. This is accomplished through positive community relationships, such as Dryhootch, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and various OT clinics.
Other activities in which Plach has engaged are teaching freshmen about health care and adjustment to college life (UWM’s Healthcare LLC) and re-connecting alumni to campus through the CHS Alumni Association.
Haertlein Sells, C. A., Barnekow, K. A., & Plach, H. (2014, April (2nd Quarter/Spring)). Occupational Science and Technology Annual Newsletter.
Plach, H., & Haertlein Sells, C. A. (2013). The occupational performance needs of young veterans. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67, 73-81.
Haertlein Sells, C. A., Stoffel, V. C., & Plach, H. (2011). Substance-related disorders. Brown, C. E., & Stoffel, V. C. (Eds.). , 192-210. Philadelphia/F.A. Davis Company: Occupational therapy in mental health: A vision for participation. (Chapter 15).
Stoffel, V. C., & Plach, H. (November 2016). Building Veteran-Friendly Communities in Higher Education: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a Case Study. Dryhootch Wisconsin Warrior Summit, Milwaukee, WI.
Plach, H. (November 2014). Screening and Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment, 4 hours workshop. MCW, Wauwatosa, WI.
Plach, H. (October 2014). Screening and Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment: Occupational Therapy Practitioners Address Issues of Substance Abuse, 4 hours workshop. Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association Conference, Appleton, WI.
Stoffel, V. C., & Plach, H. (October 2014). Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT): Occupational Therapy Practitioners Address Issues of Substance Abuse. WOTA Annual Conference, Appleton, WI.
Plach, H. (February 2014). Fieldwork in 2014 and beyond. 2 hour presentation to the faculty and staff of OS&T at the curriculum retreat, Milwaukee, WI.
Plach, H. (October 2013). Fieldwork Trends: An open discussion of fieldwork education in today’s changing healthcare climate. Wiscouncil Members- Sue LaCroix lead, .
Plach, H. (August 2013). • Presented at the Pinning Ceremony for the MS of OT graduates. Promoting students to remain active alumni’s and “stay connected”. , .
Plach, H. (April 2013). Occupational Performance Needs of Young Veterans. Medical College of Wisconsin Research Grand Rounds, Milwaukee, WI.
Plach, H. (February 2013). Canadian Occupational Performance Measure and Young Veterans. MATC Milwaukee OTA program, .
Plach, H. (November 2012). • Moderator for student panel and introduction to keynote speaker at “Veteran’s Day Recognition: Bringing it Home”. UWM Student Union, Wisconsin Room, Milwaukee, WI.
Plach, H. (November 2012). Military Veterans and the Contributions of Occupational Therapy to their Well-Being. Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA) Conference, Madison, WI.
Haertlein Sells, C. A., Plach, H., & Stoffel, V. C. (November 2012). Military Veterans and the Contrbutions of Occupational Therapy to Their Well-Being. WOTA Annual Conference, Middleton, WI.
Plach, H. (April 2012). Invisible Wounds of War and Rehab. Zablocki VA Rehabilitation department, Milwaukee, WI.
Plach, H. (November 2011). Veteran’s Day Recognition: Fostering a Connected Campus Community. UWM Union Fireside Lounge for students, veterans, faculty, community members and public officials, .
Plach, H. (October 2011). Invisible Wounds of War and the OT. Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA) Conference, Holiday Inn Convention Center, Stevens Point, WI.
Honors & Awards
Byoung Kim Teaching Excellence Award (2017) College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service (2015) College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“Most outstanding student organization” at UWM (2015) Advisor for Student Occupational Therapy Association.
One of two Occupational Therapists in the state of WI trained and certified in SBIRT, Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment for Substance abuse (2014) .
Accreditation reviewers documented 6 strengths of the UWM OT program, naming one faculty/staff member. “The fieldwork coordinator is commended for her outstanding achievements in developing relationships with both existing and emerging practice fieldwork sites to enhance student and fieldwork supervisor experiences. She received numerous accolades from the faculty, student body and fieldwork supervisors for her tremendous support in developing educational experiences beyond the classroom. She is forward thinking in her plans for the future enhancement of the fieldwork program.” (2013) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“Most outstanding student organization” at UWM (2013) Advisor for Student Occupational Therapy Association, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
First Year Student Success Award (2012) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Served on Veterans Advisory Council Committee to help establish the first Student Military and Veterans Resource Center on campus (2012) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Co-Facilitator for UWM’s 1st annual Veteran’s Day Recognition (2010) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award (2010) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Chancellor’s Graduate Student Award (2008) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Graduate Assistantship (2008) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Graduate Assistantship (2007) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Assisted with development and facilitation of the Peer Health Advocate program (1997) Norris Health Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.