Portrait of Roger Smith

Roger O. Smith, PhD, OT, FAOTA, RESNA Fellow

  • Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy Science, Technology & Rehabilitation
  • Director, Occupational Therapy Program
  • Coordinator, Graduate Program
  • Director, Research Design & Disability Center


Ph D Industrial Engineering/Human Factors & Health Systems University of Wisconsin-Madison 1993
MOT Occupational Therapy / Department of Rehabilitation Medicine University of Washington 1980
BA Psychology / Communications Goshen College 1976

Speaker Topics

  • Accessible Design
  • Assistive Technology
  • Universal Design
  • Bifocals and Falling
  • Outcome Measurement and Disability

Interests & Expertise

Roger O. Smith's research focuses on measurement related to disability and the application of assistive technology and universal design. In measurement, Smith examines assessments to determine their reliability and validity in use. He has created a software-based evaluation system that uses a branching question structure called TTSS (Trichotomous Tailored Sub-branching Scoring.) One component of Smith's current research specifically investigates the utility of the TTSS methodology as embedded in OTFACT software.

Smith also investigates the effectiveness of assistive technology and universal design interventions on the lives of people with disabilities. Currently, Smith directs several federally-funded projects.

Smith has served as primary author and director for more than 30 grant and contract awards of over $8 million of extramural-sponsored research and training programs. These projects have supported many dozens of students in assistive technology training and in research support positions.

Smith is the director of the R2D2 Center which provides an interdisciplinary home for basic research, applied research and development, as well as innovative instruction related to technology and disability.

The R2D2 Center affiliates multiple college/school units in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Currently, key linkages exist with the College of Health Sciences Departments of Occupational Science & Technology and Health Informatics & Administration and the Department of Exceptional Education in the School of Education, the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and components of the campus Office of Information Technology.

A list of current projects at the R2D2 Center can be viewed at the Center’s website at uwm.edu/r2d2/projects/.

Selected Publications

Jahanian, O., Gaglio, A., Cho, C., Muqeet, V., Smith, R. O., Morrow MMB, Hsiao-Wecksler, E. T., & Slavens, B. A. (2022, September). Hand-rim biomechanics during geared manual wheelchair propulsion over different ground conditions in individuals with spinal cord injury. Journal of biomechanics, 142, 111235.
Burns, S. P., Mendonca, R., Pickens, N. D., & Smith, R. O. (2021, August). America’s housing affordability crisis: Perpetuating disparities among people with disability. Disability & Society, 0(0), 1-6.
Park, M., Park, K., Park, J., & Smith, R. O. (2020, August). The Restaurant Accessibility and Task Evaluation Tool: Development and Preliminary Validation. Therapeutic Science for Rehabilitation, 9(3), 35-51.
Layton, N., Bell, D., Buning, M., Chen, S., Contepomi, S., Ramos, V. D., Hoogerwerf, E., Inoue, T., Moon, I., Seymour, N., Smith, R. O., & de Witte, L. (2020, April (2nd Quarter/Spring)). Opening the GATE: systems thinking from the global assistive technology alliance, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.
Gani, M. O., Fayezeen, T., Povinelli, R. J., Smith, R. O., Arif, M., Kattan, A. J., & Ahamed, S. I. (2019, September). A light weight smartphone based human activity recognition system with high accuracy. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, 141, 59-72.
Guard, A., Konz, M., Smith, R. O., Engel, J. M., & Keating, T. (2019, June). The development of an iPad application for the pain assessment of individuals with developmental disabilities and complex communication needs. Assistive Technology.
Smith, R. O., Scherer, M. J., Cooper, R., Bell, D., Hobbs, D. A., Pettersson, C., Seymour, N., Borg, J., Johnson, M. J., Lane, J. P., Sujatha, S., Rao, P., Obiedat, Q. M., MacLachlan, M., & Bauer, S. (2018, July (3rd Quarter/Summer)). Assistive technology products: a position paper from the first global research, innovation, and education on assistive technology (GREAT) summit. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 13(5), 473-485.
Smith, R. O. (2017, November). Technology and Occupation: Past, Present, and the Next 100 Years of Theory and Practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(6), 7106150010p1.
Layton, N. A., Smith, R. O., Cudd, P., Lee, S., & Okigawa, E. (2017, November). From International Assistive Technology Professional Organisations. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 13(3), 323-324.
Schwartz, J. K., & Smith, R. O. (2017, May). Integration of Medication Management Into Occupational Therapy Practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(4), 7104360010p1.
Schwartz, J. K., Grogan, K. A., Mutch, M. J., Nowicki, E. A., Woeflfel, S. A., & Smith, R. O. (2017, October (4th Quarter/Autumn)). Intervention to Improve Medication Management: Qualitative Outcomes From a Phase I Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(6), 7106240010p1.
Burns, S. P., Pickens, N. D., & Smith, R. O. (2017, July (3rd Quarter/Summer)). Interprofessional Client-Centered Reasoning Processes in Home Modification Practice. Journal of Housing For the Elderly, 31(3), 213-228.
Schwartz, J. K., Foster, A., & Smith, R. O. (2017, October (4th Quarter/Autumn)). Effects of Reminder Devices on Medication Adherence—An Assistive Technology Perspective. JAMA Internal Medicine, 177(10), 1540.
Bondoc, S., Gitlow, L., Goodrich, B., & Smith, R. O. (2016, August). Assistive Technology and Occupational Performance. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(Supplement_2), 7012410030p1.
Fiedler, G., Slavens, B. A., O'Connor, K. M., Smith, R. O., & Hafner, B. J. (2016, February). Effects of physical exertion on trans-tibial prosthesis users’ ability to accommodate alignment perturbations. Prosthetics and Orthotics International, 40(1), 75-82.

Honors & Awards

Vanderkooi Endowed Lectureship (2021) Texas Woman's University.
RESNA Appreciation Award (2020) Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of America.
Eleanor Clarke Slagle Award (2017) American Occupational Therapy Association.
Senior Faculty Award (2014) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Foundation.
Dean’s Research Award (2011) College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Lifetime Achievement Award (2011) Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association.
Inducted Academy of Research (2010) American Occupational Therapy Foundation.
Byoung Kim Award for Teaching Excellence (2008) College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Occupational Therapy Alumnus of the Year Award (2006) University of Washington.
Fellow (2004) RESNA, Rehab Engr & Assistive Tech Society of North America.
Dean’s Research Award (2002) College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Dean’s Research Award (1999) School of Allied Health Professions, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Pin Dot Outstanding Paper Award (1997) Journal Assistive Technology, RESNA.
Golden Apple Teaching Award (1996, May) School of Allied Health Professions, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Fellow (1993) American Occupational Therapy Association (FAOTA).

Research Partners

  • Marquette University, Biomedical Engineering, and Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Departments
  • Texas Women’s University
  • Temple University
  • Florida International University
  • Indiana University
  • Medical College of Wisconsin, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Radiology Departments
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Independence First, Milwaukee