Adeola (Toni) Solaru, OTD, MSOT, OTR/L, QMHP

  • Assistant Clinical Professor, Programs in Occupational Therapy, Sciences and Technology


OTD, Occupational Therapy, Columbia University, 2023
MS, Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017
BS, Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, 2014

Speaker Topics

  • Cultural Humility in Clinical Practice
  • Recruitment & Retention of Underrepresented Students into OT
  • Occupational and Social Justice
  • Community-Based Mental Health

Interests & Expertise

Toni Solaru is a community-based mental health occupational therapist working in Chicago, IL. Additionally, Solaru is the co-founder and Chair of Diverse-OT National, a national organization dedicated to advancing the cultural climate within the occupational therapy profession and strives to foster a strong community of critically reflexive occupational therapists and students. Solaru received their Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and is currently completing their occupational therapy doctorate at Columbia University. The focus of their doctoral work is creating an assessment tool that aims to center the lived experiences of community-dwelling adults diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Solaru is passionate about delivering high-quality and client-centered services, health equity and justice, and enjoys assisting clients achieve their personal goals.

Selected Publications

Rhoten, C., & Solaru, A. (2023, April). Retention of OT students of color: Examining experiences of occupational justice in entry-level programs. Short course prepared for the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference, Kansas City, MO.

Solaru, A, Donovan, C., Mendonca, R. (2023, April). Lived experiences of community-dwelling adults with serious mental illnesses related to mental health services: An exploratory study. Poster session prepared for the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference., Kansas City, MO.

Solaru, A, Donovan, C., Mendonca, R. (2022, December). Understanding the needs of community-dwelling adults who rely on community-based mental health services. Poster session prepared for the American Occupational Association Mental Health Specialty Conference, Columbus, OH.

Solaru, A & Rhoten, C. (2022, August). Learning to practice with cultural humility. Short oral presentation for the World Federation of Occupational Therapy Congress, Paris, France.

Solaru, A., & Ishmael, B. (2021, December). Discussing the importance of cultural awareness and cultural humility to improve cross-cultural interactions. Presented at the Janet Falk-Kessler Distinguished Lectureship and Day of Scholarship at Columbia University, New York City, NY.

Solaru, A. (2021, August). OT Voices: Rethinking and rewiring our thoughts about injustice. Featured speaker presented at the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association’s JEDI series, Chicago, IL.

Solaru, A. (2019, October.). Diverse-OT: A student organization dedicated to equity and inclusion. Plenary session presented at The Ohio State University College of Medicine’s Fall Educational Symposium, Columbus, OH.

Daleccio, M., Conrad, C., Pickett, K., Travers, B., Rhoten, C., & Solaru, A. (2019, April.) Diverse-OT: Pathways for underrepresented students to pursue OT. Poster session presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Rhoten, C., Solaru, A., Conrad, C., Daleccio, M., Jeglum, N., Lowen, B., & Alter, S. (2018, April). Diverse-OT: The development of a student organization to enhance diversity in occupational therapy. Poster session presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference, Salt Lake City, UT.

Honors & Awards

Occupational Therapy Association of Nigeria (OTAN)
Occupational Therapy Africa Regional Group (OTARG)