Research Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

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Updated: August 17, 2019
Job ID: 214712
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Location: Bethesda, MD, United States

Join the HJF Team!

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation is seeking a Research Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) for the Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research (CRSR) located at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, MD. HJF provides scientific, technical, and programmatic support services to CRSR.


  1. Shall work under the direction of the Principal Investigator (PI) and Program Manager (PM), with a CRSR research Occupational Therapist (OT) and Research Coordinator to plan, coordinate and administer diverse occupational therapy research programs for wounded, ill, and injured service members and beneficiaries with a wide range of physical and behavioral health diagnoses and disabilities.  Actively involved in the preparation of progressive research treatment plans, utilizing the full range of occupational therapy modalities and the application of extensive judgment, observation, and treatment skills.  Completes required data collection for workload management and analysis and research studies as directed.  
  2. Provides interpretation of OT’s findings to initiate care with consideration to patient’s neurological, surgical, sensory, respiratory cardiac status, gait ability, posture, age, and general health.  In consultation with the research team and the participants clinic treatment team (as appropriate), makes determinations about a patient’s suitability for inclusion in clinical trials. Uses problem-solving skills to make recommendations for the use of various occupational therapy modalities as prescribed to include but not limited to, physical modalities, adaptive equipment, splinting, and assistive technology to safely and effectively provide intervention plans.
  3. Shall assist in formulation of studies aimed at rehabilitation of people who are experiencing symptoms related to limb-loss, brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other physical and mental health diagnoses to restore and maintain maximum range of motion, strength, endurance, coordination, and relaxation.  Ensures designated treatment plan, maximizes results in promotion of healing and pain relief while ultimately improving the patient’s functional independence.  Provides instruction to patients and family members on use of physical modalities and/or adaptive equipment needs for home environment.  Reviews all home program therapeutic precautions and contraindications with the patient and family.  Provides instruction to patients in a variety of exercise programs, functional activity, and activities of daily living to optimize independent living skills as outlined by each research protocol.  In the clinic environment, exercises responsibility for the comfort and well-being of the patients.  
  4. COTA shall, in addition to determining treatment objectives, judge whether the treatment is causing an adverse effect on other conditions not under treatment.  Tracks impact of procedures’ effects on patients, long and short-term effects of different types of therapy, and appropriateness of a specific therapy, noting overall trends in efficacy, reporting problems to the PI, Research Coordinator, and research regulatory bodies as appropriate.  
  5. The COTA shall document information related to all patient’s care in accordance with guidelines from the American Occupational Therapy Association, The Joint Commission, current military protocols, study protocol guidelines, HIPAA, and as instructed by supervisor.  
  6. The COTA shall collaborate with the interdisciplinary team to make recommendations for the patient’s rehabilitation and reintegration needs. This may include attending team meetings with the participant, the participant’s family, other healthcare providers, and members of the interdisciplinary team.  
  7. The COTA shall work with the PI, PM, Research Coordinator, and other members of the research team to evaluate and interpret results of research data collection. The COTA shall use their clinical knowledge to assist in dissemination of these findings through presentations at scientific meetings and publications in peer-reviewed journals. 
  8. The COTA shall master new techniques and modality proficiency by studying current literature and conducting required research.  Attends lectures, meetings, and conferences providing subject expertise when required.
  9. Provides clinical expertise/information to the study team, including the PIs, Program Manager, Research Coordinators and Research Assistants, as needed.
  10. Participates in all regulatory requirements for the conduct of research at WRNMMC, including assisting the team with protocol submissions and modifications on eIRB and helping prepare for audits.
  11. The COTA shall perform other research and clinical related duties as needed in accordance with guidance from the research team and WRNMMC/HJF regulations. 

Minimum Education: Must be a graduate of a school of Occupational Therapy Assistant approved by the appropriate State agency and/or accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Accrediting Commission at the time the program was completed. Exceptions to above education: Healthcare education in the military service or training in the military service which is accepted by the licensing body in the jurisdiction in which the individual is licensed as qualifying for full certified COTA licensure will be accepted. Contractor personnel shall be required to meet Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements in Army Regulation 351-3 (AR 351-3) or as determined by the provider’s State of licensure, whichever is more stringent. The Government will not reimburse for these costs. Candidate will require documentation of certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) certification and or licensed.

Minimum Experience: 0 to 2 years of experience.

Certifications/Licenses: Possess and maintain a current unrestricted license to practice as an Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) in Maryland. Have and maintain a current Occupational Therapy Assistant certification within ten weeks of the first (1st) option year.  Have and maintain current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification from the American Red Cross. 

Background: US Citizenship required; eligibility to obtain and hold Department of Defense issued Secret Clearance.

Employment with HJF is contingent upon successful completion of a background check, which may include, but is not limited to, contacting your professional references, verification of previous employment, addresses, education, and credentials, a criminal background check, drug screening, and a department of motor vehicle (DMV) check.  

HJF is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

Any qualifications to be considered as equivalents, in lieu of stated minimums, require the prior approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer.