The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is preparing to launch an entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) clinical doctorate.

Student assisting patientThis exciting new program is designed to inspire learning and transformational knowledge for:

  • Competency in clinical practice
  • Administration
  • Advocacy
  • Educational advancement
  • Research

Classroom, hands on and active learning plus three OT labs will promote learning opportunities and professional growth along with other OTD students and faculty.

The Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at the University of the Incarnate Word is pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), the program expects to recruit its first cohort in August of 2023.

male student helping patientThe Doctor of Occupational Therapy program will demonstrate UIW’s core values through:

Education: scholarship, lifelong learning, evidence-based practice, education, competency, and research through advocacy on behalf of the OT profession, and the public.

Truth: Truth in communication and research, honesty, reliability and ethical practices in serving the needs of others.

Faith: Mutual understanding, self-realization and the common good.

Service: Global perspective, social justice/occupational justice, inclusion, diversity and equity - maximizes health, well-being and quality of life for all people, populations and communities.

Innovation: Technology, spiritual and material needs of people.

Learn More About UIW and the School of Physical Therapy

Read the Official Program Announcement

UIW Mission

About UIW

School Of Physical Therapy

School of Physical Therapy Tour

Dr. Ruth Ford, EdD, MSBS, OTR/L, FAOTA profile headshot

Dr. Ruth Ford, EdD, MSBS, OTR/L, FAOTA

OTD Program Director

A Message from Dr. Ford

Welcome to the University of the Incarnate Word’s (UIW) Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program located in San Antonio, Texas! This is an important next step in formulating your career pathway. Selecting a career pathway also involves picking the right University that will meet your needs. Our OTD program is designed to help you discover the exciting world of occupational therapy and how your career can be best prepared. Our University’s motto is Your Journey, Our Mission.

The OTD faculty and staff are here to support your journey and help you develop scholarship, skills, and professional attitudes to make you successful as an occupational therapist. Our three specialty labs, ADL (Activities of Daily Living), Pediatric, and Innovation, will stimulate your learning with hands on experiences as well as exposure to clients and occupational therapy assessments and interventions. Technology is embedded throughout the learning process. The expertise of the faculty will expose you to new opportunities for in-depth learning in research, education, and individualized Capstone Projects. Intraprofessional and interprofessional education are threaded throughout the curriculum to help you be part of the healthcare team. UIW is recognized for the high quality of health care education in nursing, physical therapy, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and optometry.

Come be a part of the UIW Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program starting August 2023! Admission materials will be posted on the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application System (OTCAS) by mid-July 2022. More information can be obtained from admissions at or (210) 890-4351. Watch the website for upcoming Preview and Interview Days, starting Fall 2022.

Contact Dr. Ford

Phone: (210) 283-6989

Dr. Ruth Ford, OTD Program Director, is the developing founder of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Ford has 22 years of full-time academic experience in addition to her extensive involvement with master and doctoral level occupational therapy students through course work in kinesiology; anatomy; geriatrics; research; assistive technology capstone mentoring, management and leadership. Dr. Ford has participated in committee work for accreditation activities with Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and provided administrative oversight for ACOTE accreditation for the assistant, bachelor, master, and doctoral level programs. Ruth provides consultation to developing entry level doctoral occupational therapy programs. She has received grants from the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation ($150,000 – 2 grants), Lilly Grant ($100,000) Baptist Healing Trust for Sacred Work ($16,000); Research Retirement Foundation ($83,262 with in kind donation of $170,000) for an adaptive OT Home; Memorial Foundation ($500,000) – new health science building; and Christy Houston Foundation ($56,690) for clinical equipment; Rotary scholarships ($3,500); Rotary OTD capstone projects ($16,120), corporate donations for student textbooks ($24,000 over 6 years); and gas cards ($8,000) for fieldwork travel.

Dr. Ford earned a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy (OT) from The Ohio State University a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences in Rehabilitation Sciences from the former Medical College of Ohio (University of Toledo), and a Doctorate in Education from Bowling Green State University. Her research externship at the national AARP headquarters in Washington, DC led to her dissertation titled Leadership Influence on Work Opportunities for Older Adult Workers (2004). Ruth has earned the American Occupational Therapy Association Roster of Fellows national award, (FAOTA). She has held credentialing as a Certification in Living In Place (CLIPP), Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) 1991-2001 and Board Certification in Gerontology (BCG) 2001-2007. She has participated in extensive professional presentations at the local, regional, and national conferences and workshops. Research interests and publications include issues regarding aging, driving, and older adult workers. Her professional service includes membership on the occupational therapy licensure boards in Tennessee and Ohio. In addition, Dr. Ford has served on committees at the district, state, and national occupational therapy associations.

Dr. Ford is a practicing occupational therapist with 45 years of clinical experience in administration, management, acute care, rehabilitation, out-patient, long term care, home health and has served as an expert witness. At the corporate level, she has worked as a rehabilitation consultant for long-term care and as a corporate director of rehabilitation services for up to 85 affiliated and non-affiliated long term care settings across the country. She has managed over 500 occupational and physical therapists and speech language pathologists in this capacity.

Dr. Ford’s service to the community includes membership in the United Methodist Church; Rotarian (Past President) and Paul Harris Fellow; Instructor for CarFit (older driver fit for safety and education program); Trainer for We Need to Talk (Driver Cessation Program); Driver safety programming with Indiana Department of Transportation (TDOT), AARP and AAA; Master Trainer for A Matter of Balance (fall prevention program); former Board Member of WAVES, Inc. (Developmental Disabilities); and Leadership Franklin, Tennessee. Dr. Ford is creating student learning opportunities at University of the Incarnate Word, inter-professional education with five other Schools at UIW plus research and capstone projects throughout the greater San Antonio and national areas.

Dr. Dailen CastilloDr. Dailen Castillo, OTD, MBA, OTR

Dr. Dailen Castillo is an Associate Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Castillo earned her doctoral degree in occupational therapy (PP OTD) from Chatham University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2016. She received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Texas Permian Basin in 2020 and her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy (BS) from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, in 2000. Her doctoral capstone focused on how early mobilization with critically ill patients in the intensive care unit positively impacts functional outcomes in activities of daily living.

Dr. Castillo has 20 years of experience as a clinical occupational therapist. Her experience includes working with adults and the geriatric population in skilled nursing facilities, acute hospitals, critical care, acute rehabilitation, neonatal intensive care unit, home health, outpatient facilities, and leadership/managerial roles. Throughout her clinical experience, Dr. Castillo has served as a fieldwork educator and mentor for Fieldwork Level II students. She has served as the lead and mentor for Chatham University’s OTD mentoring program to assist students with their capstone development. She has served as the secretary and is currently the chair of the Advisory Board of the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at St. Philip's College in San Antonio, Texas.

Doctoral-Degree-Level Occupational Therapy Program (Applicant Program) The entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has applied for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is

The program must be granted Candidacy Status, have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation, and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork as well as an individual 14-week capstone experience within 24 months following the completion of the didactic portion of the program.

The doctoral capstone experience must be started after completion of all coursework and Level II fieldwork as well as completion of preparatory activities defined in 2018 ACOTE OTD Standard D.1.3.

  • The University of the Incarnate Word is an applicant for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program slated to begin admitting students in Summer 2023.
  • The Occupational Therapy Application System (OTCAS) will take applications beginning July 18, 2022.

Interested Students and family are invited to the Preview Day via RSVP to the admission office at or (210) 890-4351.

  • September 16, 2022
  • October 21, 2022
  • November 18, 2022
  • February 10, 2023
  • April 21, 2023

Interviews will be invite only following application submission.

The OTD students will:

  1. Demonstrate competency in scholarship, lifelong learning, evidence-based practice, education, and research through advocating for the OT profession and consumers of occupational therapy services.
  2. Discover and define truth in communication and research, mutual understanding, self-realization, and the common good through provision as a health and wellness provider.
  3. Incorporate a global perspective for social justice and occupational justice through inclusion, diversity, and equity to maximize health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities.
  4. Innovate using advanced, evidenced based clinical skills, technology and expertise to serve the spiritual, physical and material needs of a diverse population.
  5. Engage in intraprofessional and interprofessional education practice that addresses evidence based, client centered and cost-effective health care, and demonstrates influence in changing policies, environments and complex systems.

  • Classes and lab space for the OTD program will be held at 9160 Guilbeau Road, San Antonio, TX 78250.
  • Specialty labs include a designated OTD pediatric lab, activities of daily living lab, and an innovation or technology lab. Musculoskeletal labs will be conducted in the adjacent Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
  • The medical school has a cadaver lab for anatomy and kinesiology. Nursing has simulation labs for interprofessional case studies. Low vision labs are a part of the optometry program.
  • The other interdisciplinary programs include pharmacy. An onsite outpatient clinic is available for clinical observations.
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University of the Incarnate Word is a Catholic institution that welcomes to its community persons of diverse backgrounds, in the belief that their respectful interaction advances the discovery of truth, mutual understanding, self-realization, and the common good.
Closing Quotation Mark

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