Tamara Mills, Ph.D., OTR/L, ATP

Tamara Mills portrait

Dr. Tamara Mills is an Occupational Therapist, educator, researcher and entrepreneur. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 1999 at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Dr. Mills then matriculated at the University of Pittsburgh, where she received a post-professional Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy in 2000, and a graduate level certificate in Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology in 2001. In 2004, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Mills was the first African-American woman to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Science. She has been a certified Assistive Technology Professional for over 10 years. After her graduate studies, Dr. Mills completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Center for Outcomes Research at Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation (KMRREC) in West Orange, New Jersey.

Dr. Mills has had years of clinical experience spanning multiple settings including acute care, home health, inpatient rehabilitation, sub-acute rehabilitation, and private practice. Her primary practice area has been in acute care settings, and she still currently maintains per diem employment at an acute care hospital.

Dr. Mills teaches multiple courses at both the Norcross (primary) and Gainesville campuses including evidence-based practice, kinesiology, assistive technology, clinical conditions, and several courses related to thesis. Her research agenda focuses on three primary areas: (1) qualitative studies on the perception of stroke survivors and their caregivers; (2) upper extremity functioning of stroke survivors using biomechanical and virtual reality interventions; and (3) assessment of wheelchair skills, functional performance, and confidence of manual wheelchair users.

Dr. Mills has written several publications and has given numerous presentations in both professional and consumer forums comprised of practitioners, researchers, educators, students, caregivers, parents, and individuals with disabilities. Dr. Mills has a diverse range of experiences working with individuals across the lifespan, and conducting research to contribute to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Her goal is to bridge the inter-related parts of rehabilitation practice, academia, and research to assist consumers in living life to the fullest, and contribute to the advancement of the field of occupational therapy.

Dr. Mills continues her private practice working with children with disabilities in their home setting specializing in handwriting and assistive technology, as well as wheelchair-seating mobility services for adults. Although she enjoys spending as much time as she can with her family and twin baby boys, she is committed to giving back to her community and profession through several volunteer committee appointments.

Recent Publications

Mills, T. (in press). Evidence-based practice. In H. Smith-Gabai & S. Holm (Eds.), Occupational therapy in acute care (2nd ed.). Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.

Mills, T. L., Holm, M. B., & Schmeler, M. (2007).  Test-retest reliability and cross validation of the Functioning Everyday with a Wheelchair (FEW) instrument. Assistive Technology.

Mills, T., Holm, M. B., Trefler, E., Schmeler, M., Fitzgerald, S., & Boninger, M. (2002). Development and consumer validation of the Functional Evaluation in a Wheelchair (FEW) instrument. Disability and Rehabilitation, 24, 38-46.

Recent Presentations

Mills, T. L. (2016, October 1). Party of One: Strategies for starting your own occupational therapy business. Georgia Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA. (1 hour Presentation)

Mills, T. (2016, April 22). Perceptions of life after stroke and the journey to return to work. Brenau University, Annual Research Symposium, Gainesville, GA. (Presentation)

Wright, T., & Mills, T. (2015, October 23). Wheelchair seating and positioning:  The Basics Applied to a Sub-Acute Rehab and Long Term Care Setting, Northridge Hospital, Commerce, GA. (In-service presentation)

Mills, T. (2015, April 17). Educational activities using computer-based assistive technology with children in a home setting. American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Nashville, TN. (Poster Presentation)

Mills, T., Brandi, J., Fletcher, K., & Simmons, Z. (2015, April 10). Comparison of skill and functional performance of manual wheelchair users: A descriptive study. Brenau University, Annual Research Symposium, Gainesville, GA. (Presentation)

Mills, T., Johnson, T., Sanders, L., White, E., & Wynn. C. (2014, April 11). An evaluation of occupational performance and satisfaction in power wheelchair users in the home and assisted living facilities. Brenau University, Annual Research Symposium, Gainesville, GA. (Presentation)

Mills, T. L. (2013, September 21). Occupational therapy and the use of telerehabilitation with children attending cyber schools. Georgia Occupational Therapy Association.  (Presentation)

Research Grants

7/2015 – 7/2016 Principal Investigator, “Development of a Work Retraining Program for Stroke Survivors with Hand and Arm Limitations”; Brenau University, School of Occupational Therapy. Funding Source: Brenau University President’s Opportunity Grant

 Recent Awards

2014 Distinguished Alumna Award, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, School of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Occupational Therapy

Service – National

 2015 – present        Committee Member, Commission on Continuing Competence and Professional Development (CCCPD), American Occupational Therapy Association

2013 – present        Roster of Accreditation Evaluators, Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), American Occupational Therapy Association

2013 – 2014               Committee Member, Continuing Competency Product Development Team (CCPDT), National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)

2006 – 2007               Consultant Reviewer, Assistive Technology

2002 – 2004               Consultant Reviewer, Disability and Rehabilitation

Service – Community

2016 – present        Member, University of Georgia, Institute on Human Development and Disability, Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

2013 – present        Coordinator & Member, Continuing Education Approval Committee, Georgia Occupational Therapy Association (GOTA)

 Service – Brenau University

2014 – present        Vice Chair and Committee Member, Institutional Review Board

2013 – present        Faculty Advisor, Brenau University Occupational Therapy Student Association (BOTSA), Norcross Day Program


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