Peace and understanding have been in relatively short supply throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To help restore them both in the wake of the past two tumultuous years, the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is funding two new faculty-led, community-focused projects.

The University Park Peace Garden Project will transform a dilapidated residential lot owned by USC near the North University Park Campus into a flourishing urban garden in which educational, research and health programming can serve community needs. Camille Dieterle, OTD, OTR/L, DipACLM/DipIBLM, associate clinical professor of clinical occupational therapy at the USC Chan Division, will be leading the project.

In addition, Mary Lawlor, ScD, OTR/L, associate chair of research and professor at the USC Chan Division, with a joint appointment with the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Department of Pediatrics, will work with Erna Blanche, PhD, OTR/L, clinical professor of occupational therapy at the USC Chan Division, as co-principal investigators of a narrative-based study to better understand the lived experiences of autistic children, their families and their health care providers during the pandemic.

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