Ruth Schemm EdD

Ruth Schemm

Ruth Schemm EdD

Dean Emerita of the College of Health Professions

Professor Emerita of Health Policy and Public Health


BS (Penn)

OTR/L, FAOTA MEd (Temple University)

EdD (Temple University)

Research Interests

Role, habits, and interests of community-living

Chronically disabled individuals

Historical development of professional roles


Occupational Roles

Educator, Scholar, Equestrian (Dressage), Animal owner (Border Collie, Ruff Coat Collie & cats)

Ocupational History

Dr. Schemm began her career as a home visiting occupational therapist for the City of Philadelphia in 1969. She joined the occupational therapy faculty of Temple University in 1971 and eventually became a tenured, senior faculty member and developed and directed the Occupational Therapy Graduate program.

In 1982, she became the founding Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University and developed the bachelors’, certificate and advanced Master’s degree programs. She left Jefferson in 1995 to develop the proposed MOT program at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and also was appointed as Assistant Dean of the College of Health Sciences. In 1998 she became Interim Dean of the College of Health Sciences, developed and served as Interim Director of the Health Policy Program 1998-1999. In 2000, she was appointed as Dean of the College of Health Sciences and served in this capacity until 2007. She taught courses in Health Sciences and Occupational Therapy and co-taught courses in Interdisciplinary Studies and Health Policy. She developed curriculums in health sciences and health and fitness management.

Dr. Schemm has focused her scholarship on how community living individuals adapt to chronic disabilities. She also worked on collaborative training projects on HIV/AIDS and career development. She co-edited books on management and prevention and a recent externally supported project included participation in the planning of a state-wide model curriculum on preparedness. She is presently examining the interests and activities of community living elders. She has also published articles on the social history of occupational therapy.

Her service activities included membership and leadership roles on local, regional, state and national committees for occupational therapy, a community park & recreation board and equine activity group. Recently she chaired the Board of Directors of a therapeutic riding program (2003-6) and continues participation as a member on her township recreation board. She has served on the editorial boards for Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 1988 - 1994; Occupational Therapy Practice, 1988 - 1993; Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 1987-1999; 2003-2007 and presently serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Allied Health Professions (2007-Present).

Dr. Schemm completed training in 2006 as a mediator and worked with the Montgomery County Mediation Center. She was awarded a Certificate from the Institute for Leadership and Management at Harvard School of Education and presented topics in occupational therapy and health care in England, Canada, Ireland, South Africa and the People's Republic of China. She is the past President of the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Occupational Therapy Education and Licensure. She received her BS in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, her M.Ed. in Psycho-educational Processes and Ed.D. in Urban Education from Temple University.

When she is not working in academia, you can find Ruth outside with her dogs or horses.

Education and academic administration

Dr. Schemm was the primary or co-investigator on 8 projects and served as liaison or coordinator on 4 others. She authored or co-authored 20 articles in peer reviewed journals, 10 book chapters, 3 books, 5 posters, 2 video projects and 50 presentations at a local, state, national and international levels.


Selected Scholarly Activity

Recent Scholarship

Schemm, R.L. & Mariani, Kathryn and Michele Mathes (2008 A Process to Ameliorate Conflict in Assisted Living: The Promise of Elder Mediation. Assisted Living Consult.

Cohen, M.E. & Schemm, RL (2007) Client-Centered Occupational Therapy for Individuals

Recent Presentations

Schemm, R.L. Cohen, M.E., (2007) Bridging rehabilitation and community living: A contextual model. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, November 6, 2007, Washington, D.C.

Schemm, R.L. & Mariani, K. Mediation: (2007) OT’s can use empowerment to stem workplace conflict. 30th Annual Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Conference, October 13, 2007, Harrisburg, PA.

Gale, D., Harrington, G. & Schemm, R.L. (2005) The clinical doctorate—an Oxford Debate. ASHAP Conference, Houston, Tx.

Hawkins-Breaux, A. & Schemm, R. L (2004) A model for civic engagement within the academy. Delaware Valley Student Affairs Conference. February 13, 2004. Philadelphia, PA


Professional Information

Recent Grants or Contracts

Schemm, R.L. (2004) Participant. READY CAMPUS Manual. Funded by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency for the Office of Domestic Preparedness. $5000

Schemm, R.L. (2003) Complementary Medicine Course. Funded by Cox Foundation $5000.


Contact Information

Mailing address: University of Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495

r [dot] schemm [at] usciences [dot] edu