Faculty Highlight: Assistant Professor Jasmine Mote

Jasmine Mote (top right) in a lab meeting last semester.

I’m so excited to be a part of the Tufts Occupational Therapy Department! Originally from Ohio, I received my B.A. in psychology from Oberlin College. I then went on to receive my M.A. in psychology and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Tufts, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Boston University, working in the Approach Motivation and Participation Lab.

It was during my postdoctoral research position that I became more acquainted with OT, as I got the opportunity to work with students in OT, rehabilitation sciences, physical therapy, neuroscience, and clinical and counseling psychology. I really loved getting to work with a group of interdisciplinary students on projects studying social participation in people with serious mental illness. I also really connected with OT’s focus on functioning and well-being.

I am now the director of the Mote Emotion and Social Health (MESH) Lab at Tufts. My research is broadly focused on understanding the social and emotional lives of people with and without mental illness. A lot of my work focuses on addressing social participation and loneliness in people with serious mental illness, such as people with schizophrenia. I am also interested in developing and evaluating new psychosocial treatments to help improve social participation, including digital health interventions (such as smartphone applications that can help improve one’s social life). I have been working with OT students this past semester on various projects, including starting a project focused on understanding and addressing social participation difficulties in young adults who are at clinical high risk for developing psychosis, as well as a systematic review on the evidence on green space exposure (such as being around parks and trees) and its potentially beneficial effects on mental health symptoms. I have also recently begun studying how racialized experiences (such as discrimination) influences mental health symptoms and social participation in people with serious mental illness, and hope to continue more of this work in the future.

In addition to research and teaching, I’ve also had the honor of being part of the founding of our department’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Justice (DEIRJ) committee, a committee of Tufts OT staff and faculty dedicated to improving the culture of our department. It is very important in both my professional and personal life to continue to improve my own abilities in pursuing social justice and commit to the long-term and ongoing work necessary to reject living in a society rooted in white supremacy.

As I said before, I’m thrilled to be welcomed into the Tufts OT community. I look forward to continuing my research, teaching, and service in the OT Department through working with students and colleagues as we bridge the gap between OT and psychology.

Follow Jasmine on Twitter: @jdymote

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