Dr. Sherrilene Classen, a professor and chair of the department of occupational therapy at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, received the Scholar Award from the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists at the association’s annual conference held in August in Richmond, Virginia.
The award recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement in driver evaluation, education, research and/or engineering. Dr. Classen is an internationally-funded prevention-oriented rehabilitation scientist who studies fitness-to-drive issues in at-risk drivers using clinical assessments, driving simulators, on-road assessments, in-vehicle technologies and automated vehicles.
“Dr. Classen is a dynamic and visionary leader and scholar,” wrote nominator Dr. Sandra Winter, a research assistant scientist in the UF department of occupational therapy. “She leverages her occupational therapy clinical background, and her knowledge of rehabilitation science and public health, toward the study of fitness-to-drive issues in at-risk drivers across the lifespan.”
Since her academic career started in 2002, Dr. Classen has received research funding totaling approximately $8 million from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation, as well as agencies in Canada and abroad. She has authored or co-authored more than 140 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and special journal issues and is the editor of a textbook on driving simulation targeted to health professionals, the first of its kind.
Earlier this year, Dr. Classen spearheaded the launch of UF’s Certificate in Driver Rehabilitation Therapy, the first offered by a U.S. university. She also led the creation of the region’s only driving rehabilitation service offering evaluations and interventions to improve driving skills of older adults and drivers of all ages who have medical conditions that may affect driving.