Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)

Meet the Faculty

Stacey Willis, OTD, BSOT, OTR/LDean & Program Director

Dr. Stacey Willis obtained her Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 2012, and her undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy from California State University Dominguez Hills in 2002. Dr. Willis is an expert in psychosocial occupational therapy treatment, and has been working in community-based mental health for the past 12 years. Dr. Willis has extensive experience in the areas of management, leadership, program development, community integration, fiscal operations, and contract administration.

Dr. Willis served as the Intensive Services Director at the Occupational Therapy Training Program, where she was responsible for overseeing all daily and administrative operations of the Intensive Services Department. This included the oversight of three intensive programs funded by the county of Los Angeles (Wraparound Program, Center for the Assessment of Prodromal States Pilot Program, and the Full Service Partnership Program).  Dr. Willis was able to identify, promote, and embed occupational therapy services into various community-based programs. As director Dr. Willis also provided ongoing management, training, and mentorship to an interdisciplinary mental health services team. Dr. Willis remains a consultant for the division.

Dr. Willis has spoken at numerous conferences, and community events emphasizing the importance and vital role that occupational therapy provides in the treatment of individuals living with mental illness.

Dr. Willis is an avid Lakers fan, self-proclaimed movie buff, and enjoys engaging in community outreach, in an effort to inspire youth to strive to reach their fullest potential. She and her husband’s favorite pastime is to cheer on their son and daughter at their numerous sporting events.

Diana Gantman Kraversky, OTD, MS, OTR/L, APAssistant Professor

Dr. Gantman Kraversky began her pediatric therapy career as a speech therapist with a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology, Education and Child Development from Minsk State Pedagogical University in Belarus. Later, in the United States, she completed her degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh and a Post-Professional Doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.

Her extensive, over 15 years, experience of working with infants, children, adolescents, and young adults includes various practice settings, such as the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, private practice, in-home early intervention settings, and school districts. Dr. Gantman Kraversky served as a consultant for the center-based summer intervention programs and therapeutic camps for children with special needs. She developed new occupational therapy programs and specific interventions within various practice settings, such as functional feeding groups, handwriting, and sensory-motor programs.

Dr. Gantman Kraversky worked in the capacity of an occupational therapy coordinator and supervised both administrative and therapeutic staff. She has experience in conducting clinical research and continuing education courses for the interdisciplinary rehabilitation and special education teams. Dr. Gantman Kraversky has presented in occupational therapy at the local level as well as in the state of Pennsylvania and lectured in various higher education programs. Her leisure pursuits include traveling, reading, cooking and hiking with her husband, daughter and a family dog.

Heather Thomas, Ph.D., OTR/LAssociate Professor

Dr. Heather Thomas is Associate Professor of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate and Masters in OT program at West Coast University in Los Angeles.  She has a long history of working in occupational therapy education, as full time faculty at Loma Linda University for 10 years and then in 2013 she moved over to West Coast University where she helped develop the MSOT program. She has presented at international, national and state conferences, and has been involved in providing OT services in Haiti since the devastating earthquake in 2010. She has served in a variety of leadership positions with the California state OT association, Los Angeles OT Leadership Forum, Los Angeles City, and AOTA. She is the author of the top selling activity analysis text book "Occupation-Based Activity Analysis" which is used across the world.  She is the winner of the 2016 Occupational Therapy Association of California Award of Excellence.

Arameh Anvarizadeh, OTD, OTR/LAcademic Fieldwork Coordinator
Assistant Professor

Dr. Arameh Anvarizadeh is an alumna of the University of Southern California (USC), receiving her BS, MA, and Doctorate in Occupational Therapy with a minor in Neuroscience and an emphasis in Ambulatory Healthcare. She is an experienced pediatric therapist who during her time at California Children’s Services (CCS) was responsible for evaluating and treating children living with neuromuscular and orthopedic disabilities. Besides clinical work, Dr. Anvarizadeh was selected to be an intervener for USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy’s Pressure Ulcer Prevention research study. She currently holds leadership positions on both the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) as the Communications Chair and the California Representative for the Representative Assembly, respectively.  She is an AOTA Emerging Leader and serves as a member on OTAC’s Advocacy and Government Affairs Committee, as well as, the Centennial Float Committee. Dr. Anvarizadeh is a founding member of the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD). As the recipient of OTAC’s Janice Matsutsuyu Outstanding Service Award, Dr. Anvarizadeh was recognized for her significant contributions to the association. An accomplished speaker in both state and national conferences, Dr. Anvarizadeh lectured internationally in 2014’s World Federation of Occupational Therapists’ (WFOT) congress. Besides her current work in academia, her leadership development, clinical experience, speaking engagements, and consulting, Dr. Anvarizadeh serves on the board of Inclusion Clubhouse and Black Women for Wellness.  She focuses her efforts on building healthy communities through inclusion, health education, empowerment, and advocacy.  This being her passion, she envisions creating sustainable communities through social entrepreneurship and policy using an occupational therapy perspective.

Danielle Friberg, OTD, OTR/LAssistant Professor

Dr. Danielle Friberg is a licensed occupational therapist specializing in pediatric practice. She graduated from the University of Utah with her Master's in Occupational Therapy in 2011 and her Post-Professional Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy in 2017. She also received her Higher Education Teaching Specialist certificate in 2017 through the University of Utah's Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. Her doctoral research focused on the use of family-centered practices in early intervention when addressing the sensory needs of children with autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Friberg has previously worked in early intervention, NICU follow-up, and outpatient pediatrics, which afforded her the opportunity to gain experience with a wide range of diagnoses and ages. In addition, she has experience working in school-based settings and enjoys community-based program development.

Dr. Friberg arrives at West Coast University after serving as an adjunct faculty member in the University of Utah's Division of Occupational Therapy for four years, where she taught the Foundations of Pediatric Practice and Pediatric Skills courses. She served as the Occupational Therapy core faculty member for the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) program, where she provided mentorship and support to occupational therapy trainees and offered didactic seminars related to evidence-based practice. She continues to provide consultation to the URLEND program since her relocation to the Los Angeles area.​ Dr. Friberg is passionate about training and mentoring future occupational therapy colleagues, interdisciplinary care, and early identification and treatment of developmental delays and neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Dr. Friberg enjoys spending time with her husbands and two beagles, going to Zumba and other fitness classes, cooking and trying new restaurants, and exploring the Los Angeles area.

Michael Ang, OTD, OTR/L, CSRS, HTC, PAM, SWC, CKTPAssociate Professor

Michael Ang created and directed the Outpatient Occupational Therapy Program at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. There he implemented evidence-based interventions for clients with neurological and upper extremity conditions. Michael was the first Certified Stroke Rehab Specialist in Los Angeles. He is a Neuro-IFRAH® Certified Therapist, a Saebo Certified Therapist, an Interactive Metronome Provider, and a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner. Additionally, Michael is approved for advanced practice in physical agent modalities, hand therapy, and swallowing assessment, evaluation or intervention. He has clinical experience in acute care, intensive care, transitional care, inpatient rehab, skilled nursing, assisted living, and home health occupational therapy.

Michael was on the faculty at the University of Southern California for three years where he taught Creativity and Craft Analysis, Therapeutic Use of Self, Communication for Effective Practice, and Adult Rehabilitation. During his time at the University of Southern California, Michael led the faculty in student course evaluation scores, and won the Penelope Louise Richardson award for teaching. Additionally, he created and taught a variety of elective and continuing education courses including Occupation-Based Adult Neurorehabilitation and The Neurorehabilitation Workshop.

Michael enjoys crafting, baking, and spending time with his Maltese, Mochi.

Christy Billock, PhD, OTR/LProfessor

Dr. Billock began her occupational therapy professional life in adult rehabilitation. She soon discovered her passion for teaching and was on the faculty at Loma Linda University for 14 years where she taught history, theoretical perspectives on occupation, spirituality, wellness, geriatrics, research, and neuroscience.

She received her Bachelors of Occupational Therapy from Loma Linda University, Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy and a PhD in Occupational Science both from the University of Southern California. Upon graduating from USC she received the Creativity in Occupational Therapy Award as well as the Penelope Richardson Award. Dr. Billock's dissertation research looked at women's experiences of spirituality through occupation.  She has presented at numerous national and international occupational therapy and occupational science conferences as well as authored a chapter on personal beliefs and spirituality in Willard and Spackman's Occupational Therapy 11th and 12th editions.

In addition to teaching at WCU, Dr. Billock works as an artist and maker utilizing clay, wood, leather, and wool in her creations.  Her husband and two elementary school aged children bring joy and lots of activity to her days. She also actively pursues her leisure interests including hiking, reading, working out, cooking, home improvement and spending time with friends in the mountains.

Christine Wietlisbach, OTD, OTR/L, CHT, MPAAssistant Professor, Adjunct

Dr. Christine Wietlisbach has more than 20 years experience in occupational therapy practice, education and regulation. She maintains a full-time practice in occupational therapy at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, and is an adjunct faculty member in the master of occupational therapy program at Loma Linda University. Dr. Wietlisbach earned her bachelor degrees in psychology and occupational therapy from Washington University in St. Louis, and her doctorate in occupational therapy with a dual emphasis in hand therapy and administration/practice management from Rocky Mountain University in Provo, Utah. She also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, San Bernardino. Dr. Wietlisbach is past-president of the Occupational Therapy Association of California, and served two terms as a Governor-appointed member and vice-president of the California Board of Occupational Therapy. Currently, she is a senate-appointee and Chair of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Wietlisbach lectures nationally and has authored occupational therapy textbook chapters in the areas of industrial rehabilitation/ergonomics, physical agent modalities, and wound care for the upper extremity. Her awards include the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Lindy Boggs Political Action Award, and the Occupational Therapy Association of California’s Award of Excellence, Practice Award, and Political Action Award.

Lisa PhillipsProgram Manager

Lisa Phillips' experience in higher education began in Georgia in 2004. She worked as the assistant to the Department Head of Dental Hygiene at Clayton State University, just south of Atlanta. New opportunities brought Lisa to Southern California, and later, to West Coast University in January 2011.

Mrs. Phillips became part of the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program in November 2012. She has a passion for working with students in higher education and looks forward to being part of a graduate degree program.

Lisa loves sewing, gardening, college football and animals — specifically her two black Labs, Chihuahua and one white kitty.

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