Florida A&M University Logo
Home FamMail iRattler FamCast
School of Allied Health Sciences

Faculty/Staff Directory  Faculty/Staff Directory
Phone  850.599.3818
Fax  850.561.2457

School of Allied Health Sciences
334 Palmer Ave
Lewis-Beck Building Suite 306
Tallahassee, Florida 32307


Debora Oliveira, Ph.D., CRC, OTR/L Director

Dr. Debora Oliveira has over thirty-five years as an occupational therapist and as a manager.  As Director, she is responsible for all the administrative duties in the Masters in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program.

Dr. Oliveira received her Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy from the University of Wisconsin, her Master of Science degree in healthcare administration from NovaSoutheastern University, and Ph.D. in rehabilitation counseling from the Florida State University.  Her areas of interest in research include aging, cognition, and their influence on activities of daily living. She is also interested in job satisfaction among faculty in higher education.

Dr. Oliveira has presented at several professional conferences at the state and national level.  She is an active member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Florida Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Rehabilitation Counselor Association. She is past Vice President of the Florida Occupational Therapy Association.

She teaches a variety of classes including scientific inquiry, biopsychosocial development of adults, and is a continuing education provider for area occupational therapists.

Maria Hinds, J.D., M.S., OTR/L, Associate Professor

Dr. Maria Hinds has served global communities, as an occupational therapist and legal advocate for thirty-five years.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy from Quinnipiac University, a Master’s degree in special education from Southern Connecticut State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University Of Connecticut School Of Law.  She holds occupational therapy practice licenses in Connecticut and Florida and is a member of Bar Associations in Connecticut, Florida and the District of Columbia. 

Dr. Hinds, before she joined the faculty at Florida A&M University, eighteen years ago, served individuals with developmental disabilities, in her capacity as an attorney, facilities inspector, and director of quality assurance for the state of Connecticut.  Her achievements include, McGrum-Griffin Rehabilitation Award (1980), appointment to the Human Genome Education Project by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) (1998), development of a program of mentoring services with primary focus on passage of standardized tests such as the NBCOT and State Bar Exams (1992- to date), Florida A&M University Teacher of the Year Award (2002), Who is Who Among America’s Teachers (2002), Vice President of the Florida Occupational Therapy Association (2002-2003), Florida A&M University Occupational Therapy Admission’s Coordinator (2007-2015), Car-Fit technician (2013), and elected advisor for Florida A&M University Beta Mu chapter of Pi-Theta Epsilon (1998-2015).  She is currently president and CEO of MEH Consulting and Rehabilitation Services.

Dr. Hinds’ published works include: Co-author of the book chapter, “Advocating for Clients and Legal Issues”, and peer-review of several books and articles. Her research interests include: Impact of occupational therapy services provided in juvenile detention centers, the effects of incarceration on criminal defendants with learning disabilities, and effective delivery of occupational therapy services within a community-based model.

Dr. Hinds’ current teaching caseload include: Professional Development in Occupational Therapy, Health Care Foundation, Leadership and Management, Communications & interactions With Groups, and development and implementation of the Division’s “Community-Based Model Program” that includes a faculty-supervised fieldwork 1 experience. 

Aurelia K. Alexander, OTD, OTR/L Assistant Professor

Dr. Aurelia K. Alexander has been practicing occupational therapy for 26 years. She is a registered and licensed occupational therapist. Dr. Alexander has worked at the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare in the areas of acute care, outpatient rehabilitation (pediatrics), and neonatal intensive care nursery (Level III). She has consulted with the Florida Children’s Home Society with children at high risk for developmental delays for five years and was instrumental in the initiation of the car seat safety testing in the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare neonatal intensive care nurseries. Dr. Alexander is currently working as an associate professor in the School of Allied Health Sciences at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and is teaching in the area of pediatrics.

Dr. Alexander is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy. In addition, she completed 18 months of graduate work in public health at FAMU. She is a graduate of the master’s graduate program in occupational therapy at Boston University in May 2007 and completed a doctorate in Occupational Therapy in 2012 at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. Alexander has participated in her community through volunteering with the local chapter of the March of Dimes, Down Syndrome Association, American Cancer Society and through memberships in several civic organizations that focus on community involvement via cancer research, enrichment of young adults and additional children’s issues. Dr. Alexander is a member of the University Athletic committee and the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) Oversite Committee. She participated in the acquisition of the NCAA AASP to promote academic success for student athletes at Florida A&M University which culminated in an award of $625,000.00 to the University.

 Among the awards/honors that she has received are: Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Ambassador Caring Hands Award, 1998 and 2007 and March of Dimes Walk America Participant, 1998-2007, Caring Tree (Big Bend Hospice) Advisory Board 2005-2007. Dr. Alexander is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Florida A&M University in 2009. She is working on increasing therapeutic services available throughout the community. Dr. Alexander holds certifications in Neonatal Oral Motor Skills (NOMAS) and Kinesio Taping for Pediatrics and Adults. Dr. Alexander is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Leon County chapter of The Charmettes, Incorporated, and a Life member of Florida A&M University National Alumni Association since 2009. 

Expertise: Pediatric occupational therapy; feeding; eating

Sarah Mbiza, PhD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor

Dr. Sarah Mbiza earned a BS degree in occupational therapy from the University of Zimbabwe, where she worked in community-based rehabilitation, mental health and fieldwork for five years. She moved to the USA in 1997, obtained a Master’s degree in Health Policy Research from Florida State University in 2004, a Specialist in Education degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Florida State University in 2012, and a Ph.D. in School Psychology and Counseling Psychology from Florida State University in 2015.  Her areas of interest in research include aging, dementia caregiving, assessment, and fieldwork education.

Dr Mbiza has 24 years in staff and leadership roles in occupational therapy practice.  For the past seven years, she has been the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and an assistant professor in the Division of Occupational Therapy.  She teaches a variety of courses including foundations of Occupational Therapy, therapeutic communication and documentation and biopsychosocial development of adults. She is registered and licensed in Florida as occupational therapist. Dr Mbiza has participated in national and state association activities, and was certified as a scholar in Interprofessional Education in Geriatrics through the University of Alabama’s Geriatric Education Center from 2013-2014.  She has presented at several professional conferences at the state and national level.  She is an active member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Florida Occupational Therapy Association, and the Gerontology Association of America.

Dr. Mbiza has a diverse range of experiences working with clients across the lifespan, and participation in research to improve lives through outcomes research related to functional performance and disability. Her goal is to bridge related aspects of occupational therapy practice, academia, and research to assist the local community to live life to the fullest, while contributing to the advancement of the occupational therapy profession. Dr. Mbiza has practiced as an occupational therapist in the school system, home care, and long term care.

Jian Jones, MS, OTR/L, Assistant Professor & Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

Barbara L. Kornblau, JD, OTR/L, FAOTA, DASPE, CCM, CDMS, CPE, Adjunct Professor is a nationally known health and disability policy expert with accomplishments as an occupational therapy clinician, educator, and researcher, for more than 30 years. She is a Past President of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), a past Chair of the AOTA’s Standards and Ethics Commission, and a former Chair of AOTA’s Work Programs Special Interest Section. She was elected to AOTA’s Roster of Fellows and was awarded AOTA’s Award of Merit and FOTA’s Award of Excellence. She has been honored with numerous named lectureships, including the Mary Ann Epstein Lectureship, Rancho Los Amigos International Rehabilitation Hospital. She serves as a consultant to the United Spinal Association’s Pathways to Employment program, a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Wisconsin’s School of Education, and an advisor to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin (occupational therapy) and the University of Miami School of Law, Kornblau is certified case manager, a certified disability management specialist, a certified pain educator and a distinguished member of the American Society of Pain Educators.  She serves as a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Center (PCORI) Ambassador and reviewer, and was recently appointed to serve on PCORI’s Addressing Disparities Advisory Panel. She is also a grant reviewer for the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR, formerly NIDRR) and other federal agencies. During her Career, she has been responsible for acquiring over $5 million of funding.

Kornblau has presented more than 350 peer and non peer-reviewed invited presentations, and keynote addresses, nationally and internationally, to professional and lay audiences, on ACA, disability policy, advocacy, and law, ethics, health policy & law, patient engagement, evidence-based practice, patient engagement, disability health disparities, pain, access to care, and occupational therapy, participation, and quality of life.  She is widely published, with more than 150 publications, including books; book chapters, peer-reviewed journals, and 8 letters to the editor of the New York Times, and among them, two editions of the book “Ethics in Rehabilitation – A Clinical Approach.” She has testified in federal court as an expert occupational therapy witness.  Kornblau has appeared on television and nationally syndicated radio on health and disability issues, including live interviews on CNBC and CNN, and providing color commentary on the Affordable Care Act on local network news. She was part of the team that started the first online doctoral programs in occupational therapy and the first online Master of Public Health program. Her research interests include, disability-based health disparities, health disparities at the intersection of disability, and race and ethnicity, health and disability policy, and quality of life, participation, and occupational autonomy.

Lewesa Peterson, Senior Secretary, Division of Occupational Therapy
Contact information Phone (850) 412-7867 lewesa.peterson@famu.edu