Pola Ham, EdD, OTD, MS, OTR/L, CAPS

Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy MS

School of Health Sciences

Pola Ham

Dr. Pola Ham has extensive experience working in various settings with diverse groups of individuals. She was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology. She received her Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from New York University. She received her Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) from Boston University and her Doctor of Education (EdD) degree from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Ham conducted a needs assessment on factors contributing to low academic performance among first-generation students in higher education and conducted an intervention on improving academic performance among first-generation occupational therapy students through an academic self-regulation program. Dr. Ham was also a Teaching Assistant and one of the student leads for the Writing Clinic at the Johns Hopkins EdD Program. Prior to working as a full-time faculty member at Touro University, she has taught at the LIU Brooklyn and the SUNY Downstate Occupational Therapy Programs. She is an active member of AOTA and NYSOTA and regularly presents at the conferences. Dr. Ham is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist and helped to develop and supervise the rehabilitation departments in two adult home facilities, as well as provided numerous presentations on various occupational therapy topics to the interdisciplinary team and administration in the adult home facilities.

Clinical Specialty

  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist
  • Licensed Occupational Therapist


Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Doctor of Education (EdD), July 2023
Dissertation: Academic Performance Among First-Generation Students in Occupational Therapy

Boston University Sargent College of Rehabilitation Science, Boston, MA
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), May 2017
Doctoral Capstone: Connections: Interventions to Promote Socialization & Engagement Among People with Dementia

New York University, New York, NY
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MS), January 2015

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), CA
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (BA), June 2010

Honors and Awards

  • Doctor of Education Merit Scholarship, Johns Hopkins University
  • Student Lead of the Summer Writing Retreat Clinic, Johns Hopkins University
  • Aileen and Gilbert Schiffman Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University



  • Academic performance among first-generation students in occupational therapy
  • Needs assessment on factors contributing to low academic performance among first-generation students in higher education
  • Improving academic self-regulation for students in allied health higher education programs through an academic self-regulation program

Recent Publications

Ham, P. (2020, March). Connections: Interventions to promote socialization and engagement among people with dementia. American Occupational Therapy on Annual Conference, Boston, MA.

Ham, P. (2017). Connections: Interventions to promote socialization & engagement among people with dementia (Publication No. 10267356) [Doctoral capstone, Boston University]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.

Recent Presentations

Ham, P. (2020, March). Connections: Interventions to Promote Socialization and Engagement Among People with Dementia.
Poster presented at the AOTA Annual Conference, Boston, MA.

Professional Service

  • AOTA Annual Conference Proposal Reviewer
  • AOTA CAP Reviewer
  • AOTA Education Summit Conference Reviewer
  • AOTA Children & Youth Specialty Conference Reviewer

Teaching Responsibilities

  • OTHN 320: Clinical Reasoning about Occupation
  • OTHN 337: Human Conditions and Occupation: Physical Health
  • OTHN 615: Physical Health I
  • OTHN 616: Physical Health II
  • OTHN 624: Health Promotion
  • OTHN 660: Advanced Clinical Neurology

In The News

Academic self-regulation interventions can promote success for all, Inside Higher Ed