You’ve Been SpOTlighted


Mandy Yelvington, MS, OTR/L, BCPR

Mandy Yelvington, MS, OTR/L, BCPR AOTA Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation Clinical Research Coordinator, Rehabilitation Services Department of Rehabilitation, Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Born and raised:
South Arkansas – a little town called Fountain Hill

Education background:
I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with internships at the North Little Rock VA, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. After working for several years, I decided to work towards my post-professional MS in OT at UCA.

Certifications, etc:
I currently have a board certification from AOTA in Physical Rehabilitation and specialty certifications in Research and am a Certified Traumatic Brain Injury Specialist.

Honors and/or awards:
In 2015 I received the “Care, Love and Hope” Award from Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I have been honored to be a part of a team that has twice been awarded my hospital’s “Teamwork Award”.  I am also thankful to have been nominated three times for the Cynthia B. Cole Outstanding Fieldwork Educator Award.

Brief job history:
I have devoted my entire career to working at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I have worked in every area and with every population at ACH. During my time here, I developed a deep love for working with the Burn Survivor population as well as a strong interest in research.

Current job title and role:
Clinical Research Coordinator for the Department of Rehabilitation and staff therapist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital

What do you like about your job and being an occupational therapist?
I have always asked the question “Why?” I have never been satisfied just knowing how to do something; I want to know the reasoning behind every theory or technique. There is no better way to answer the “Why?” question than evidence based practice. My current job allows me to remain active with patient care with the population I am passionate about (Burns) but still pursue my research interests and focus on evidence-based practice. I am fortunate to be able to serve on the American Burn Association’s Rehabilitation Committee which helps to influence the practice of OT throughout the country. I believe OT is a unique profession that allows us to directly impact the quality of life of every patient we work with. OT is not just about making someone better, it is about helping them return to a life that they are excited to live. This unique, person-centered perspective that my OT education and practice have helped me develop is a huge advantage in my work as an advocate for my patients and the profession as a whole.

Tell us about your research and your peer-reviewed publications/presentations.
I am interested in research on many topics but my most published or presented topic is burn scar management and prevention.  I have been published in the Journal of Burn Care and Research, Burns and in Pediatric Physical Therapy. I am author or co-author on 4 manuscripts currently in development or pre-publication. I have presented more than 10 platform presentations and over 20 posters at National and State Conferences and speak regularly as an invited lecturer on Burn Rehabilitation topics and on Research Education. I have been an invited speaker or leader at workshops dedicated to the progression of burn therapy knowledge.

I have multiple research projects currently in progress, including a multicenter trial related to burn contracture range of motion measurement and a facility-based project to improve therapist competency and consistently with the “tools of our trade”. My current manuscripts involve review and data analysis from a national database to answer questions related to disease progression and long-term follow-up needs.

I am an avid photographer and enjoy yoga and paddleboarding in my free time. I love to travel and enjoy running and am involved in my church. I also volunteer with the Burn Survivor programs including Camp Sunshine for pediatric burn survivors, the Young Adult Retreat and the Arkansas SOAR Retreat for adult burn survivors.

Anything else you wish to share?
I am lucky enough to have had several great mentors throughout my life. From my family to OT faculty, fieldwork instructors, coworkers, physicians, nurses and multidisciplinary team members; many people have helped me develop the love I have for my profession and for my job. As much as I have learned from these people, I have learned just as much or more from every patient, family member or student I have ever had the chance to work with. They are what keep me not just coming back to my job every day, but looking forward to each new challenge and opportunity.

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