OT faculty member named distinguished fellow

profile picture of Angela Cecil

Feb. 6, 2024 — DENTON — Angela Cecil’s professional title just got a little bit longer. In addition to the “PhD,” “MBA” and “OTR” after her name, there is now an “FNAP.”  

Cecil, an assistant professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Texas Woman’s, was recently named a distinguished fellow by the National Academies of Practice (NAP)

NAP is a non-profit organization founded to advise governmental bodies on the U.S. healthcare system. NAP firmly believes that close collaboration and coordination of different healthcare professions, aligned through a common vision, can advocate for patients and model excellence in interprofessional and preventive care.

While Cecil mapped out her degrees, the FNAP designation was something she never knew she would achieve. 

“It is a sincere honor,” Cecil said. “There are different kinds of fellows in many different professional groups. OT has a fellow through AOTA.  This is an interprofessional (IPE) type of fellow. It means a lot because I have devoted many years to IPE and collaboration."

NAP members are awarded fellows based on their academic achievement and contribution to practice. They are judged by their peers to have made significant contributions in their profession. The “fellow” designation requires recommendation and vote by NAP members.

Cecil is the first person at Texas Woman’s to receive this designation, according to Noralyn Pickens, associate dean for interprofessional education and strategic initiatives at the College of Health Sciences and College of Nursing.

“Dr. Cecil’s energy around interprofessional education is palpable to anyone who attends our trainings,” Pickens said. “She lives the values of collaboration – encouraging participation and seeking out the best in her colleagues. She is active in the growth of IPE here at TWU as co-chair of the TWU IPE Teaching Excellence committee. This is a well-deserved honor.”

Cecil has been participating in interprofessional education for the last 10 years. Her interest in IPE was sparked at an inter-institutional IPE project in Kentucky when she worked at Spalding University. Cecil was the occupational therapy lead on the project that included a physical therapy program at Bellarmine University and a speech-language pathology program at Louisville University. 

“What spoke to me about that workshop was the spirit of collaboration for the greater good,” Cecil said. “Collaboration between three professions who commonly collaborate as patient care providers and the greater good of changing a culture in health care from individual-focused education to collaborative practice for improving health and wellness. And collaboration, teamwork and helping are three important fibers that make up my being.”

Since that workshop, Cecil has woven interprofessional education and collaboration into her work. Even her dissertation was about it, titled: Applying an ecological perspective to interprofessional education: Attitude changes in students of the tri-alliance

She served as a volunteer for different work groups with the National Academies of Practice, and is also a member of the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative and was co-chair of its membership committee.

“I think my best contribution is just being a champion of IPE and collaboration,” Cecil said. “I do believe it is the secret sauce for helping improve healthcare in the U.S. and internationally. I think when we put our individual agendas to the side and work together as a team, then we will put the patient first all the time and we will help with patient outcomes. Imagine how a baseball team would function if they didn’t work together. Everyone has to work together as a team to accomplish the goals.”

In the future, Cecil would like to see more research in learning about ways to promote the practice of interprofessionalism in the field, not just the classroom.

“To me, collaborative practice is the way we can make a bigger and better difference in healthcare. To be a fellow as a part of that community means a lot to me.”

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Page last updated 8:49 AM, February 6, 2024