Heather Panczykowski, DHSc, OTR/L, FAOTA

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Occupational Therapy
Health Sciences Building, 3305H
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858

252-744-6194 (phone)
252-744-6198 (fax)


Educational Experience

  • DHSc. in Doctor of Health Science, Nova Southeastern University
  • MS in Early Intervention/School Based Practice, University of New York at Buffalo
  • BS in Occupational Therapy, Keuka College

Professional Interests/Research

  • Examine levels of engagement, enjoyment and returnance in children with autism two complimentary interventions, the horse and horse-riding simulator
  • Examine sensory patterns and engagement of two complimentary interventions, the horse and horse-riding simulator
  • Examine the efficacy and role of occupational therapy in equine assisted activity and horsemanship programs
  • Explore how occupational therapy educators can use universal design to enhance learning of students as well as how occupational therapy practitioners can use these same principles to teach clients/patients when working on independence in daily living tasks

Publications and Presentations

Research Grants

  • October 2019: North Carolina Horse Council Research Grant

Professional Service

American Hippotherapy Association Research Committee 2022-present

American Occupational Therapy Association

  • Vice Chair: OTA Academic Leadership Council 2014-2017
  • Secretary- OTA Program Director’s Educational Council 2001-2008; 2010-2014
  • Roster of Accreditation Evaluators Term 2002-2005

Selected Awards and Honors

  • 2020: American Occupational Therapy Association Roster of Fellows
  • 2020: Chancellor’s Horizon Award for Service, East Carolina University
  • 2019-2020: Health Science Author Recognition Award – William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library, East Carolina University
  • 2005: Chancellor’s Award recipient for Excellence in Teaching, State University of New York
  • 2005: Presidents Award for Teaching Excellence, Jamestown Community College
  • 2003: Award of Merit for Practice in Education, New York State Occupational Therapy Association


  • February 2024: Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor
  • November 2020: The American Hippotherapy Certification Board (AHCB) Hippotherapy Certified Therapist
  • May 2020: Path International Registered Therapist
  • September 2015-2022: Received approval to serve as a canine therapy team in predictable and unpredictable environments through Pet Partners
  • December 2008: Certification in physical agent modalities from Physical Agent Modalities Credentialing Agency, CPAM

Teaching Responsibilities

  • OCCT 6713: Conducting Researching Occupational Therapy
  • OCCT 7315: Occupational Therapy Practice III lab (mental health)
  • OCCT 7501: Occupational Therapy Practice V (school-age)
  • OCCT 7551: Occupational Therapy Practice V lab (school-age)
  • OCCT 7714: Research Dissemination in Occupational Therapy