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About Paula Rabaey, PhD, OTR/L

Dr. Rabaey is an Associate Professor in the OT Graduate Department at St. Catherine University. Her clinical background includes 29 years of experience working with children with disabilities and their families in early intervention, school, clinic, community, and NICU settings. She specializes in feeding and eating difficulties in children with a variety of diagnoses in both the US and in low and middle income countries. She serves on the medical advisory board and as a feeding technical expert for SPOON Foundation ( and has traveled internationally to conduct training with caregivers of children with disabilities living without families. Dr. Rabaey is also a co-author of a feeding assessment used by SPOON Foundation. Her research interests include: feeding, eating, and mealtime occupations with children and families, infant and child social-emotional development, and mothering co-occupations with young children. Dr. Rabaey has expertise in qualitative research including phenomenology and visual methodologies and has conducted photo voice projects in the US and Africa.


2007 - Present Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy, St. Catherine University Occupational Therapy Department

Curriculum Vitae


2020 - Present Investigation of Assessment Tools in the Area of Pediatric Feeding Disorder
Role: Co-PI
Colleague(s): Dr. Kate Barlow
2019 - Present Kusamala+ Phase 2
Role: CO-Principle Investigator
Colleague(s): Mary Hearst, Jennifer Biggs, Renee Hepperlen, Donna DeGracia
2018 - 2019 “Understanding the Experiences of Stigma and Discrimination of Caregivers of Children with Disabilities in Zambia: A Photovoice Project”
GHR Innovation Grant
Role: Co-Principle investigator
Colleague(s): Renee Hepperlen
2017 - 2019 Kusamala+
Role: Co-principle investigator
Colleague(s): Mary Hearst, Jennifer Biggs, Renee Hepperlen, Donna DeGracia
2016 - 2017 Talking with Pictures: A mealtime Photovoice project for African American mothers with young children
St. Catherine University internal grant
Role: Principle investigator
2011 - 2013 Montessori Partners Serving All Children
Better Way Foundation
Role: team member
Colleague(s): Mary Hearst, Renee Hepperlen
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Professional Service and Affiliations

2021 - Present Chair elect of Research Pillar, Feeding Matters
2012 - Present Medical Advisory Board Member, SPOON Foundation
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Honors and Awards

  • AOTA International Service Award 2022
  • Carol Easley Denny Award 2021


  • Master's project
  • Foundations of Research
  • Community and Advocacy: Ecuador
  • Community and Advocacy
  • Children, Adolescents, and Families (1 and 2)


2018 - Present MPH, St. Catherine University ‐ Public Health Department
2017 Ph.D, Nova Southeastern University
2007 MS, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts ‐ Master of Science, Occupational Therapy
1992 BA, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota ‐ Bachelor of Arts, Occupational Therapy

Contact Information

Phone: 651-690-6026


Publications (4)

Peer Reviewed Journal (4)

Book chapters (1)

Invited Presentations (1)

Presentation (2)