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Speaker Spotlight: Lori Goodrich

We are so excited to welcome Lori Goodrich as a featured speaker at our 2023 IE Symposium. Lori will be presenting our virtual course, Course B: Introduction to Clinical Reasoning for Effective Eating and Mealtime Participation Using The FOCUS Program on Thursday, February 23rd. Continue reading to learn more about Lori’s background and start in occupational therapy.

Finding her Passion

Lori comes from a family of educators and scientists and entertained many career choices growing up including biomedical engineering and physical therapy. However, once Lori learned about occupational therapy (OT) she knew it was for her. Lori was drawn to the blend of humanity and science and the opportunity OT would give her to help people. Lori continues to be passionate about OT and feels like this is exactly what she is meant to do.

Lori received her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy at Quinnipiac University. During her fieldwork experiences, she fell in love with the pediatric population and felt passionate about working with kids. The opportunity to help children by potentially changing the trajectory of their life was very appealing to Lori and the “play is therapy” modality resonated strongly with her as well. Upon graduation, she spent a few years working at a very small clinic in New York. After a few years, she realized she wanted to work somewhere that could help her grow more as a therapist. In 2005 she began working at The Koomar Center (previously OTA-Watertown). Lori worked at The Koomar Center until 2022 and held many different clinical, administrative, and leadership roles.

Focus on Eating and Mealtime

While working at The Koomar Center Lori specialized in sensory integration and eventually expanded into a focus on eating and mealtime interventions. As she did, she experienced her clients’ needs as being complex and often misunderstood. With a goal of understanding how to best support and understand her clients, she extended her learning into a variety of areas including oral motor, parent coaching, trauma-informed practices, neurodevelopmental treatment, and even craniosacral therapy. As she learned, Lori focused on ways to put concepts together in a way to support the unique needs of her clients, as well as to mentor and support The Koomar Center therapeutic team on account of a growing number of clients and families with eating and mealtime needs. Simultaneously, Lori and The Koomar Center had a growing connection within the eating disorder community in the Boston area with the addition of Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) in 2013. At this time, it felt essential to articulate the unique role of OTs and the whole body integrated model that Lori, together with her colleagues, had been exploring and utilizing with a variety of clients with eating and mealtime goals. This led to Lori collaborating with Teresa May-Benson to co-develop The FOCUS Program for Eating and Mealtime Success, which will be the focus of her course at the IE Symposium.

Lori continues to be actively practicing OT in community-based settings, as well as providing mentoring, education, and consultation within the professional community. As her career evolved, she expanded her practice to work with adolescents and adults to support eating and mealtime needs and beyond.

Learning for Life

When asked about who her mentors were, Lori shared she has been most influenced by her long-time mentor Peg Ingolia, who provided a safe place to wonder, think, and ask questions. Their time together fostered Lori’s ability to learn “how to think about how to think” and supported her in developing her own professional identity and approach to her work. Lori was also influenced by Teresa May-Benson, who modeled excellence in learning and teaching, as well as Jane Koomar, who modeled evolving thinking in clinical practice and seeing the unique offerings that each therapist brings to their clients. Lori considers herself a lifelong learner and is grateful for the opportunity to learn from these individuals, as well as from her clients and colleagues.

Lori’s clinical experience and mentoring eventually opened the door to teaching opportunities. She is active in her community by providing local workshops for parents and professionals, as well as guest lectures at local colleges and universities. Her teaching experience extends into providing courses in the therapeutic community and presenting at national conferences for a variety of professionals. Lori also provides collaborative educational opportunities and consultations for different organizations, including a local dietitian/psychotherapist practice and Seed and Sew, an organization that focuses on early emotional development in young children.

Join Lori on Thursday, February 23rd where she will present her virtual course, Course B: Introduction to Clinical Reasoning for Effective Eating and Mealtime Participation Using The FOCUS Program. Click here for more information on this course and to register today!



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