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Crystal SmithTCU is delighted to welcome Crystal M. Smith, OTD., to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program.

As the new Assistant Professor of Professional Practice and Doctoral Capstone Coordinator, Smith brings a wealth of experience, passion and dedication to the role, promising to enrich the academic and professional community at TCU.

From Beaumont to Fort Worth: A Journey Rooted in Passion

Originally from Beaumont, Texas, and later calling Houston her home, Smith's journey into the field of occupational therapy (OT) began during her high school years. Inspired by her mother’s friend, an occupational therapist, she attended the Health Professions Outreach Program at Texas Woman’s University.

“It was there that I fell in love with the profession,” she recalls, marking the start of a fulfilling career dedicated to improving lives through OT.

Academic and Professional Excellence

Smith holds a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a master’s in English from Lamar University and a bachelor’s in occupational therapy from UTMB.

Her versatile background as an OT generalist spans post-acute care, long-term care, outpatient rehab, home health (both pediatric and geriatric), schools and managed care.

Before joining TCU, she worked with renowned organizations such as Texas Children’s Health Plan, Humana At Home, Pearland ISD, Encompass, Kids Developmental Therapy and Health South. She also has valuable teaching experience as an adjunct professor at San Jacinto College and Houston Community College.

Smith's primary research interest lies in evidence-based practice (EBP) and is eager to contribute to the body of research during her tenure at TCU.

“EBP can produce better health outcomes for clients, and it is a cornerstone of the OT profession. Moreover, there is the need for the generation of new evidence as new methods of intervention evolve," she explains.

A Return to TCU: Embracing Academic Excellence and Community

Smith is no stranger to TCU, having completed prerequisite courses for occupational therapy here before transferring to UTMB.

“Although it has been 27 years, TCU still feels like home,” she says, expressing her excitement about returning to a community known for its academic excellence and vibrant campus culture.

Attracted by TCU's values and the opportunity to expand her knowledge through interdisciplinary study, Smith aims to publish and present at conferences, aspiring to become an effective leader in her field.

“I am a life-long learner, and I am excited to work with and learn from leaders who excel in their respective fields.”

She plans to establish partnerships with individuals and organizations to promote the OTD program and secure premier Capstone placement opportunities for students.

“As a champion for TCU and OT, I hope to demonstrate the value of OT to the academic community and contribute to making the OTD program at TCU world-renowned," she states.

Beyond her academic responsibilities, Smith looks forward to engaging with students, staff and fellow faculty members through shared and new-found interests. She sees campus clubs, organizations and social events as excellent avenues for building strong community connections.

“I want future students to know that I love OT and I am passionate about what I do. I am reachable, and I am available to help – I am deeply invested in their learning and want them to succeed in our program,” she emphasizes.

Crystal M. Smith’s return to TCU as the Assistant Professor of Professional Practice and Doctoral Capstone Coordinator heralds a new chapter of excellence and innovation for the OTD program. Her extensive experience, combined with her passion for OT and commitment to TCU’s values, ensures a bright future for both the program and its students.

Welcome back, Dr. Smith – TCU is thrilled to have you!