Where Are They Now: Alicia Reiser, OTD ‘18
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Where Are They Now: Alicia Reiser, OTD ‘18

Alicia Reiser on the beach

Alicia Reiser, MS, OTR/L, OTD ‘18, ADHD-RSP, was looking for the “missing piece” in her career. And, she found it in the Salus University Post-professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) program’s Remedial Vision Rehabilitation: Pediatrics and Acquired Brain Injury track.

Originally from Connecticut, Dr. Reiser completed her undergraduate degree in biology from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, then her Master of Occupational Therapy (OT) from Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania. For the next 16 years, she was a practicing OT predominately treating the neurological population.

Alicia Reiser in front of building“We kept treating concussions and I knew there was some sort of visual component that we were always missing and there were no eye care providers in the area that treated concussion-related vision disorders,” said Dr. Reiser.

That’s how she ended up in Salus’ first remedial OTD track in 2017, under the guidance of Mitchell Scheiman, OD, PhD ‘16, FAAO, FCOVD, director of graduate programs in biomedicine and dean of Research at Salus.

“The whole idea of getting the doctorate in vision allowed me to be able to perform the missing piece, working alongside optometry so that we could do the remedial vision treatment that I was looking to do,” said Dr. Reiser.

After completing her doctorate, she opened her own private practice in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, called A Rise Above Occupational Therapy Services, where she offers concussion rehabilitation and treats neurological disorders. The business continues to expand as Dr. Reiser has hired two more OTs and a physical therapist (PT).

In addition, Dr. Reiser has also opened a consulting business with a co-worker to help those interested in incorporating the vision aspect into their OT practices.

Alicia Reiser in classroom“We think it’s a great model to have the OT and the optometrist together because you get the best of both worlds,” she said. “Optometry has experts in the vision professions and OTs have experts on function, so when you integrate the two models together, it works really well.”

Dr. Reiser believes Dr. Scheiman’s idea of having OTs and optometrists work together is still in its infancy in terms of making the model work, but she believes her business has contributed to proving the model’s effectiveness.

She jokes that her husband would say that she doesn’t have any outside interests because she’s working all the time, but when Dr. Reiser does get some time to herself, she enjoys time at the beach and being outdoors in general.

Dr. Reiser is an ADHD-certified rehabilitation services provider, a Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) BIG certified clinician, an interactive metronome certified clinician, and an interception awareness clinician.

She does not doubt that the Salus OTD program enabled her to advance her career and do what she wanted to do working with optometry.

“I’m doing what Salus envisioned the program to do by collaborating with other disciplines in the eye care world,” she said. “It’s very exciting because tons of evidence is coming out that vision therapy is effective and that people are becoming more accepting of it. We can enhance the field of OT by looking at the client factor of vision and help the profession of optometry at the same time.”