Ruediger Name Interim Program Director of LMU Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

OTD Students

Dr. Deborah RuedigerThe Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) Dean and Chief Academic Officer Christopher J. Loyke, DO, FACOFP, has appointed Deborah Ruediger, OTD, OTR/L, CHSE, interim director of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program.

“I am delighted to announce that Dr. Deborah Ruediger has agreed to accept the role of interim director as we continue through our next steps in the program accreditation process,” Loyke said. “This is an important period for the development of the OTD program at LMU and I believe Dr. Ruediger will serve the students and faculty well and help us reach our goals.”

Ruediger will lead the entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program, which has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), as it continues the path to Accreditation Status. The OTD program welcomed its third class of students in May and now has a total enrollment of 136 students. The inaugural class is slated to graduate on April 27, 2024.

In addition to accreditation, Ruediger will lead faculty and curricular development, teach courses and oversee all OTD operations.  She joined LMU in August 2022 as assistant professor and director of innovation following a tenure as assistant professor of Health Sciences at the University of St. Augustine since 2018. Previously, she served as an adjunct professor at Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, Michigan.

Ruediger regularly engages in professional development activities, attending and presenting at conferences. She has been published in online journals and in text books and is affiliated organizations including the Tennessee Occupational Therapy Association, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, Society for Simulation in Healthcare, Florida Occupational Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association. Ruediger has been recognized as the Innovation Steering Committee Recipient of Pilot Grant for the use of Virtual Reality in an Assistive Technology Course and the recipient of the Board of Directors Excellence in Innovation for Faculty award in 2020.

Prior to her academic career, Ruediger served as a registered occupational therapist at various organizations and care facilities from 2003-2018. She earned an Associate of liberal arts and sciences from Joliet Junior College, a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy (cum laude) from Saginaw Valley State University and a post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy (PPOTD) from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Ruediger is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Technology and Design from Walden University.

The OTD program is a full-time 36-month curriculum that includes didactic and clinical training as well as a capstone project. The curriculum is taught by experienced occupational therapists, who hold a wide range of specialties and interests. Upon earning the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy, students are given the opportunity to meet eligibility requirements for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

For more information on the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program go to:

The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee and at LMU-Knoxville in Knoxville, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often-underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7082, email, or visit us online at


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