North Building aerialThe occupational therapy and physical therapy programs will be housed in CUAA's North Building, 3475 Plymouth Road.

With the addition of two new department heads in recent weeks, Concordia University Ann Arbor’s fifth academic school—a School of Health Professions—continues its positive momentum and development toward an exciting future in preparing the next generation of health care professionals.

Concordia has hired directors for its newest graduate professional programs, doctorate of occupational therapy (OTD) and doctorate of physical therapy (DPT). Juliane (Julie) Chreston, program director for occupational therapy, and Robert Frampton, program director for physical therapy, officially joined the CUAA faculty on January 1, 2020.

“We have had school of health professions presence on the Ann Arbor campus for a while, with program offerings such as social work, radiologic technology, and diagnostic medical sonography,” said Dr. Bill Cario, provost and chief academic officer of Concordia University. “The addition of the graduate professional programs strengthens and broadens Concordia’s health care offerings in Ann Arbor, and builds on CUAA’s graduate academic programming. We look forward to serving students and our Michigan communities by offering these new programs.”

Included in the school of health professions (SHP) are current undergraduate offerings social work, diagnostic medical sonography, and radiologic technology. In addition to the OTD and DPT graduate programs within SHP, CUAA is also currently in the professional accreditation process for a master of science in physician assistant studies.

Earlier this academic year, CUAA also welcomed Jackie Kazik as its director of physician assistant studies. Kazik moved to Michigan to take the reins of CUAA’s PA program after successfully steering Concordia University Wisconsin’s PA program through years of success.

Construction of the new PA program wing in CUAA’s North Building is nearly complete. The PA program is still in the process of provisional accreditation, and will not be accepting applications until accreditation has been granted, then anticipating matriculating the first cohort in January of 2021.

Director of Occupational Therapy – Julie Chreston

Julie ChrestonBringing with her 25 years of occupational therapist experience, Julie Chreston received a certificate in occupational therapy from Wayne State University before earning her master of science in health education from the University of Michigan—Flint and then going on to earn a post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy from Chatham University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

As CUAA’s director, Chreston will lead the state of Michigan’s first Christian-based occupational therapy program when launched in fall 2022, pending successful candidacy status by Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). As a three-year program including 24 weeks of clinical field work and a 14-week capstone experience, the program will incorporate interprofessional collaboration, clinical simulation, and community engagement.

“Many people are confused by the word ‘occupation’ and assume that this means we help people get jobs. The term occupation actually refers to the roles and routines that give our lives meaning,” explains Chreston, who is eager to familiarize the CUAA community with the field of occupational therapy. “While ‘employee’ is one occupation many of us have, we also have occupations or roles such as being a student, friend, son or daughter, sibling, Christian, and many more. Occupational therapists are experts at analyzing the tasks we need to do to fulfill these roles, along with our unique personal skills and abilities and the environment to find solutions that allow us to function in the best way possible.”

Learn more about CUAA’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.

Director of Physical Therapy – Robert Frampton

Robert FramptonRobert “Dr. Bob” Frampton comes to CUAA from Alliance, Ohio where he served as the director of physical therapy at the University of Mount Union. Frampton earned his master of physical therapy and doctor of health care ethics from Duquesne University of the Holy Ghost in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He also received a graduate certificate in medical ethics from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio.

With a tentative start date for summer 2023, pending professional accreditation, students can expect an accelerated program that runs 12 months out of the year. Along with a focus in acceleration, Frampton says that interprofessional practice will be a hallmark of the program.

Frampton advises students interested in pursuing a doctorate of physical therapy to work hard to meet the prerequisite requirements, primarily those in the natural sciences, as well as observe physical therapists to ensure this is the right field of study for them.

Along with working with the Commission of Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, Frampton is leading the charge on developing the DPT program coursework and syllabi before he begins the search for qualified faculty.

“I have enjoyed meeting faculty from across the campus, and look forward to collaborating with others as time progresses,” said Frampton.

Learn more about the programs and degrees offered at Concordia University Ann Arbor:

— Rachel Thoms served on Concordia University's Strategic Communications team from 2015-2022. Any inquiries about this story can be sent to

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.