Curriculum Vitae

YDA J. SMITH, PhD portrait
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy & Athletic Training
  • Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Occupational & Recreational Therapies



  • Doctor of Philosophy, Education, Culture & Society, University of Utah. Project: They Bring Their Memories with Them: Somali Bantu Resettlement in a Globalized World
  • Master's in Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy, University of Puget Sound. Project: Cognitive Assessment
  • Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, Modern Dance, University of Utah

Honors & Awards

  • Community Service Outstanding Achievement Award. YWCA, 09/2014
  • Distinguished Mentor Award. University of Utah College of Health, 05/2014
  • Award for service to Salt Lake City Karen community. Karen Community of Utah , 12/31/2011
  • Award for service to community. Somali Bantu Association of Utah, 01/22/2011


Yda J. Smith, PhD, OTR/L has been a faculty member with the Division of Occupational Therapy at the University of Utah since the Fall of 1999.  She provides student-based services to assist people with refugee backgrounds as they adjust to life in America.  Her dissertation, through the Department of Education, Culture and Society, looked at the experiences of the Somali Bantu during their refugee resettlement process in Salt Lake City.  She also specializes in the restoration of normal movement for adults who have experienced a stroke and are hemiplegic.


  • University Neighborhood Partners - Hartland Partnership (UNP-Hartland), Supervision of OT students in life skills training, 2004 - present

In the Media


  • English, fluent.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Myanmar
  • Somalia
  • Thailand