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

Research Summary

Current research is in the area of refugee resettlement in an American city with a focus on the role of occupational therapy in assisting with the adaptation process. Data collection and analysis are based, primarily, on qualitative research methods and goal attainment scaling.


  • 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


Yda J. Smith, PhD, OTR/L has been a faculty member with the Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies 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.