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Center of Innovation on Disability & Rehab Research (CINDRR)

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Lisa Ottomanelli, PhD

photo Lisa Ottomanelli

Clinical Psychologist
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Dr. Lisa Ottomanelli is a clinical psychologist at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital and Clinics and an Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She received her PhD from Texas Tech University and completed her internship at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center.  She has over 20 years of clinical and research experience in the area of disability and rehabilitation with an emphasis on spinal cord injury (SCI).

Dr. Ottomanelli’s research focuses on the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based practices to restore employment and community reintegration of Veterans with SCI and other disabilities. She served as the principal investigator of two consecutive multi-site, service-directed VA research projects, including the first randomized trial of vocational rehabilitation in SCI.  She extended this work to examine best practices for improving outcomes and implementation of individual placement and support (IPS) supported employment for Veterans with SCI, including producing a guide for VA clinicians and a toolkit for use by both VA and non-VA clinicians (see links above).

Her work, which has advanced and supported VA policy changes that have expanded evidence-informed employment services for Veterans with physical impairments, has been recognized with the following awards:

  • 2013 Elizabeth and Sidney Licht Award of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine 
  • 2016 Clinical Excellence Award of the Paralyzed Veterans of America 
  • 2020 Essie Morgan Excellence Award of the Psychologists, Social Workers, & Counselors Section of the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals