Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Catherine Lysack

Photo for Catherine Lysack
Deputy Director, IOG and Professor of Occupational Therapy
Office Location
Knapp Building, Room 231
Office Phone
Bio Sketch

Cathy Lysack, Ph.D., O.T.(C), is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Gerontology (IOG) and a Professor in the Department of Health Care Sciences (Occupational Therapy) at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  Dr. Lysack is an occupational therapist by clinical training and received her PhD in Community Health Sciences from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. She joined the University as an Assistant Professor in 1997.

Research Focus

My research focuses on understanding the social and cultural forces that influence health and well-being in aging adults and people with disabilities.  I have particular expertise in spinal cord injury and the process of adaptation and achieving community participation and integration into community life after injury.  I also study late-life developmental disruptions in older adults related to mobility loss, depression and frailty.  My overall goal is to improve clinical rehabilitation practices and to identify the strategies individuals use to achieve meaningful lives in the community despite significant health problems and functional loss.

Areas of Expertise

Aging, rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, downsizing residential moves

Courses Taught

research methods, health and aging


Ph.D. University of Manitoba. Community Health Sciences, 1993-1997
M.Sc. Queen's University. Rehabilitation, 1990-1992 
B.M.R.(O.T.) University of Manitoba. Occupational Therapy, 1985-1988
B.A. University of Manitoba. Philosophy, 1981-1984




 Peer Reviewed Publications (Recent Selected, from n=60)

Fritz, H. Bertran, E., Pociask, F.D., Tarakji, S., Arnetz, J., Lysack, C.L., & Jaber, L.A. (2016). Diabetes self-management among Arab-Americans: Patient and provider perspectives.BMC International Health and Human Rights, 16(22), 1-7. doi:10.1186/s12914-016-0097-8

Betran, E., Fritz, H., Abbas,.M., Arnetz, J., Lysack, C., Pociask, F., Dizazzo-Miller, R., Tarakji, S. & Jaber, L. (2015). The impact of Arab-American culture of diabetes self-management education. The Diabetes Educator. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0145721715607356

Fritz, H., Dillaway, H., & Lysack, C. (2015). "Don't think paralysis takes away your womanhood." Sexual intimacy after SCI.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(2), 1-10.doi: 10.5014/ajot..2015.015040

Lysack, C. & Lichtenberg, P. (2014). Introduction of Innovations in Clinical Practice with Older Adults. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 28(1), 1-3.
Tiernan, C., Lysack, C., Neufeld, S., Goldberg, A., Lichtenberg, P. (2014).  Falls efficacy and self-rated health in older African American adults. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 58, 88-94.

Fritz, H., Lysack, C., Luborsky, M., & Messinger, S. (2014). Long-term community reintegration: Concepts, outcomes, and dilemmas in the case of a military service member with a spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(16),1501-1507. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2014.967415 

Fritz, H., & Lysack, C. (2014). “I see it now”: Using photo elicitation to understand chronic illness self-management. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81(4), 247-255. doi:10.1177/0008417414540517

Ficker, L., Lysack, C., Hanna, M., & Lichtenberg, P. (2014). Perceived cognitive impairment among African American elders: Health and functional impairments in daily life. Aging & Mental Health, 18(4), 471-480. DOI 10.1080/13607863.2013.856859.
Tiernan, C., Lysack, C., Neufeld, S., & Lichtenberg, P. (2013). Community engagement: An essential component of well-being in older African American adults. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 77(3), 233-257.
Lysack, C., Neufeld, S., & Dillaway, H. (2013). Do risk perceptions explain sex differences in community integration and participation after spinal cord injury? Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. DOI 10.1179/2045772313Y.0000000146
Lysack, C., Leach, C., Russo, T, Paulson, D., & Lichtenberg, P. (2013). DVD training for depression identification and treatment in older adults: A two group randmoized waitlist control study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67, 584-593.
Dillaway, H., Cross, K., Lysack, C. & Schwartz, J. (2012). Normal and natural, or burdensome and terrible? Women with spinal cord injuries discuss the ambiguous meanings of menstruation. Sex Roles, Online First DOI 10.1007/s11199-011-0092-4.
Luborsky, M., Lysack, C., & Van Nuil, J. (2011). Refashioning one�s place in time: Stories of household downsizing in later life. Journal of Aging Studies, 25(3), 243-252.
Ekerdt, D., Luborsky, M., & Lysack, C. (2011). Safe passage of goods and self during residential relocation in later life. Ageing & Society, Firstview: DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X11000705.
Lysack, C., Neufeld, S., & Machacova, K. (2011). Self-rated health among spinal cord injury survivors: Directions for future research. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 17(12), 588-593.
Lysack, C., Lichtenberg, P., & Schneider, B. (2011). Effectiveness of a DVD intervention on therapists' mental health practices with older adults. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(3), 297-305.

Machacova, K., Neufeld, S., & Lysack, C. (2011). Self-rated health among persons with spinal cord injury: What is the role of physical ability? Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 34(1), 1-8.

Cernin, P., Lysack, C. & Lichtenberg, P.A. (2011). Comparison of self-rated and objectively measured successful aging constructs in an urban sample of African American older adults. Clinical Gerontologist, 34, 89-102.

Neufeld, S. & Lysack, C. (2010). The �RISCI�: Development and preliminary validation of a risk assessment tool for spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, Disability and Rehabilitation, 32(3), 230-238.

Lysack, C., Komanecky, M., Kabel, A., Cross, K., & Neufeld, S. (2007). Environmental factors and their role in community integration after spinal cord injury. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74, 243-254.

Cross, K., Kabel, A., & Lysack, C. (2006). Images of self and spinal cord injury: Exploring drawing as a visual method in disability research. Visual Studies, 21(2), 183-193.

Byrnes, M., Lichtenberg, P., & Lysack, C. (2006). Environmental press, aging in place,and residential satisfaction of urban older adults. Journal of Applied Sociology, 23(2), 50-77.

Neufeld, S. & Lysack, C. (2006). Investigating differences among older adults' access to specialized rehabilitation services, Journal of Aging and Health, 18(4), 584-603.

Helfrich, C., Finlayson, M. & Lysack, C. (2005). Using a mentoring community to build programs of research: Lessons learned and recommendations from the CORE experience, Journal of Allied Health. On-line at: June 2005 Supplementary Data.

Lysack, C., Dama, M., Neufeld, S., & Andreassi, E. (2005). Compliance and satisfaction with home exercise: A comparison of computer-assisted video instruction and routine rehabilitation practice. Journal of Allied Health, 34(2), 76-82.

Neufeld, S., & Lysack, C., MacNeill, S., & Lichtenberg, P. (2004). Living arrangement decisions at hospital discharge and later: Differences in criteria and outcomes. Home Health Care Services Quarterly, 23(4), 29-47.

Neufeld, S., & Lysack, C. (2004). Allocation of rehabilitation resources: Who gets a home evaluation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58(6), 630-638.

Siporin, S. & Lysack, C. (2004). Quality of life and supported employment: A case study of three women with developmental disabilities. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58(4), 455-465.

Lichtenberg, P.A., MacNeill, S.E., Lysack, C.L., Bank, A.L., & Neufeld, S.W. (2003). Predicting discharge and long term outcome patterns for frail elders. Rehabilitation Psychology, 48(1), 37-43.

Lysack, C., Neufeld, S., Mast, B., MacNeill, S., & Lichtenberg, P. (2003). After rehabilitation: An 18-month follow-up of elderly inner-city women. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(3), 298-306.

Lysack, C. & Neufeld, S. (2003). Occupational therapist home evaluations: Inequalities, but doing the best we can? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(4), 369-379.

Lysack, C., & Seipke, H. (2002). Communicating the occupational self: A qualitative study of oldest-old American women. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 9, 130-139.

Lysack, C., Neufeld, S., Lichtenberg, P., & MacNeill, S. (2002). At risk in old age: Elderly men who live alone. Clinical Gerontologist, 24(3/4), 77-92.

Lysack, C., MacNeill, S., Neufeld, S., & Lichtenberg, P. (2002). The functional recovery of elderly urban inner city women. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 22(2), 59-69.

Duggan, C., Lysack, C., Dijkers, M., & Jeji, T. (2002). Daily life in a nursing home: Impact on perceived quality of life after a recent spinal cord injury. Topics in Spinal Cord Rehabilitation, 7(3), 112-131.

Lysack, C., Zafonte, C., Neufeld, S., & Dijkers, M. (2001). Self-care independence after spinal cord injury: Patient and therapist expectations and real life performance. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 24(4), 257-265.

Invited Book Chapters

Pellerito, J., & Lysack, C. (2005). The role of the automobile in American culture, Ch. 3. In: J. Pellerito (Ed.), Driver Rehabilitation and Community Mobility: Principles and Practice, Elsevier Mosby.

Luborsky, M. & Lysack, C. (2006). Overview of qualitative research, Ch. 19. In: G. Kielhofner (Ed.), Scholarship in Occupational Therapy: Methods of Inquiry for Enhancing Practice. F.A. Davis.

Lysack, C., Luborsky, M., & Dillaway, H. (2006). Gathering qualitative data, Ch. 20. In: G. Kielhofner (Ed.), Scholarship in Occupational Therapy: Methods of Inquiry for Enhancing Practice. F.A. Davis.

Dillaway, H., Lysack, C., & Luborsky, M. (2006). Qualitative approaches to interpreting and reporting data, Ch. 22. In: G. Kielhofner (Ed.), Scholarship in Occupational Therapy: Methods of Inquiry for Enhancing Practice. F.A. Davis.

Lysack, C. (2008). Socioeconomic factors and their influence on occupational performance. In E. Crepeau, E. Cohn & B. Schell (Eds) Willard and Spackman�s Occupational Therapy (11th edition). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Lysack, C. & Dillaway, H. (2008). The place of exercise in the everyday lives of aging women and women with physical disabilities (Ch.1). In J.P. Coulter (Eds)�s Progress in Exercise and Women�s Health Research. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers Inc.

Dillaway, H. & Lysack, C. (2010). Psychosocial issues in women�s health. In M. O�Connell (Ed.)�s Women�s Health Across the Lifespan. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacistss.

Dizazzo-Miller, R., & Lysack, C. (2010). Assessment of Roles and Context: Personal, Social and Cultural, Ch.6. In R. Dizazzo-Miller & J. Pellerito�s (editors), Preparing for the Occupational Therapy National Board Exam: 45 Days and Counting. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Lysack, C. (2010). Household and Neighborhood Safety, Mobility, Ch.23. In P. Lichtenberg (Ed)�s Handbook of Assessment in Clinical Gerontology. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.