Rehabilitation Research Career Development (RRCD) Program

photo of woman

Joy Agner, PhD, OTR/L Scholar Bio

Research Assistant Professor
Chan Division of Occupational Science and
Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California  

Research Areas

Health system and policy-level interventions to improve health and quality of life for populations with complex, co-occurring health vulnerabilities.



Lead Mentor

E. Pyatak, PhD, OTR/L


  • 2020 Hawai'i at Mānoa PhD
  • 2017 Hawai'i at Mānoa MA
  • 2012 University of North Carolina MS
  • 2006 Pacific University BS

Current Research Funding

NIH/NICHD K12 HD055929, PI K. Ottenbacher 2021 - Present: Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program K12 Scholar

Recent Publications

Agner, J. (2021). An examination of community psychology values and their application to community-based participatory research. Global Journal of Community Psychology, 12(1), 1-10.

Patil, U., Kostareva, U., Hadley, M., Manganello, J. A., Okan, O., Dadaczynski, K., Massey, P.M., Agner, J., Sentell, T. (2021). Health Literacy, Digital Health Literacy, and COVID-19 Pandemic Attitudes and Behaviors in U.S. College Students: Implications for Interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(6), 3301. doi:10.3390/ijerph18063301

Sentell, T., Agner, J., Davis, J., Mannem, S., Seto, T., Valente, T., Kennedy, F., Vawer, M., & Taira, D. (2021). Social networks in patients hospitalized with preventable conditions for heart disease and diabetes in Hawai‘i by health literacy. Chronic Illness. Online preprint.

Agner, J., Barile, J., Botero, A., Cha, T., Herrera, N., Kaukau, T.M., Nakamura, L., Inada, M., Hawai‘i Clubhouse Coalition (2020). Understanding the role of mental health Clubhouses in promoting wellness and health equity using Pilinahā – An indigenous framework for health. American Journal of Community Psychology. 66(2). DOI:10.1002/ajcp.12457

Agner, J., Barile, J., Chandler, S., & Berry, M. (2020). Innovation in child welfare: Factors affecting implementation of evidence-based programs. Children and Youth Services Review. 119(1), 105580 DOI:10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105580

Agner, J., Pirkle, C., Irvin, L., Maddock, J., Buchthal, V., Starr, R., Sentell, T. (2020) The Healthy Hawai‘i Initiative: Insights from two decades of building a culture of health in a multicultural state. BMC Public Health. 20(1) DOI:10.1186/s12889-019-8078-1

Agner, J. (2020). Moving from cultural competence to cultural humility in occupational therapy: A Paradigm Shift. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 74(4), 1-10.

Sentell, T., Agner, J., Pitt., R., Guo, M., & McFarlane, E. (2020). Considering health literacy, health decision-making, and health communication in the social networks of vulnerable new mothers in Hawai‘i: A pilot feasibility study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 17(7), 2356. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17072356