Meet Mary Ann, Occupational Therapist

It is a time for us to pause and recognize those special people who help children with physical challenges gain independence.  We are delighted to introduce you to the extraordinary Occupational Therapy team at our Northern California Shriners Hospital. These are the individuals who work one-on-one with children so they can dress themselves, feed themselves, bathe themselves, use a computer, hold a pen and so much more. Sometimes it is the job of the occupational therapist to  teach the child without hands how to button a shirt using prostheses. Our occupational therapists fit children with adaptive devices, engage patients in play to help them improve fine motor skills.   With extensive experience in evaluating patient needs, our occupational therapists recognize that each child is unique, and they chart a course of care based  on the individual needs of each patient.  The individual paths may be different but the goal is always the same – help put children on the road to independence.

Name:  Mary Ann O’Dell

Occupation/Title: Occupational Therapist II

Interests / Hobbies: Shutterfly photo projects and playing with my daughters.

When did you start working at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California? 1992! As of this June, I will have worked at Shriners for half of my life!

Why did you choose to become an Occupational Therapist? I always wanted to be in a “helping” profession, and I liked that Occupational Therapy combines physical and psychological focus, to help people be more independent in their lives.

Can you share a bit about what makes your job so rewarding? I love finding creative ways to help kids be more independent in a meaningful way for them and it’s a bonus if I can get them to laugh or smile along the way.

How would you describe a good day at work? Teaching someone how to do something that they could never do before and feeling gratitude from the kids and their families. Feeling like I made a difference in their lives.

What would you like the community to know about Shriners Hospitals for Children-Northern California? I work with an incredible therapy staff, as well as doctors and nurses who are all here to help improve the lives of children. They are dedicated, caring and always striving to provide the best possible outcome for our patients and families.

Anything else you want to share about your job? I can’t imagine working anywhere else! I love being able to help kids and families, without having to worry about adding extra financial burden to them, due the generosity of the Shriners system. I love being able to “make a difference” everyday I work. I love working with such an excellent group of Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists who I can learn from everyday. I love working with Medical Staff who appreciate their Occupational Therapists. Thank you, Shriners!


Thank you, Mary Ann ! You are making a difference in the lives of our patients and we appreciate you.

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Please call our Referral Center to schedule an appointment, call (916) 453-2191 or via email at A Referral Coordinator will partner with you to gather the necessary information to allow our physician leadership to evaluate the best path for your child.
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