Rehabilitation Medicine Class Notes

Catch up with your classmates! Class Notes are a great place to see what your fellow alumni have been up to, whether it’s professional news like new positions or award and publication announcements, or personal updates about marriages, kids (and grandkids) or retirement. Whatever you want to know about your fellow UW School of Medicine alumni, Class Notes are the place to start.

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Occupational Therapy


Roger Isamu Ideishi, JD, BS ’84 (occupational therapy), writes, “In 2022, I was named one of the ‘Next 50’ people by the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, for making a significant social impact through the arts. I guide arts organizations and advocates for accessibility and inclusion with people with disabilities at a programmatic, institutional and policy level across the country and the globe, including in Japan, China, UK, Ireland, Romania and Russia.”


Catherine Kouchakji, PhD, MPH, BSOT ’86, shares her inspiring journey shaped by resilience. Growing up in poverty and experiencing childhood trauma, she lacked the resources many others took for granted. Taking a detour from the traditional path, she worked in Alaska’s fish processing industry for a year after high school to fund her dream of attending medical school. Back then, the support for women pursuing medical degrees was not as robust as it is today, leaving her with little mentorship or financial assistance.

Following her time in Alaska, Dr. Kouchakji worked in the burn unit at Harborview, and stayed there for several years. Her journey led her to California, where she continued her education, earning a PhD and MPH. Returning to her roots in Seattle, she completed her post-doctoral training through UW Medicine. The UW community played a pivotal role in her academic and professional development. Her connection to the university deepened when her son gained acceptance to the UWSOM and experienced strong support.

As a lifelong learner, Dr. Kouchakji found her niche in the early diagnosis of cancer. She actively contributes to the education of medical students across WWAMI on the critical subject of early cancer detection. The sense of community at UW has always resonated with her, and she is eager to give back. Driven by a passion to empower young women, she is committed to supporting and mentoring those aspiring to a medical career. Her goal is to demonstrate that, regardless of obstacles, there is always a pathway to realizing one’s dreams. Through her experiences, she aims to inspire and guide the next generation of female medical professionals, emphasizing that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.


Marina Picinich, MOT ’89, writes, “Becoming an OT…one of the best choices I’ve made! I love being an OT! I started in adult physical disabilities and became a dementia specialist. I am now in schools and loving it. OT was the best career choice for me! This year of COVID has been interesting…

  • Remote work
  • Three of my four children experienced COVID graduations (dental school at UWMC, nursing school at Grand Canyon University, high school and Running Start)
  • One of my children is getting married, with all the functions adhering to COVID regulations (showers, rehearsal, wedding, etc.)

What a year!”


Troy C. Shelton, BS ’96 (occupational therapy), writes, “In 2022, I was honored as the Top Occupational Therapist of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals for my accomplishments related to my profession and my continued path of going above and beyond for helping patients heal utilizing functional and energy medicine as well as traditional hand therapy.”

Physical Therapy


Marsha M. Novak, BS ’85 (physical therapy), writes, “About two years ago, I retired my physical therapist license. In 2003, I became a Guild Certified Feldenkrais practitioner. I continue with a small private practice doing that work as well as mentoring newer Feldenkrais practitioners. I live and practice on Bainbridge Island, where I live with my husband and two fur babies of the feline persuasion.”