Karen Aranha, PhD, OT

Associate Professor, OT Programs


Austin, TX


College of Rehabilitative Sciences


Neurological Rehabilitation


PhD, Texas Tech University
Master of Science, Texas Tech University
Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, Texas Tech University

Research Interests

Neuro rehabilitation, with a focus on neuroplasticity and postural control
Addressing health disparities in in the Global South and under resourced communities

Dr. Karen Aranha has been an occupational therapist for more than 25 years with experience in clinical rehabilitation and teaching. She has a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, a Master of Science in Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences in the biomechanics track, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development and Family Studies, with a specialization in gerontology and human agency of the older adult from Texas Tech University.

She has international experience, and has taken students on medical humanity trips to Guatemala, Nicaragua, and the U.S./ Mexico border town of Laredo. From 2000-2001 she lived in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and worked with people and organizations across the life span. Dr. Aranha’s experiences in Zimbabwe and the global south have motivated her to advocate for individuals who are under-resourced and the disabled in the Global South. In 2016, during her tenure with the University of Texas Medical Branch, she started a student-led occupational therapy pro bono clinic for people without resources in Galveston.

Dr. Aranha is on the Board of Occupational Therapy Benevolence Endowment, an organization that seeks to help occupational therapy professionals in times of crisis. As an occupational therapist and an investigator, her expertise is in neurorehabilitation and finding ways to address neuroplasticity with people with acquired neurological lesions, community health, and global health.