Kersten Laughlin, OTD, OTR/L

Instructor, OT Programs


San Marcos, CA


College of Rehabilitative Sciences


Dementia Care
Mental Health


Doctor of Occupational Therapy, University of Indianapolis
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Purdue University

Dr. Laughlin is an occupational therapist who has a passion and interest in working in geriatrics, behavioral and mental health. Her passion for working with these populations stems from the opportunity to provide an environment where individuals feel empowered, supported and motivated to learn (or re-learn) the skills needed for engagement in one’s meaningful and desired occupations.

She is from Fort Wayne, IN and attended Purdue University (West Lafayette), where she received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2015. She then attended the University of Indianapolis and earned her Doctor of Occupational Therapy in 2018. Her doctoral capstone, titled “Doctoral Capstone Experience: A Narrative Medicine and Trauma-Informed Care Approach to Chronic Pain Management,” focused on staff education for the topics of narrative medicine, trauma-informed care and occupational therapy’s role in chronic pain management. She presented her capstone experience at the American Occupational Therapy Association National Conference in 2019.

Dr. Laughlin’s experience includes working in skilled nursing facilities, institutions for mental diseases and serving as a fieldwork educator. She moved to San Diego in 2019. Her most recent role involved program development for occupational therapy in a special treatment program. This program serves individuals with severe mental illnesses under conservatorship with the goal of rehabilitation and preparation for community reintegration.

She facilitated interventions such as guided meditation, functional literacy, instrumental activities of daily living skills, health maintenance, work skills, social participation and leisure exploration. She joined the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in May 2022.