Prior to joining University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in 2021 at the Austin campus, Tiffany Bystra was a Staff Occupational Therapist for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Her clinical work largely entailed general acute care, including medical/surgical populations, orthopedics, oncology, trauma and critical care. She is specialty-trained in dysphagia practice and has facilitated bedside and video fluoroscopic swallow studies with patients experiencing swallowing dysfunction.
As a late-stage cancer survivor, Bystra has a deep appreciation of therapy and rehabilitation involvement for oncology patients across the care continuum. To better understand how to support patients during vulnerable clinical encounters, she earned a Narrative Medicine certification through Columbia University in New York, which seeks to reinforce patient-centered care models through themes of empathy building, medical humanities and close listening. Bystra has engaged in social work curriculum to address the mental health needs of the oncology population and empower professional advocacy through legislative and policy engagement.
In addition to her clinical experience, she has served as an Occupational Therapy Teaching Specialist for the University of Minnesota, where she facilitated fieldwork experiences and clinical instruction both in-field and via telehealth formats.
Bystra’s research interests include psychosocial oncology and cancer survivorship, resilience in complex medical journeys, post-intensive care syndrome and quality-of-life indications in chronic disease management.
She has a Master of Occupational Therapy degree and a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary health services from Western Michigan University. She also attained a Certificate of Professional Achievement in narrative medicine from Columbia University, NY.