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Occupational therapist in mask handing patient thickened water in an exam room

Trainee experience

The Occupational Therapy Dysphagia Fellowship at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, is a full-time 54-week program. As a fellow, you will experience more than 1,500 hours of clinical practice and an additional 500 hours of individual mentored time from highly trained occupational therapists. Didactic and laboratory education is integrated throughout the curriculum. Other curriculum content and directed learning activities include assisting with professional development, clinical mentoring and teaching occupational therapy students, and observing other medical specialty practices.

Requirements for fellowship completion include attending and presenting at journal clubs and educational Grand Rounds, as well as completing a final project. Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is committed to developing and maintaining the best education programs. The curriculum and other aspects of this program are assessed constantly and changed as necessary to ensure the highest quality training.

Schedule and hours

You will work 44 to 50 hours a week. Schedules may vary from week to week and include:

  • Mentored clinical time
  • Didactics
  • Research
  • Learning and development opportunities such as teaching surgical observation and journal clubs

Independent learning and assignments may occur outside of this time frame.

Department and faculty

The Occupational Therapy Dysphagia Fellowship at Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is coordinated and taught by the clinical staff of Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. Faculty members are chosen for their commitment to teaching, clinical practice and research. Many are board-certified specialists or specialty certified by the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Stephanie Kannas, OTD, OTR/L, CHT
Program Director

Janelle Hatlevig, OTR/L, BCPR
Program Coordinator

A hallmark of higher education excellence is the breadth and depth of information and experience provided to you by faculty and visiting experts. Many prominent professors visit Mayo Clinic each year to lecture on their areas of medical and scientific expertise.

As a fellowof Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, you are encouraged to learn from these valuable resources by attending all conferences, lectures, and seminars prepared for students, residents, fellows, and consulting staff.


Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, includes an extensive outpatient complex, Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, and substantial research and education facilities. This Mayo Clinic site is among the largest, most advanced medical centers in the world.

You will spend the majority of your time at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus, as well as rotate through Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Methodist Campus.


The Occupational Therapy Dysphagia Fellowship uses these evaluative tools:

  • Written examination
  • Demonstration of skills
  • Self-assessment exercises
  • Faculty reviews

Mayo's system of evaluation provides students and faculty with a comprehensive look at individual performance. This allows faculty and administrative staff to direct fellows who are experiencing academic difficulty to the appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities in student services through the Mayo Clinic School of Health Science.

Graduation and certification

Upon successful completion of the Occupational Therapy Dysphagia Fellowship, you will receive a certificate of completion from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. You may use your fellowship experience to work towards the American Occupational Therapy Association Advanced Certification Program.

Occupational Therapy Dysphagia Fellowship directors and faculty
Previous fellowship program director, Donna K. Heinle, OTD, OTR/L; fellowship education coordinator, Janelle M. Hatlevig, OTR/L, BCPR; and current fellowship program director, Stephanie Kannas, OTD, OTR/L, CHT.