Occupational Therapist, Writer, Teacher


Cavenaugh Kelly, PhD, MS, OTR/L, is a writer, occupational therapist, researcher, and teacher. As a writer, his fiction short stories have been published in numerous peer-reviewed literary magazines, and he is a former award-winning print journalist. As an occupational therapist for over twenty years, he has worked primarily in home health in rural Maine. As a professor at Husson University, in Bangor, Maine, Kelly has taught for over ten years, winning the Theresa W. Steele award for teaching excellence in 2022.

His research at Husson on the influence of close reading on the empathy levels of healthcare students has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and he has lectured on his research findings nationally and internationally, winning the Global Empathy Award in 2022. He received a Bachelors in English Literature from the University of Southern Maine; a Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern Maine, and a Doctorate in Transdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Disability Theory, Communication Theory, and Narratives from the University of Maine. He lives in Maine with his wife and son.


Teaching Empathy Through Stories 

What is empathy? Is empathy a given trait, or something that can be improved upon? Can empathy be taught? Why is empathy important in healthcare? Can we teach healthcare workers to be more empathic through stories? What kinds of stories facilitate empathy?