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An OTR Helps Change Lives Through the Science of Sleep

Natalie Rolle is an OTR in Colorado who is being recognized for her work using occupational therapy to address sleep disorders.

Natalie Rolle

Natalie Rolle, MOT, OTR/L

Lead Occupational Therapist and Research Associate II, Sleep Services Program at Center for Community Partnerships

Location: Colorado

Certified in 2015

2021 NBCOT Impact Award Winner

Making an Impact With a Specialized Treatment

Sleep has been identified as the number one issue that needs to be addressed with clients who have chronic pain. Insufficient sleep contributes to poor mental health and can negatively impact all areas of day-to-day life.

Natalie Rolle, an OTR, is the lead occupational therapist specializing in treating sleep disorders at the Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) at Colorado State University. Natalie’s pioneering work recognizes that sleep is integral to a person’s performance of daily tasks and overall quality of life. She supported the development of the evidence-based REST (Restoring Effective Sleep Tranquility) project to improve the quality of life for veterans. This program serves military veterans who are pursuing higher education and who have sleep problems and chronic insomnia. Through this program, Natalie assesses how sleep disorders and chronic insomnia can affect the daily occupations of student veterans. She provides interventions for sleep-related goals, assisting the individual to progress toward improved performance of daily occupations. Her contributions have increased the quality of life for her clients and provided positive outcomes for the multidisciplinary treatment program.

Natalie has been involved in research, program development, student, and continuing education programs at CCP, and she is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for her expertise in the treatment of sleep disorders. She provides comprehensive, evidence-based assessments and interventions, addressing sleep issues to help her clients restore their physical and mental health and achieve their goals for meaningful engagement in social and occupational activities.

Natalie Rolle poses in front of her poster presentation on sleep quality.

Creating Lasting Impact to Improve Lives

Natalie is pioneering specialization and excellence in occupational therapy practice for sleep disorders. Her accomplishments and contributions to the field include the following:

  • Supporting development of the evidence-based REST project to improve the quality of life for veterans
  • Leading an expansion of sleep services at CCP
  • Developing and implementing, with her colleague Aaron Eakman, the first 2.5-day basic course for cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) for occupational therapists (in-person and online)
  • Creating the first sleep lecture and lab module as part of the curriculum of Colorado State University’s occupational therapy program
  • Participating as a contributing author on five published articles on CBT-I for sleep disorders
  • Giving more than 50 educational presentations on sleep science and interventions for local, national, and international groups
  • Demonstrating a commitment to ongoing professional development, including receiving extensive advanced training in CBT-I for sleep disorders

Natalie has been instrumental in demonstrating and advocating for the value of occupational therapy in addressing sleep issues with clients of all ages and health and wellness challenges. Her impact on the profession and on the quality of life for people with sleep challenges continues to grow as she passionately pursues her mission for improved education and advocacy for the treatment of sleep disorders as an integral component of occupational therapy practice.

“Natalie is a role model for occupational therapy students and practitioners in addressing sleep issues in practice. She is a compassionate clinician who works collaboratively with her clients and other professionals, always striving for the best outcomes and care for her clients.”

Linda Crawford, OTR/L, CDWF

President, Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado

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