Member Spotlight

Get to Know Your Colleagues in Utah!

Each month the Utah OT Association will be spotlighting a member from a different region in the state. If you would like to nominate someone to be spotlighted, please contact your regional representative. To comment and congratulate members on their spotlight, go to the UOTA social media pages (links at the top).

Click here to view the archive of members from previous years.


February 2024

Dani Kistler, OTR/L, CLT, Region 2 (Salt Lake & Tooele counties)


1. Name and and credentials?
Dani Kistler, OTR/L, CLT

2. What setting do you work in?
Skilled Nursing Facility

3. How long have you been working in this profession and setting?
I have been practicing as an Occupational Therapist and in this setting since November 2019.

4. What led you to pursue occupational therapy as your profession?
I was inspired to become an OT by my younger cousin Jordan who was born with spastic cerebral palsy. Although he was nonverbal and non-ambulatory, nothing could stop him. He truly lived life to the fullest, was a light in the community and his quality of life was so high. Thanks to his occupational therapist, his strengths were recognized, the environment was adapted to support his abilities, and he lived a happy life full of so much love and a whole lot of fun. He and his therapists taught me that no matter what cards someone is dealt, with the right support, everyone can live a happy life. He has passed away, but his spirit and influence on my life and OT practice live on.

5. What is one thing industry-related you learned in the last month?
I recently took a continuing education course instructed by an incredible orthotist, John Kenny. We learned about Neurostretch manual techniques to facilitate with contracture management, as well as how to choose and modify top of the line orthotics to provide evidence-based, individualized care with improved outcomes. I have since utilized this technique in my practice with excellent results as shown by decreased time required to reduce spasticity, improved range of motion, improved patient compliance with splinting/orthotics, and best of all; reduced patient reports of pain related to contractures.

6. One person who inspires you?
Definitely my mom. She is a school-based occupational therapist in New York and another pillar in my journey to becoming an occupational therapist. The students she served love her so much - and love coming to OT! She always finds creative ways to make non-preferred tasks fun and enjoyable. She inspires me to make sure my interventions are individualized, client-centered and meaningful.

7. What is your favorite place in the world?
On top of a mountain with my skis on.

8. What was the last book that you read?
Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

9. Any hobbies or interests?
Concerts, skiing, yoga, hiking, cycling, camping, reading and hanging with my dog.

10. What is one of your greatest achievements?
I was chosen for the DORiTO (Director of Rehab in Training Opportunity) program where I work. I am passionate about life-long learning, and through this training I had the privilege to learn about the technical, clinical, culture and leadership aspects of the Director of Rehabilitation role. I learned how to lead a successful therapy department, the financial side of Skilled Nursing Facilities, strategies to be an effective leader, and how I can best support my fellow coworkers in their clinical interests and passions.

11. What are you passionate about?
Treating lymphedema. I had the opportunity to become a Certified Lymphedema Therapist last year and for that I am so thankful. Before this education and training process, I was undereducated on this chronic, progressive and very undertreated disease. I now understand how this condition affects this population’s overall health, occupational performance and quality of life - and they need more support. This client population often goes underserved and I am very passionate to educate my peers in the medical field, and support these individuals in maximizing self-management of this condition that could be detrimental without proper care.

12. What are some goals that you have on your bucket list?
Backpack through Europe, ski in the Alps, and become a certified yoga instructor (and adaptive yoga instructor).

13. A fun fact about you that people may not know about you?
Thanks to my Dad moving to Japan when he was 3 and living there for 20+ years with his side of the family, my favorite and go-to homemade food is all Japanese and my view on the world is very influenced by Japanese culture.

14. If you had to eat one meal everyday for the rest of your life what would you choose?
New York style pizza.

15. What is the best thing about belonging to UOTA?
I really appreciate the opportunities for networking with this amazing community, as well as continuing education.