Apr 21

SOTA celebrates OT Week & Trisomy 21

by Carly Ensor, SOTA Publicity Chairperson

Several weeks ago our Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) celebrated OT week on campus.  OT week is held annually to promote OT around the college community.  OT week included a banquet on March 31st, where OT students and faculty gathered together to celebrate achievements and memories from the previous year.  Scholarship recipients and students who have volunteered at OT department open houses were recognized, and the evening concluded with a video presentation of photographs from the past year – both inside and outside of the classroom.

SOTA presents a check to AnnaRoseSOTA’s executive board works very hard to bring in a guest speaker annually whose life has been impacted by our profession.  This year, our students and faculty alike were inspired by Miss AnnaRose Rubright, a very successful young woman who just happens to have trisomy 21. AnnaRose shared about her many successes in life including graduating high school with a very high GPA, being a member of the national honors society at her school, and now attending a local college. She highlighted the importance of person-first language, and how using it allows for a better relationship between medical professionals and their clients.  AnnaRose explained that receiving O.T. early intervention services allowed her to achieve success in all aspects of her life.  She is very thankful that her therapy team allowed her to be very independent and truly live life to the fullest.

Guest Speaker AnnaRose blows out her birthday candlesAnnaRose and her parents started The Anna Foundation for Inclusive Education, which is dedicated to the enhancement of the educational experience of students with developmental delays and their participation in inclusive education. Because the Anna Foundation’s values align with our profession, SOTA chose to present AnnaRose with a $250 charitable donation so that they could continue their efforts. In addition, SOTA presented AnnaRose with a birthday cake and led everyone in singing, “Happy Birthday” to celebrate her 19th birthday, which was the same day as the banquet.  Happy Birthday, AnnaRose!

Students, faculty, and other guests were inspired by the wonderful, hard-working, and successful Miss AnnaRose Rubright.  This year’s SOTA banquet was a successful gathering to celebrate the club and very exciting profession of occupational therapy.

What did you do to celebrate OT Month?

Apr 06

Vietnam: Service learning trip in May 2015

OT student visits with infant in orphanage

Bethany Panchak (right) visits with a child in an orphange in 2013.

On Monday, May 18, a group of 20 students (occupational therapy, social work, education, anthropology, and communication) and two faculty members will depart for a humanitarian/service-learning trip to Vietnam. They will join staff members and sponsors from Brittany’s Hope, a non-profit organization that provides grants for international adoption of special needs children and works to improve the lives of orphaned children in Vietnam, Kenya, and Ethiopia. This trip occurs every other year, and you can learn more about past trips here.

During the 2½ week trip, the group will visit six different orphanages or centers and engage in a variety of projects that will benefit children and their local communities. One of the orphanages, the Thi Nghe Protection Center for Disabled Orphans in Ho Chi Minh City, exclusively cares for 400 children who have been abandoned due to having developmental, physical, and mental disabilities. While there students and faculty will provide training focused on positioning, sensory stimulation, and feeding techniques for the caregivers who look after these children. The group will also visit a Center for the Blind (Huynh De Nhu Nghia), Phanxico Nhan Hoa, a house for ethnic females, the Vocational Training Center in Danang (for adolescents with disabilities), and two other orphanages.

Eight of the 20 students embarking on this journey/adventure are occupational therapy majors. (Read about their reasons for making this trip after the photo below). The students are currently engaged in fundraising efforts to supply bicycles, adaptive feeding utensils, splinting materials, food care packages for needy families in the community, and sunflower bags. If you would like to know more about the trip or if you are interested in making a donation, follow this link: http://brittanyshope.org/trip/.

Students and children playing with a large parachute

Fun sensorimotor play

 “Every child deserves the opportunity to engage in meaningful occupations, fully participate in life, and live a life full of happiness. I am going on this trip to give the Vietnamese children a chance at this opportunity. I can’t wait to help the Vietnamese children and for them to completely change my life in the process.” ~ Jen Newman, Class of 2017

 “Giving a child independence in life not only changes the child’s life but also the volunteer’s. I am going on this trip to assist and go through the journey towards bettering these children’s lives with them.” ~ Jess Shultz, Class of 2017

 “I am going on this trip in order to have the opportunity to positively influence children’s lives. I feel as if this trip will be a life changing experience that is a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel while doing service work. Knowing I could possibly have a positive influence on one child’s life will make this trip all worth it!” ~ Megan Goss, Class of 2017

 “I decided to go on this trip to help these children participate in all the occupations involved in being a kid. I believe this trip will help both their children and their caregivers to participate in leisure occupations.” ~ Jen Gallo, Class of 2017

 “I am going on this trip to help play a part in improving the lives of the children and people in Vietnam. I want to provide these children with hope and the knowledge of their importance in both their society and the world at large. I am very excited to both help people and learn about a different culture.”~ Samantha Tobon, Class of 2017

 “In May I was fortunate enough to go on a medical mission trip to Honduras and, ever since, have been longing for another opportunity to be submerged into a different culture and have a positive effect on such a large group of individuals. I’m going to Vietnam for the opportunity to expand my horizons, in both experience and knowledge, once again. Not only will I be able to see first hand the positive effects I am having on these children’s lives, but I will also be able to see myself grow as both as an individual and as a future Occupational Therapist.”  ~ Adriana Bertolino, Class of 2017

 “I want to go to Vietnam so that I will be able to gain useful experience working with children who have special needs. Also, I am excited to simply spend time with the children and give them as much love as possible. Vietnam seems to be an interesting country, and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to give what I can to the people. Additionally, I wish to soak in the culture so that I can take a step back from my own life and see what else is out there. I can’t wait to bring back my experience and thoughts from this trip to the U.S. as an American citizen, OT student, and human being.” ~ Allison Doughton, Class of 2016

Mar 30

Pi Theta Epsilon Welcomes New Members

by Ann Marie Potter, MA, OTR/L, Lecturer and PTE Advisor

On March 15, thirteen new members were inducted into Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), occupational therapy’s national honor society. Students who are junior or senior status with a GPA of at least 3.5 and in the top 35% of their class are invited to apply. Alumna Sara Brown Del Pozo gave the keynote address at the induction ceremony and Terri Dennehy, lecturer, provided closing remarks. Please join us in congratulating new members: senior Kristin Russ and juniors Adam Amspacher, Nicole Brackman, Jamie DeisherAdelyn Enders, Jacalyn Hikes, Molly Hurley, Carly Mutter, Jenna Nguyen, Alyssa Rea, Rebecca Roth, Rachel Sassaman, and Megan Ziff.

New members of the PTE honor society

Some of our newest PTE members

The mission of PTE is to promote scholarship within the profession.  This past year PTE has held several activities to promote OT and scholarship on campus.  In the fall, PTE hosted Brian Keefer, who shared his experiences living with a spinal cord injury.  PTE co-hosted the movie, Travis: A Soldier’s Story, with POTA in November.  Each spring PTE assists in the planning and carrying out of the Occupational Therapy Graduate Research Symposium. The outgoing president of PTE is graduate student, Emily Peters. Senior Erin N Kelly is the president-elect. Congratulations to all of our PTE students for their academic achievements.

Large group of all PTE members at the 2015 Induction Ceremony

PTE Honor Society at the March 15th Induction Ceremony

Mar 10

Blue Jays head to Nashville – Music City – for the AOTA Conference

Faculty, recent graduates, and current students are headed to Nashville for the 2015 annual American Occupational Therapy Association Conference in April.  They are excited to represent E-town through various presentations.  If you are going to the conference, check out these presentations!AOTA banner for 2015 conference in Nashville


Thurs. April 16
1:00 – 3:00 PM      Poster 2023 Think Tank Exploration of Interprofessional Education.  Judy Ericksen, PhD, OTR/L; Molly MacGray, MS, OTR/L (’14), Katherine Stull, MS, OTR/L (’14), & Kimberly Welker, MS, OTR/L (’14).
Friday, April 17
12:30 PM – 2:30 PM Poster 4009 The Role of Entrepreneurship in Occupational Therapy in the Context of the Affordable Care Act.   Lindsay Hetherington (current graduate student).
3:00 – 5:00 PM      Poster 5078 Paleo, GFCF, Ketogenic, Organic, and the Next Food Craze: There is a Role for OTs Working with Kids with Special Needs.   Kerri Hample, OTD, OTR/L, Veronica Benoit MS, OTR/L (’14), Erin Meanix, MS, OTR/L (’14), & Taryn Nace, MS, OTR/L (’14).
Saturday, April 18
9:00 – 11:00 AM    Poster 6034 Crafting Health, Wellness, and Identity: Lessons from American Male Quiltmakers.   Linda Leimbach, ScD, OTR/L.
12:00 – 2:00 PM    Poster 7062 Hearts, Health, & Habits: Physical Activity in Children with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD).  Rebecca Porter, MS, OTR/L (’14) & Nora Redmond, MS, OT (’14).  Contributing authors:  Debbie Waltermire, MHS, OTR/L & Megan Steber, MS, OTR/L (’14).
12:00 – 2:00 PM    Poster 7091 The Occupational Challenges of, and Supports for, Individuals Providing Care to People with Dementia.  Jennifer Bush (current graduate student) & Kimberly Cosgrove (current graduate student). Contributing author:  Tamera Keiter Humbert, D.Ed, OTR/L.


Feb 25

Thinking Outside the Box – Expanding Fieldwork

Awareness of occupational therapy as a profession has improved (haven’t we been asking for this for a long time?), and applications to OT and OTA programs have tripled in the past 5 years. What does that mean? It means the burden on clinicians is greater for providing clinical educational experiences for OT and OTA students but also providing observation experiences for those who are exploring OT.  Whether you are involved in educating fieldwork students or not, you are probably aware of the increase over the past years in requests for fieldwork as well as requests for high school students’ observations or shadowing.

As a trainer for the AOTA’s Fieldwork Education Certificate Program, I promote other ways of providing fieldwork than just the most popular 1:1 apprentice:preceptor model. Just as we as clinicians try a new technique when the old one isn’t as effective with our patients, we can do likewise in educational situations. Among Etown’s 300+ fieldwork sites, a group/collaborative or multiple student model is more prevalent in mental health settings than physical rehabilitation. Of note is that Mayo Clinic’s OTs and PTs ONLY take 3 level II students at once instead of just 1. They offer their expertise on how others can implement it. If you are interested in learning more about it, check out the Journal of Allied Health1. Mayo has provided a model from which we are welcome to create opportunities.

Alternatives to the 1:1 model include 1:2+ (supervisor:students), 2:1 (supervisors:student), remote supervision, multiple site models and any other model you may create as long as the student is

  • Meeting the level II requirements of the Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education (section C of the ACOTE standards).  These include, but are not limited to: a minimum of 8 hours per WEEK of supervision; fieldwork educator is “adequately prepared” as a fieldwork educator; and the student meets “entry level” at the end of 12 weeks as your site’s OT job description describes it
  • Your site’s expectations are met (including what the third-party payers require, e.g. Medicare’s line of sight supervision).

stick figure with thought bubble, standing outside of red boxWe can also think outside the box and have more than 1 supervisor in the case of 2 part-time OTs supervising 1 student. A student can also provide services at a remote location if supervision is provided appropriately.  As long as the “primary” fieldwork educator is an OT who is adequately prepared and has been employed as an OT for at least a year following initial NBCOT certification, the sky’s the limit. A secondary supervisor does not have to be an OT but could be a service provider who understands the role of OT sufficiently to guide the student.

One fieldwork site, where Elizabethtown College OT students participate in level I and II fieldwork, uses a model that emphasizes theory, reflection and creativity in treatment planning. One supervisor oversees several dyads of students who work in various units providing NON-reimbursed OT services. This gives a value-added service to the residents of the program, a learning experience for the students, and multiplies the lone OT’s effectiveness several-fold. This facility will be presenting on their model at AOTA annual conference in April in Nashville.

I am hopeful that we can begin to branch out into new models to demonstrate that OTs and OTAs are, indeed, flexible and creative problem-solvers. The future of our profession depends on educating today’s students. I am optimistic that you will embrace this opportunity and partner with your friendly neighborhood OT or OTA fieldwork coordinator to find new solutions to a growing challenge.

If you would like more information about this or any other opportunity listed here, please contact Elizabethtown College’s OT Academic Fieldwork Coordinator about how we can explore the possibilities. Chris is available at achenbachc@etown.edu or at 717-361-1146.

1Rindflesch,A. B.,  Dunfee, H. J., Cieslak, K. C., Eischen, S. L., Trenary, T., Calley, D. Q., & Heinle, D. K. (2009). Collaborative Model of Clinical Education in Physical and Occupational Therapy at the Mayo Clinic. Journal of Allied Health, 38(3), 132–142

Feb 20

Top 10 Reasons We Belong to our Professional Association(s)

gold-colored top 10At the POTA conference last fall, the keynote speaker focused on the distinct value of occupational therapy and how our profession needs to continue to communicate our worth and significance to others – clients, families, policy makers, insurers, and more.  Wow- that’s a huge responsibility for one person.  Can we do more if we work together?   If you are already a member of your professional organization, good for you.  If not, we encourage you to reconsider joining a professional organization.  Maybe that professional association membership is more than just dues and newsletters.

Here are our top 10 reasons that the Etown OT Faculty belong to various professional associations (e.g. AOTA, state associations, other related organizations):

  1. Advocacy and policy issues – professional associations are a powerful collective voice.  Who else has time and expertise to monitor ongoing legislative changes and legislative issues that impact OT?
    • If not us, who will do this for us?
    • My association speaks for me as an OT and represents me at the state and national levels.
    • We need to be “at the table” when policies and plans are being formulated.
    • Definitely strength in numbers – strong membership levels increase our profession’s credibility to policymakers and legislators.
  2. Professional identity – pride in and commitment to our profession, integrity as a professional
  3. Access to professional resources such as peer-reviewed journals and promotional materials
  4. Updates in practice trends and legal issues that affect practice
  5. Networking – opportunities to meet with other therapists from different regions in the state, country or world as well as with therapists who work in other practice areas/specialty areas.
    • Networking also can lead to collaborative partnerships
  6. Hearing different perspectives and voices
  7. Opportunities for professional growth – e.g. continuing education, leadership, and service
  8. Professional responsibility
  9. Supporting the organizations’ mentoring and development opportunities for others, especially students and new graduates – our future.
  10. Professional association membership is job insurance for the future!
Feb 04

Meet the new AJOT editor – Lorie Gage Richards, PhD, OTR/L (’83)

BETHESDA, MD (June 10, 2014)—The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has appointed Lorie Gage Richards, PhD, OTR/L, as the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT). Richards is chair of and a tenured associate professor in the Division of Occupational Therapy at University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Lorie Gage Richards

Lorie Gage Richards

“I am honored to assume the Editor-in-Chief role for the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, occupational therapy’s flagship journal,” said Richards. “I’ll work to maintain the prestige of the journal by continuing my predecessor’s efforts to raise its reputation among health care researchers, educators, and the general health care community by increasing the number and quality of submissions. I’ll also work to increase the impact factor by emphasizing the publication of high-level evidence for occupational therapy practice and education.”

The American Journal of Occupational Therapy is the official journal of the American Occupational Therapy Association, which represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, assistants, and students nationwide. AJOT focuses on research examining the effectiveness and efficiency of occupational therapy practice so that occupational therapy and other health care professionals can make informed, evidence-based decisions in their practice.

AJOT publishes six times each year in print with additional supplements online. For more information, visit http://otjournal.net or www.aota.org.

As Editor-in-Chief, Richards will plan issues, solicit manuscripts, edit articles, maintain relationships with contributors, and manage the peer review process. In addition, the editor-in-chief will work to maintain and increase the journal’s impact factor and work with the AOTA Evidence-Based Research Project to publish content furthering the profession’s research base. The position is a 3-year appointment starting July 1.

Richards earned a B.S. in occupational therapy from Elizabethtown College in 1983, a M.S. in psychology in 1989 and a Ph.D. in psychology from Syracuse University in 1992. An active AOTA member, Richards also chairs the Nursing and Rehabilitation Committee at the American Heart Association, and sits on several academic committees at the University of Utah’s College of Health. She has acted as a journal reviewer and member of the editorial boards for dozens of academic journals, including the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Psychological Reports.

Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, assistants, and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations, and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, go to www.aota.org.

To schedule an interview with Richards or AOTA Press Director Christina Davis,call Media Relations Manager Katie Riley, 301-652-6611, ext. 2963, or e-mail,kriley@aota.org.