USA’s Occupational Therapy program had a strong showing at the 2011 American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) conference in Philadelphia, PA. An impressive six submissions were accepted on a variety of topic areas. These topics ranged from educational issues to clinical techniques/assessments. This speaks volumes to the dedication of our faculty and the supportive nature of USA in facilitating faculty research.
Dr. Karen Howell and Dr. Cindy Mathena, along with Ms. Tammy LeSage, presented Defining the Reality: An Analysis of Clinical Practice and Occupation-Based Treatment. This was a timely presentation relating to the fieldwork environment that OT students participate in during their education. The main finding was that students perceived that their level II supervisory OTs were using occupation-based interventions a majority of the time.
Ms. Anne Hull presented Online Social Networking in Higher Education. She identified 10 current trends related to the use of social networking sites and the primary impacts on graduate education. One interesting result relating to the increased use of online education is that there is a trend towards the role of the educator shifting from the person of “authority” to “transparency” and from “expert” to “facilitator.”
Dr. Kurt Hubbard and Ms. Julie Watson collaborated on a presentation investigating the Use of a Blended Learning Model in Occupational Therapy Education. What they found was consistent with the existing research, reaffirming that outcome measures in a traditional learning format and a blended learning format are similar.
Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Erica Kiernan presented Perceived Barriers vs. Actual Barriers for Faculty Involvement in Service Learning. This topic aimed to better understand the importance of scholarly activity within the occupational therapy profession.
Dr. Hubbard continued to investigate the student experience while at USA in his presentation titled: The Impact of Stress and Anxiety and Effects of Progressive Muscle Relaxation on Academic Performance in Occupational Therapy Students. This pilot study found that progressive muscle relaxation was an effective technique in reducing stress and anxiety among the students.
Another presentation by Dr. Hubbard, Using A Functional Outcome Menu To Facilitate Client Independence In Traumatic Brain Injury: Optimizing Occupational Therapy in a Transitional Living Care Facility, indicated that individuals receiving OT, using this assessment tool as a guide, improved clients abilities in all functional areas measured.
It is very apparent that the OT faculty has been busy investigating innovative ways to further the educational experience of their students, as well as adding to the clinical literature. We would like to invite all of our alumni to stop by during the next AOTA meeting, to see what your former faculty members are up to. This could even lead to further collaboration as professionals in the future!