Salus University was well-represented at the 2018 American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA) Conference
and Expo held in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 19 – 22.
AOTA is the national professional association that represents the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners and students of occupational therapy to improve the quality of occupational therapy services offered to the public at large. The organization provides programs and activities directed toward assuring the quality of occupational therapy services, improving consumer access to healthcare services, and promoting the professional development of members.
In attendance from Salus were Fern Silverman, EdD, OTR/L, director of the University’s Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy; Brianna Brim, MOT, academic fieldwork advisor and instructor; Andrea Tyszka, MS, OTR/L, SIPT, associate professor; Caitlyn Foy, DOT,MOTR/L, assistant professor and Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) advisor; Ruth S. Farber, PhD, associate professor; Mitchell Scheiman, OD, PhD, director of Biomedicine; Melissa Tran, associate director of Admissions; four SOTA officers, and two first-year students.
A total of twelve presentations were given by many of the University’s attendees:
- What Fieldwork Educators Really Want (poster session) given by Brianna Brim MOT, OTR/L, CPAM, CLIPP
- Program Development: Establishing Occupational Therapy’s Role at a Breastfeeding Resource Center (poster session) given by Caitlyn Foy OTD/MOTR/L
- Conversations that Matter: The Intersection of Women’s Health and Occupational Therapy: Emerging and Continuing Practices Across the Lifespan given by Ruth S. Farber PhD, OTR/L
- Enhancing Participation and Wellbeing for Families with Children and Young Adults with Sensory Processing Needs (poster session) given by Fern Silverman EdD, OTR/L and Andrea Tyszka MS, OTR/L, SIPT
- Home Is Where the Safety Is: Promoting Healthy Aging in Place Among Home-Dwelling Seniors (poster session) given by Brianna Brim MOT, OTR/L, CPAM, CLIPP; Nina Goldfedder, OT ‘17 and Ciarra Bell, OT ‘17
- Virtual Teams given by Fern Silverman EdD, OTR/L; Andrea Tyszka MS, OTR/L, SIPT; Brianna Brim MOT, OTR/L, CPAM, CLIPP; and Caitlyn Foy OTD/MOTR/L
- Interprofessional Education: Using Interdisciplinary Case Studies to Facilitate Student Learning (poster session) given by Andrea Tyszka MS, OTR/L, SIPT and Carrie Knight PhD, CCC-SLP
- Conversations that Matter: Maternal Health Practice for Occupational Therapy Practitioners given by Caitlyn Foy OTD/MOTR/L
- Using Sensory Maps to Support Individuals With and Without Disabilities (poster session) given by Fern Silverman EdD, OTR/L; Andrea Tyszka MS, OTR/L, SIPT; Courtney Hahn; and Alicia Talia
- But Where Is It Supposed To Go? given by Brianna Brim MOT, OTR/L, CPAM, CLIPP
- But What Does the Q Stand For? Cultural Competence to Improve Healthcare Services for LGBTQ Individuals (poster session) given by Jadyn Sharber ‘18OT; Brianna Brim MOT, OTR/L, CPAM, CLIPP; and Brooke Kruemmling, PhD, COMS, assistant provost
- What’s Taught Today Impacts the World Tomorrow: Addressing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Issues in Occupational Therapy Education given by Jadyn Sharber ‘18OT; Brianna Brim MOT, OTR/L, CPAM, CLIPP; and Brooke Kruemmling, PhD, COMS, assistant provost
Overall, the conference was perceived to be great for networking and learning from both faculty and students. “This year’s AOTA conference was filled with thought provoking sessions, interesting discussions, and inspiring speakers,” said Dr. Silverman. According to her, conferences are the best place to network face-to-face with colleagues from around the country which can often lead to new collaborations and joint scholarly initiatives.
Students in attendance also felt strongly that this was a great conference and provided a great stepping stone into the profession. “I was happy to see that the American Occupational Therapy Association is so supportive of student presentations, and it was great to meet other students who are getting involved in research and improving occupational therapy services early in their careers,” said Sharber a second year OT student who also presented. Sharber also has a message for her fellow students: “I know several students who are hesitant to submit their work as conference presentation proposals [but] I strongly recommend that students in all fields consider applying for state and national conference presentations [because as it] seems daunting, it is an accessible and welcoming opportunity, and we all have the opportunity to gain invaluable experience from attending and presenting at professional conferences.”