Students in the inaugural Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program
learned about the role of occupational
therapy (OT) in disaster preparedness, response and recovery from visiting faculty member Marjorie Scaffa, OTR/L, FAOTA
. The lecture proved timely for the students in attendance who are all members of the Health and Wellness specialty track
as a result of the recent devastation from multiple consecutive hurricanes that have developed over the past month.
“OTs can provide assistance to those directly affected by hurricanes, but also to those who left their homes and are trying to resettle in unfamiliar environments, even if only temporarily," she said.
OTs are trained to address the physical, psychological, environmental, and occupational consequences of disasters. The abrupt changes in both habits and routines may lead to psychological trauma as well, which can last much longer than the physical side effects of natural disasters, according to Dr. Scaffa.
Dr. Scaffa is a leader in community-based OT practice and enhancing the role of OTs in health promotion and prevention. She is an author of “Occupational Therapy in the Promotion of Health and Wellness,” a widely used textbook, and “Occupational Therapy in Community-Based Practice Settings.” She has also conducted research on the effects of hurricanes and other natural and other related disasters in relation to occupational preparation, particularly the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.