Since its inception in 2012, Salus University’s Occupational Therapy (OT) program
has continually strived to provide the most progressive inter-professional academic experience for its students. Offering one of the most specialized educational experiences for students with an interest in the occupational therapy profession, the department offers two distinctive programs:
In fact, with the department’s inclusion of OTD in the fall of 2016, Salus became one of only eight universities in Pennsylvania to offer a doctorate program for the occupational therapy profession, and also offers specialty track certificates
in OT including Low Vision Rehabilitation, Remedial Vision Rehabilitation, and Health and Wellness for Occupational Therapists.
The University’s program is popular to incoming OT students for its introduction to field work
as a part of its curriculum. Many students in the program often cite that the early exposure to the clinical side of OT through externships – completed in the second, third, and fourth semester as well as two twelve week externships in the fifth semester – have given them an advantage over their peers from other institutions. Each student is placed individually based upon proximity, practice interest, and appropriateness of the setting to the students’ skills and personalities - and not by a lottery system that is more common in other schools.
With hands-on training such as the University’s cadaver lab to enhance student understanding of anatomy and physiology; fieldwork; and world renowned faculty teaching within the program, MSOT students continue to achieve 100 percent pass rate for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam.
Every successful educational program needs to stay ahead of the curve and make sure its curriculum and students are well-trained for the future, but it also needs forward-thinking leaders to continue to push the envelope, and the University’s OT program is no different. Below are just a few examples of how OT faculty and students have stood out in the past year.
Brianna Brim, MOT, OTR/L, CPAM, CLIPP, academic fieldwork coordinator for OT, immersed herself in a ten day Clinical and Translational Research course for PhD students at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center this past August. Since her return, she has reflected on new ways she can educate Salus OT students with the use of 3D print technology and virtual reality – two topics covered extensively in the course.
As the OT program continues to look forward to what is sure to be a bright future, Salus wants to make sure it is not only covering the application of OT, but also the societal impact. Within just this past year, students and faculty alike have advocated for the education of OTs on the fair treatment of LGBTQ patients.
Jadyn Sharber, MSOT ’18, was very active in building the foundation for OTs and the fair treatment of LGBTQ patients during her time at Salus. She collaborated with Lauren Sponseller, OTD, PhD, chair and director of the OT program; Brooke Kreummling, PhD, assistant provost; and Brim, that Sharber asked LGBTQ issues be included in classroom discussions about cultural awareness. It also led to Sharber presenting the topic of LGBTQ issues within the OT profession at the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA) conference in 2017. Outside of the classroom, Sharber began to compile a list of valuable resources to share among colleagues on her extensive website, www.LGBTQ-OT.com
. The site connects OT practitioners, educators, and students to resources and information to make clinics and healthcare facilities more LGBTQ friendly. Recently graduating from the University’s MSOT program, Sharber has under her belt a robust education and experience that is unmatched.
Caitlyn Foy, DOT, MOTR/L, OTD director, was recently accepted into the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Academic Leadership Institute
for 2018 – 2019, comprised of seven monthly online modules and group mentoring sessions. One of the courses from the Institute focuses on creating a more diverse OT profession. She hopes she can build upon the foundation laid by the University to continue to make the OT program, and ultimately the profession, a more diverse friendly environment through what she learns at the Institute. “My goal is to continue the growth of the OT Doctoral program here at Salus, and help the OT program at Salus thrive,” she said.
These are just a few examples, but with seven years under its belt, the University’s OT program is poised to continue being a shining example of an innovative learning in the world of occupational therapy for many years to come.