BLVS Canadian Cohort Expands International Footprint
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BLVS Canadian Cohort Expands International Footprint

The Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies (BLVS) welcomed its first international cohort of students from Canada in the Spring of 2019, who enrolled in the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy program at Salus University.

BLVS Canadian cohortThe international collaboration was possible through the efforts of Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada (VLRC) andLachelle Smith, MS, CRVT, Salus’ director of the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) program, combined to educate and train a number of the staff. As a result, Canada will see a significant increase in the number of Certified VRT professionals serving their citizens living with vision loss in all 10 provinces throughout the country. 

Participating students are enrolled in the VRT Certificate program, attending most of their didactic coursework with the U.S. BLVS student body. However, the Summer Residency portion of the program, which takes place at the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus, was instead offered in Ontario, Canada in the Summer of 2019. 

BLVS Canadian cohortWhile our Canadian students have seen their graduation date impacted by COVID-19, three of the 11 students successfully completed their program in December 2020, with all others are scheduled to complete their program in May 2021.  

The affiliation between Salus and VLRC has proven to be a successful one. The students and staff of VLRC are pleased with their experience here at Salus and are elated about the impact it has already had on delivery of services to their clientele.  

“This collaboration presented an excellent learning experience for faculty and our U.S. students by learning about different approaches to practice, as well as increasing the overall awareness and promotion of the VRT profession,” said Fabiana Perla, EdD, COMS, CLVT, chair of the BLVS program at Salus. “Additionally, this experience has prepared the VRT program and other BLVS programs at Salus to further seek out opportunities to expand our international footprint.”

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