Stanbridge College students and faculty from the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program had the honor of presenting their research at the 39th Annual Conference of the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC), held October 22nd – 25th in Sacramento. Five thesis groups, presenting diverse subjects of work, displayed posters and research findings before the top practitioners in their field.
“For Stanbridge MSOT students to present at a professional meeting like OTAC’s annual conference alongside faculty, mentors, and experts in the field is a rare opportunity and can expand students’ professionalism, love of scholarship and employability,” said Dr. Janis Davis, Ph.D., OTR/L, and MSOT Program Director. “Many students have expressed their gratitude for the support the college and program has given them to accomplish this goal.”
Five groups from Stanbridge College introduced their research at the conference. Graduate students Macy Burr, Howard Koh, Rochelle Telles, and Maria Absi presented “The Contributions of Occupational Science to the Readiness of Long Duration Space Exploration,” a project done in partnership with Fordham University, looking to offer insight to occupational challenges astronauts encounter during their travels.
“Implementing LGBTQIA Cultural Competence in Diversity Education,” which focuses on developing occupational therapy curriculum to ensure an accepting therapeutic environment and culturally sensitive services, was presented by Teresa Dela Pena, Katie Scheuring, and Alexander Barajas.
Dee Kim, Michelle Estacio, and Megan Kile’s research “Life College: The Progression of Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Adulthood with the Use of a Transitional Program” began with Stanbridge College’s partnership with the TILE (Transition to Independent Living and Employment) Program, and has since evolved further into a plan to focus on developing independent living skills for students, including self-care and safety awareness.
“Creating Opportunities for PCP’s in Discussing Driving with Their Aging Clients” was presented by Arlene Gonzalez, Ally Kerby, Christina Smith, and Robbie Mezher, and looked to identify how occupational therapists are in a unique position to assist in the safety of seniors behind the wheel.
Michelle McClafferty-Helley, Mayra Poggio, and Cristan Villanueva presented their research “Designing an Animal-Assisted Therapy Protocol to Treat the Functional Deficits in the Chronic Phase of Stroke,” which is working towards the goal of establishing animal-assisted therapy as a viable treatment modality useful in stroke rehabilitation.
The theme of the conference was “In Pursuit of the Vision: Transforming Lives Through the Magic of Occupation,” and featured a packed program of educational sessions, workshops, panels, and posters covering a range of topics and areas of practice.
According to Dr. Patricia S. Nagaishi, Ph.D., OTR/L, President of OTAC, “This year’s conference highlights the core of occupational therapy and how we promote health, restore function, adapt activities and environments, and help people do the things that matter to them and fully participate in everyday life.”