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Program Highlights & Community Outreach

The ELOTD program offers a variety of programmatic highlights and community outreach opportunities.

These contribute to students’ education in ways tangible and not, helping our students become culturally competent, well-rounded, reflective and committed leaders and practitioners.


Congratulations to Dominique Peterson, the winner of 2020's Joyce Salls Occupational Therapy Student Award!

occupational-therapy-entry-opportunities-page-student-scholarship.jpg

The Class of 2018 created the Joyce Salls Occupational Therapy Student Award to financially support deserving OT students that demonstrate the qualities of leadership, advocacy, and service of our former program director, Dr. Joyce Salls. Learn more in the 'Fellowship/Scholarship Opportunities' section below.

If you are able and willing to support an OT student, give now! With your support, we can continue to encourage the next generation of occupational therapists in their pursuit of excellence.

Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA)

The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) is student-run club. Within the structure of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) the American Student Committee of the Occupational Therapy Association, or ASCOTA, was developed to support and promote OT student service and leadership. SOTA organizations reflect the mission of ASCOTA.

Chatham’s SOTA is a student-run, self-governing organization. In addition to elected officers and committee chairs, each OT student has an opportunity to serve on service committees geared toward personal and professional leadership, growth, and professional and community advocacy.

Current SOTA leadership positions include president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. In addition to traditional officers, SOTA also supports representatives to the National Student Assembly of Delegates (ASD) through the election of an AOTA or ASD representative and alternate ASD representative. Chatham's SOTA also supports the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy association, or POTA, through the POTA student rep and alternate representative.

Current SOTA committees include the following:

  • Community Service
  • Fundraising
  • Orientation & Graduation
  • Pre-Occupational-Therapy Club
  • Public Relations

Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD)

The Chatham University Chapter of the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) was established in 2020. The mission of COTAD is to empower occupational therapy leaders to engage in practices that increase diversity, equity and inclusion for a more transformative occupational therapy profession. COTAD addresses Chatham’s responsiveness and commitment to this mission within our program and within the profession.

Go-Baby-Go!  

The mission of GoBabyGo! has focused on increasing mobility and quality of life for children whose access to such may be limited during their early developmental years. The program adapts toy ride-on cars for young children experiencing mobility issues. The program was started at Chatham by the physical therapy department and recently has expanded to include occupational therapy students. OT students are able to apply for co-president and any of the executive board positions. ELOTD students may also participate as members and attend meetings and events.

Graduates Go Green (G3)

Graduates Go Green is an interdisciplinary club with two students from each of the disciplines in the School of Health Sciences. Students may collaborate with the other disciplines and volunteer to fulfill officer roles within the cabinet: president, secretary, social chair, and treasurer (the club continues to expand year to year offering new positions as the group grows larger). In addition, there are opportunities to create smaller, more OT specific “green” projects within the OT program.                              

The goal is to pursue innovative green initiatives that will empower the university's student body to take action to protect the Earth. This includes advocacy on green initiatives and policy; education on composting and recycling; planning annual Earth Day events; and working to start a student composting program on campus. We would like to use our innate skills as problem-solvers and our resourcefulness and adaptability to play our part in tackling these environmental issues in a very “OT-minded” way.

Out of Darkness Walk Event

The Out of the Darkness Campus Walk was initiated by the OT program, with first annual walk occurring in 2017.  This event involves students, staff, and faculty from a wide variety of programs and departments, and is also well supported by community members. The focus of the Walk is on mental health, and more specifically, to raise awareness on the topic of suicide prevention, reduce stigma, and to bring resources to those who are interested in mental health/well-being and suicide awareness/prevention. The proceeds from this event support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in educational, advocacy, and research efforts. Volunteers from the AFSP-Western PA Chapter also support and participate in this event every year. Updates regarding this event can be viewed here

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is the national professional association representing occupational therapy practitioners (OTs and OTAs) and students of occupational therapy. AOTA seeks to improve the quality of occupational therapy services and to support the professional development of all members.

Chatham University OTD students are required to maintain a student membership with AOTA while enrolled in the OTD program. Student member benefits include savings on textbooks and decreased fees to the annual AOTA national conference, access to OT journals and publications, financial aid opportunities from AOTA and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF), and access to an OT job search database.

Visit http://www.aota.org/ for more information.

Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA)

The Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA) promotes the recognition, preservation, and advancement of occupational therapy in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Chatham OTD students are required to maintain a student membership with POTA in the first year and any state OT associations in the subsequent years, while enrolled in the OTD program. Student membership benefits include access to the POTA newsletter, decreased fees to the POTA annual conference, and financial aid opportunities via POTA scholarships.

Visit http://www.pota.org/ for more information.

CRECER Center, Ibarra, Ecuador

Students are given the opportunity to apply for participation in the annual service-learning field experience to the CRECER Center, where they provide services to individuals and groups in pediatric and adult outpatient, long-term skilled care and community-based adult day care.

Zuyd Hogeschule, Heerlen, the Netherlands

Chatham and Zuyd Hogeschule have partnered to enable occupational therapy students to meet each other across continents without having to travel. The Chatham Zuyd Virtual Student Exchange is a short-term experience during which students meet German occupational therapy students that are attending the Zuyd Hogeschule. Students analyze cultural similarities and differences upon occupation, reflecting with each other, in their individual writing, and in a Sway project.

Ireland

Students and alumni of the School of Health Sciences joined together for an interprofessional online elective course to explore health care and services in Ireland. The course culminated in travel to health care facilities to meet professionals in Dublin, Galloway and Doolin, Ireland.

Germany

Occupational therapy students and alumni traveled to Germany in 2016 at the end of an online elective course to meet occupational therapists and visit facilities in order to gain perspectives and network with our occupational therapy colleagues in Europe.

Safety for Seniors

Embedded in the occupational therapy curriculum are opportunities to partner with community programs such as Safety for Seniors of Wesley Family Services. Students volunteer to visit seniors in their homes to complete a safety evaluation and provide resources to support safety.

Environmental Interventions Projects

Students regularly complete guided consultation to our communities outside of the School of Health Sciences to provide service and learning in accessibility and inclusion through the Environmental Interventions course. Consultation to the Eden Hall Campus has included recommendations such as ergonomics and tips for adaptations for children with special needs in the children’s education programs. In 2020, the students collaborated with the Board of Freeport Community Park to develop ideas for an inclusive playground and to increase accessibility to structures already present. In previous years, students provided suggestions to Global Links for adaptations and support to improving public health.

STAR

One of the experiential components of the ELOTD program occurs at the Simulation, Teaching, and Academic Research Center of West Penn Allegheny Health System (STAR).  ELOTD students participate in two high-fidelity simulation experiences requiring demonstration of client assessment and intervention skills in acute care hospital simulated environments. These experiences enhance student level of comfort and confidence within the hospital context.

Interprofessional Education (IPE)

ELOTD students participate in several IPE events throughout the course of their didactic education at Chatham.  They also partake in a structured IPE curriculum during their first and second semesters in the program. Faculty from six School of Health Science programs (athletic training, counseling psychology, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physician assistant studies) mentor interprofessional student learning communities through IPE events that focus on achievement of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) national competencies. These competencies include teamwork and team-based care; interprofessional communication; roles and responsibilities for collaborative practice; and values and ethics. Students receive a certificate of completion upon full participation in the IPE curricular events. 

Sensory Garden at Eden Hall

In 2019, faculty from the OT department received an internal University grant to support the creation of a therapeutic sensory garden on the Eden Hall Campus that could be used by Chatham students and ultimately extended to the community. The therapeutic garden uses sustainable elements that actively engage the sensory systems of the individual experiencing the garden (i.e., sound, sight, touch, taste, and vestibular/movement systems).

Learn More

Multigenerational Living/Housing Opportunity at Vincentian Schenley Gardens

Graduate students in the School of Health Sciences can apply to live in a unique intergenerational housing environment at Vincentian Schenley Gardens. In exchange for spending at least four hours per week with the residents, students receive discounted housing while gaining valuable experience interacting with adults aged 55+.

Learn More

Fieldwork Educator Event

The occupational therapy department hosts an annual continuing education event that includes poster presentations from ELOTD students and a keynote speaker. The event provides free continuing education to clinical partners who provided fieldwork experiences within the past year.

Past topics have included:

  • 2016: Mindfulness in Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Education
  • 2017: Occupational Therapy's Role in Assisting Clients with Substance Use Disorders
  • 2018: Suicide Awareness and Prevention
  • 2019: Asserting Our Competence and Affirming the Value of Occupation with Confidence, featuring the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecturer: Ellen Cohn, OTR, ScD, FAOTA
  • 2020: Best Practices and Self Care in a Virtual Practice Environment

Alumni support has been the cornerstone of the Chatham University occupational therapy program continuing to grow in expert practice and sustain valuable community partnerships.  Thank you, alumni, for:

  • Guest lecturing in our clinical courses
  • Hosting students for Fieldwork and Capstone education
  • Annual advising of the ELOTD and PPOTD programs through work on our community advisory board
  • Donating your time and expertise during our annual interview day
  • Willingness to share expertise and contacts with students
  • Lifelong passion for occupational therapy

Joyce Salls Occupational Therapy Student Award

The Class of 2018 created the Joyce Salls Occupational Therapy Student Award to financially support deserving OT students that demonstrate the qualities of leadership, advocacy, and service of our former program director, Dr. Joyce Salls.

Thanks to continued generosity, we were able to award scholarship monies to the following occupational therapy student awardees:

  • 2018 – Carla Monzo
  • 2019 – Dedrick Truong
  • 2020 – Dominique Peterson

We welcome any level of community/alumni support that you can provide to this scholarship opportunity—whether that is a one-time donation or a multi-year commitment.

If you are able and willing to support an OT student, give nowWith your support, we can continue to encourage the next generation of occupational therapists in their pursuit of excellence.

Jewish Healthcare Foundation Patient Safety Fellowship

  • Kathryn Pollock, Class of 2019
  • Megan Zugger & Jessica Todd, Class of 2022

Sensory Garden at Eden Hall

In 2019, faculty from the OT department received an internal University grant to support the creation of a therapeutic sensory garden on the Eden Hall Campus that could be used by Chatham students and ultimately extended to the community. The therapeutic garden uses sustainable elements that actively engage the sensory systems of the individual experiencing the garden (i.e., sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and movement).

Learn More : Checkerboard 1 - Sensory Garden at Eden Hall

Go Baby Go!

First developed at the University of Delaware, the GoBabyGo! program aims to help children with mobility impairments become more mobile by modifying drivable toy cars. The club was created by physical therapy students in 2016 and the goal is to modify cars for up to four children at each of 2-3 events per year.