Four Keuka College faculty from the Division of Occupational Therapy and two graduates of the master’s program in occupational therapy wowed professional occupational therapists (OTs) with peer-reviewed presentations at the National American Occupational Therapy Association Conference in Nashville, April 16-19. In addition, nine current OT majors attended the conference, gaining exposure to professional development and new research within the field.
“There were over 9,000 OT’s in attendance,” said Dr. Vicki Smith, division chair and professor of occupational therapy. “All our topics were current to present clinical and academic practice. All our topics were a hit.”
Dr. Smith and Dr. Michele Bennett, assistant professor of occupational therapy, participated in a peer review presentation, “Big Fish from Small Academic Ponds: Preparing Students for Primary Care,” along with representatives from Ithaca College, St Francis University, and the University of Findlay.
According to Smith, the collaborative “Big Fish” presentation focused on how each of the four institutions prepares OT students for the changes in clinical practice due to the Affordable Care Act. Within that context, Smith and Bennett highlighted the Keuka College approach of expanding clinical education placement of OT students into community-based fieldwork locations.
In the last two years, Smith said “we have accrued more than 50 nontraditional and community-based sites where our students can gain new hands-on skills to meet future health care needs.”
Among those sites are assisted living communities, home health care agencies, migrant worker programs, palliative care homes like Keuka Comfort Care, organizations such as the Literacy Volunteers of Ontario or Yates Counties, Syracuse Rescue Mission and businesses such as Wegmans.
According to Smith, the representatives from Ithaca focused on their students’ use of technology with older adults and needs assessment for the ‘well-elderly’ population. Those from St. Francis emphasized adult dayhab programming, research and missions work, while OT students at Findlay have been offering supervised OT programs in partnership with the prison system, working with inmates along the range of incarceration to community re-entry and probation.
“We are all small schools and this is how we get our clinical experiences done to prepare future practitioners,” Smith said.
During the conference, Dr. Bennett and Dr. Carmela Battaglia, professor of occupational therapy, also presented a poster presentation on “Designing Learning Objectives and Activities for Achieving Measurable Student Outcomes.”
“What Carmela and Michele did was excellent,” Smith said, describing how the duo presented an electronic process for evaluating the strength of the occupational therapy curriculum through a more extensive use of Moodle, the College’s online course delivery channel.
“Instead of students just posting assignments into Moodle, they collected additional data based on the outcomes of everything the students submit,” Smith explained. As a result, the integrated data helps provide a more accurate measure of the learning outcomes of the curriculum, she described.
In addition, Dr. Holly Preston, associate professor of occupational therapy, and 2014 OT master’s graduates Matt Nowak and Kacie Horoszewski presented “Validity and Reliability of an iPod Forearm Goniometer App” as another poster presentation. Preston, Nowak and Horoszewski previously presented their collaborative research at the end of Nowak and Horoszewski’s graduate year of study, sharing it at a research summit hosted at SUNY Brockport with other colleges.
Traditionally, a physical tool is used to measure the joint and/or muscle flexibility of a patient, such as forearm or elbow movements. Their work tested the reliability of using a handheld mobile device running the Apple-based mobile app. Research like this potentially could replace the traditional tool, with measurements taken by the app as the patient moves his or her arm while holding the device.
According to Nowak, “we measure joint angles a lot when doing therapy. We found this app and we found there hadn’t been any recent research on it when we did our review. We know Dr. Preston was interested in this research, so we thought she was a great asset and could help guide us through the experimental process a little better, given that she was already versed in it.”
“We were very well received at a national conference, and it was very validating to have people from all of the U.S. contact us and seek our research out,” said Nowak, who now works full-time as a licensed OT in the Auburn area with Lifetime Care, a home care agency based in Rochester.
Horoszewski added that it was exciting to have other OT colleagues at the conference “seek out our poster, ask thought- provoking questions and encourage us to conduct a follow up study with the most current Apple technology available.”
“Overall, the experience has given me the confidence to pursue further research opportunities in the clinic and seek additional collaborations with the Keuka College occupational therapy program in the future,” said Horoszewski, who is now working as a licensed OT in a geriatric rehabilitation center outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“As an OT graduate, this was my first professional presentation, and I think it went it great,” Nowak said, crediting the numerous pre-professional experiences gleaned through his Keuka College career to set the stage for success.
“Field Period™ was the first thing and the actual experiences of getting out in the professional world on our breaks from school – that was a big part of it, the experiential learning. Having to do multiple presentations throughout my college career really set us up to do that presentation too,” Nowak added. “The faculty and staff in the OT division served us pretty well and they were able to get us all ready to be entry-level professionals in our field.”
Dr. Vicki Smith, professor and chair of occupational therapy (OT), has been named to the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Roster of Fellows.
The Roster of Fellows recognizes members of AOTA who, with their knowledge and expertise, have made a significant contribution to the continuing education and professional development of members of the association.
Nominated by Dr. Carole W. Dennis, professor of occupational therapy at Ithaca College, Smith will receive her award in Clinical and Academic Leadership through Business Management at AOTA’s 94th annual ceremony Saturday, April 5, in Baltimore, Md.
“I am honored to be recognized by the American Occupational Therapy Association,” said Smith, who earned a master’s degree in business administration. “I am proud to be able to prepare the next generation of occupational therapy professionals with the knowledge and skills I have gained.”
Dennis nominated Smith because of her “long and distinguished record of service to the profession of occupational therapy, which has included professional practice, management, authorship, fieldwork education, and academia.
“I think Vicki’s ‘can do’ attitude exemplifies her clinical and academic career as an occupational therapist,” said Dennis, who was named to the Roster of Fellows in 2012. “Over the years she has taken on a number of challenging work roles and responsibilities with determination and self-confidence, and has achieved very successful outcomes.”
According to Dennis, Smith is “giving back to the profession by serving on Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) Roster of Accreditation Evaluators, which provides a great service to the profession, but also allows her to maintain the excellence of Keuka’s Occupational Therapy Program.”
In addition to her duties at Keuka, Smith has served as director of several rehabilitation clinical sites; penned the textbooks Physical Dysfunction Practice Skills for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Occupational Therapy Transition from Classroom to Clinic—Physical Disability Fieldwork Applications; and wrote questions for the Occupational Therapy National Certification Examination. Smith also served eight years as an accreditation reviewer for occupational education programs throughout the country.
The AOTA awards recognize those members of the association who have excelled in their contributions to the profession. Fellows must be an occupational therapist and a current member of AOTA; have made a significant contribution to the profession; be considered to be well-rounded; and have meaningful occupational therapy and other relevant involvement at the local, state, and/or national levels.
Established in 1917, AOTA is the national occupational therapy professional association. It represents the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners and students, and improves the quality of occupational therapy services.
AOTA membership includes occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and occupational therapy students. AOTA’s programs and activities are directed toward assuring the quality of occupational therapy services, improving consumer access to health care services, and promoting the professional development of members.
Editor’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of profiles of new, full-time faculty members who have joined the Keuka community.
What do a Titanic survivor and two Jamaican Olympians have in common?
They are all past clients of Stanley Paul, associate professor of occupational therapy (OT).
“I treated many different patients from all walks of life when I was an OT at Beth Abraham Health Services at the Bronx and Manhattan,” said Paul.
Paul “likes to meet new people and listen to their stories. One client I will never forget is Mary Kline, a woman with a strong German accent. When she was 16, she served as a maid on the Titanic. I will always remember her; she was sweet.”
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of profiles of new full-time faculty who have joined the Keuka community.
A graduate of Keuka’s occupational therapy (OT) program, Michele Bennett has firsthand knowledge of what sets it apart from programs at other colleges.
“I love Keuka; the environment is engaging, and I have a sense of pride that goes with being part of this community,” said Bennett, who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and a master’s degree the following year.
While teaching full time is new to Bennett, teaching at Keuka is not. She has served as a guest lecturer in several OT classes and was an adjunct instructor last year. This semester, the assistant professor teaches the occupational development classes and serves as coordinator of fieldwork experiences in non-traditional settings.
In 1986, Pixar Animation Studios opened, Aliens and Top Gun were hits at the box office, Stephen King’s It was one of the most popular books, and Professor of Occupational Therapy (OT) Peter Talty arrived on the Keuka College campus.
Now, 25 years later, Talty will end his tenure at Keuka College at the conclusion of the spring 2012 semester. Talty has been an occupational therapist for more than 40 years, and has practiced OT in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, a hand therapy clinic, home care, skilled nursing facilities, school systems, factories (ergonomics) and community agencies.
Talty was teaching kinesiology at the University at Buffalo when he received a call from Shirley Zurchauer, the founding chair of OT at Keuka.
“I came to Keuka for one course and one semester, and never left,” said Talty, who has also served as an adjunct professor at D’Youville College in Buffalo. Until 1997, he was also the owner and president of OT Works PC, a private OT practice serving numerous agencies in the Western New York area.
According to Talty, who served as division chair from 1991-2002 and was selected Professor of the Year in 1994, his departure will have no impact on the students’ education.
“We have great leadership and advocacy in OT under [Professor of Occupational Therapy] Vicki Smith,” said Talty. “She is the best division chair we’ve ever had and is a strong and tireless leader. She knows OT practice, the OT environments, and the place of education in making the best OT clinician possible. She is also a tireless advocate for the OT profession, the OT faculty, and the OT students.”
He also believes Keuka has “the greatest relationships with OT clinicians because of Jean Wannall (professor of occupational therapy and academic fieldwork coordinator),” Talty explained. “Jean has the best interpersonal skills and is able to establish and maintain strong ties with the OT clinicians who train our students. She also gets our students ready for the real world and serves as the link between the classroom and the clinics.”
In addition, Talty, who teaches Occupation Adaptation and Technology I, Advanced Theory, and Occupational and Assessment Intervention in Adolescence and Middle-adulthood I, says Keuka has a “curriculum that works, a dedicated faculty grounded in the real world of OT practice, a supportive environment, and fantastic labs and technology.
“Keuka has the most positive work environment that I have ever experienced,” he added. “There is an attitude of cooperation and support that is not common. The OT students are the best. They never miss class or are late unless something beyond their control occurs. They have faith in what we teach and work extremely hard to get the complex stuff we dispense. They also appreciate our efforts as faculty.”
After his departure from Keuka, Talty plans to ride his bike—with a group from the American Lung Association—from Seattle, Wash. to Washington, D.C. to raise funds for research.
“My father died of emphysema at the age of 54, and the fact that [the ride] is organized by the American Lung Association makes it all the more meaningful,” explained Talty. “It will be about 3,300 miles, take 49 days, and we will ride about 83 miles a day. I love to cycle and have always wanted to ride across America, but never had the time to train or do it.”
Talty and his wife, Jan, will spend the winter months in Florida, where he intends to explore teaching opportunities at Florida Gulf Coast University, practice hand therapy and rehabilitation, and volunteer at the Florida Holocaust Museum.
While his wife will not make “the ‘Big Ride’ with me, she will help me write the next chapter in our great life together,” said Talty. “We will be married 46 years Oct. 30.”
When he returns to New York, Talty plans to volunteer at the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary, where he will be licensed to care for injured and orphaned wildlife. In 2013, Talty plans to walk the 2,180 mile-long Appalachian Trail, which passes through 14 states.