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.”
Just before Christmas, Lisa Makarick finished a course in community health. Just after Christmas, Makarick discovered a profound contrast between the classroom and Cabarete, Dominican Republic, where she traveled with 11 others from Keuka College to bring health education to some of the youngest residents of the community.
“It’s one thing to do a windshield study on [community health] and it’s a whole other beast to do a service project, to get down there with the people and work hand-in-hand with them,” said Makarick, a Hammondsport resident.
Makarick is pursuing her baccalaureate nursing degree through the College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP). She attends classes at Corning Community College, one of 2o ASAP sites around the state. Nine other nursing students from cohorts in the Syracuse, Elmira, Ithaca, and Utica areas, and one occupational science major from the home campus in Keuka Park, also traveled to Cabarete.
From January 2-9, the Keuka College group, led by Patty Mattingly, associate professor of nursing, assisted the Mariposa DR Foundation, which invests in sustainable solutions to end generational poverty, serving girls as young as 8-years-old. By battling barriers that keep the poor vulnerable and limited, and offering support such as access to quality health care and education, the Mariposa DR Foundation seeks to educate, empower and employ girls in Cabarete to ultimately give back to their community.
The students presented a workshop on dental hygiene and hand-washing, gave a first-aid presentation to parents, and made home visits to assess safety risks and recommend follow-up by Foundation staff. In addition, students also toured a public hospital and an HIV clinic in the area. The trip also fulfilled Keuka College Field Period ™ requirements for the students. Typically, a Field Period ™ enables a student to explore professions, other cultures, or even provide community service for others, but usually, only one of those elements happens at one time. However, the 2014 Keuka College team accomplished all of the above.
According to Makarick, a maternal service nurse and mother of five who will finish her nursing program in April, the trip was an “amazing experience” that she hopes to repeat. The team worked with 15 girls, ages 8 -11, providing encouragement with extracurricular activities that included simple games and health-care instruction. In that region, children only attend a half-day of school and often lack positive alternatives to “just wandering around all afternoon,” said Makarick.
Thanks to one of her daughters, Makarick said she was educated on the threat of sex trafficking and modern slavery facing these young girls. According to New Friends, New Life, a human rights agency seeking to raise awareness, 13 is the average age at which American girls, particularly those vulnerable to poverty, are trafficked into the sex industry. For the poor and vulnerable from developing countries, where legal protection is nearly nonexistent, sexual exploitation and forced prostitution may happen even earlier. As such, Makarick said the impact the team could make was clear.
“I was absolutely not disappointed,” said Makarick. “You can see the effect fairly quickly, even small, little [things] of having someone encourage them … they just bonded with us, and we learned from them, too.”
The group split into two teams of six to conduct home inspections in the neighborhoods where the girls lived, and, in some cases, the level of poverty was “pretty overwhelming,” Mattingly said, describing scenarios where rat poison was left where children could come in contact with it. One student described barbed wire “clotheslines” so low to the ground that children’s bodies and faces bore cuts from running into it. Other elements of culture shock were encountered in el barrio (the ghetto) and the local hospital, which had just five beds in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and where equipment and staff practice was like “turning the clock back 30 years,” said Makarick.
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series of Q&As with new, full-time faculty members. Today, meet three of Keuka’s new additions.
Dr. David Pak Leon, assistant professor of political science, teaches International Relations, Political Development in Asia, and Globalization.
Last book read: Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson.
Favorite quote: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,” by George Orwell.
If you could be a fictional character, who would be and why? I can’t really think of a fictional character that I would like to be.
What makes teaching fun? It is always fun and interesting when I see students grow in knowledge throughout a semester. I enjoy lively discussions in and outside the classroom when different perspectives are presented. It is also nice when students tell me what they are learning and reading on their own, or when they bring in relevant outside materials or their own experiences that enrich our collective understanding of different issues. Seeing eager and engaged students makes teaching rewarding.
What do you do for fun? I enjoy listening to music and reading (politics, history, architecture, economics, and finance). I like browsing bookstores and antique shops, and biking.
Sunny Winstead of Burdett, N.Y., assistant professor of occupational therapy, is teaching classes in occupational therapy assessment and intervention for older adults.
Last book read: Other than a textbook? Maybe a Ruth Rendell mystery, but unfortunately it’s been awhile!
Favorite quote: You’ll never be sorry for taking the high road.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why? Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books. She’s smart, inventive, and brave. Plus, I’d love to have a Time-Turner so I could be in two places at once!
What makes teaching fun? Collaborating with students and seeing their confidence grow as they move toward clinical practice.
What do you do for fun? I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, gardening, and hiking.
Dr. Jason McKinney of Penfield, assistant professor of social work, is teaching a number of classes this year, including Youth Services Delivery, Research Methods, Ethics and Diversity, and Field Practicum.
Last book read: Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, by Scott Jurek.
Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Mahatma Gandhi
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why?:Cookie Monster. I wish I could eat junk food all day and never gain a pound!
What makes teaching fun? Students make teaching fun! I love the interactive part of teaching, such as class discussion or learning activities designed to connect theory and practice.
What do you do for fun? I play guitar, ukulele, and percussion. I run, garden, lift weights, and study Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Coming Monday: Three more Q&A profiles of new, full-time faculty members.
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the eighth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
Halie Squires ’13 of Parish, N.Y., earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in occupational sciences and is continuing at Keuka to pursue her master’s degree in occupational therapy.
She’s currently completing the first of two 12-week fieldwork placements for hands-on experience in both traditional and non-traditional OT environments. Her current post is at a short-term rehab facility in Saratoga Springs, and when that concludes, she’ll return to campus for another semester of studies.
Squires said she is most thankful for the professionalism developed through Keuka’s Field Period program.
“After eight Field Periods or fieldwork placements, I feel as if I can carry myself with respect in a professional place of employment and communicate effectively and assuredly,” she said.
The occupational therapy students pass skeletal hand forms back and forth along the table top counters in the science lab room. Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Holly Preston quizzes them on the bones, joints and muscles that connect each intricate part of the fingers, thumb, palm and wrist.
As part of Preston’s pop quiz, the students palpate their palms and observe the innate response of their fingers to the change in pressure. In addition to the natural study their own bodies provide for the class – Applied Anatomy – Preston passes out iPads for students to share and instructs them to open up an app called “Muscle and Bone Anatomy 3D.”
Sophomore Caleigh Alterio uses her fingertips to scroll from a muscular view of the body to a 360-degree rotation of the skeleton. Across the table, sophomore Nick Scherer scrolls through a similar screen image on his personal iPad, pointing out how it lets the viewer see multiple layers of muscle and bone, all of which can be rotated in 3-D. The download was just $7, he says.
“It’s so cool just being able to actually see what we’re feeling,” sophomore Mackenzie Berger says as she mimics the movements of the arm, wrist and hand onscreen with her own appendage.
“I didn’t know the answer to [labeling] pictures on the lab exam, so this helps,” adds sophomore Taylor Szwec. Indeed, the iPad app boasts video and even has an online quiz feature that Preston encourages students to work through. (more…)