Johnson & Wales University (JWU) announces the launch of reportedly the state of Rhode Island’s first entry-level occupational therapy doctorate program.
The full-time, 36-month program, which includes unique collaborations with the university’s culinary, design and equine studies programs, received its official start on June 10, when the first student cohort was welcomed at the university.
“As Johnson & Wales University explored a larger presence in the healthcare market, the institution heard directly from industry of the growing need for more occupational therapists,” says Ann Burkhardt, founding director, Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program, College of Health & Wellness, in a media release from JWU.
“With input from industry leaders, we designed a program with diversity of access to inter-professional partners, a broader view of health and wellness as it affects quality of life, and real life experiences to push the borders of practice to be more inclusive. Our graduates will have the knowledge, skills, and experience to propose, design, develop, and grow practices to better meet the needs of people across the lifespan and to change care delivery for the shifting demographic of consumers of care.”
The program is housed in newly renovated space on JWU’s Downcity Campus that features two labs: an Occupations Lab and an Action Lab. The Occupations Lab includes a modified home setup of a living room, kitchen and bathroom, high-tech visual assessment and training equipment, a vestibular testing device for balance assessment, a 3-D printer for the production of splints and adapted equipment, and a hospital bed area for practice interactions with an artificial intelligence patient.
In addition, students have access to a state-of-the-art driving simulator, which is used as part of a comprehensive assessment to determine the extent that impairments in visual, cognitive and motor abilities may limit driving ability and performance. The Action Lab is designed ergonomically to protect students as they learn to transfer and move clients with a variety of special needs, such as mobility impairments.
JWU’s OTD program, which requires a bachelor’s degree, has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). The program will use a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to address the importance of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of people through facility and community based care, per the release.
Students in the program will collaborate with culinary arts faculty and students on the approach to improving food choices and preparation to support health and wellness for consumers. Together, they will explore the impact of culture, food and cooking in contributing to the health, wellness and care of individuals, communities and populations served.
JWU’s Equine Studies program will offer OTD students the opportunity to study the benefits of hippotherapy and prevocational equine activities.
In addition, OTD students will work with the College of Engineering & Design’s Integrated Product Design program to create solutions that increase person-environment-occupation fit for people with disabilities or challenges. In this partnership, OTD students can share critical insights and knowledge to inform design and better serve the end-user of relevant products and prototypes.
Johnson & Wales University has four campuses in Providence, Rhode Island; North Miami, Florida; Denver, Colorado; and Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, visit Johnson & Wales University.
[Source: Johnson & Wales University]