The Older Driver Initiative from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Bethesda, Md, has awarded six mini-grants totaling $24,000 to increase the availability of specialized driving rehabilitation services and develop a toolkit of resources for OT programs.

Funding was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to make OT programs more available to the public for at-risk senior drivers, promoting independence, and driving for as long as safely possible.

Esther Wagner, Older Driver Program analyst at NHTSA, says the agency views OTs as uniquely skilled and situated to address community mobility and driving. “By identifying ways to remove the barriers, more occupational therapy practitioners will be able to move into this important and exciting area of expertise," she says, according to AOTA.

Recipients who will develop programs include:
•Donna Stressel, OTR, CDI, CDRS, of Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady, NY ($6,000)
•Mary Jo McGuire, MS, OTR/L, OTPP, FAOTA, of Rehabilitation and Health Center at Park West in Akron, Ohio ($6,000)
•Robin Ogawa, OTR/L, of Long Beach Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif ($3,000)
•Julie Collins, MA, OTR/L, of Grady Memorial Hospital, in Delaware, Ohio ($3,000)
•Debra Kerrigan, MS, OTR/L, of Newton Wellesley Hospital Department of Rehabilitation Services in Newton, Mass ($3,000)
•Loretta Stone, OT, of St Johns Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo ($3,000)

Locally, awardees will expand services in their communities. Nationally, they will contribute resources to the Program Development Toolkit posted on the AOTA Web site and made available for programs across the country, says AOTA.

[Source: AOTA]