Genesis Rehab Services, Kennett Square, Pa, has given $500,000 to the Foundation of UMDNJ, allowing the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) to establish the only cccupational therapy assistant program in New Jersey.

The program, which will be offered in collaboration with several New Jersey community colleges, will enable students to complete part of their course requirements locally. This program will be adapted to a distance-learning program in the future.

"Because of a predicted state and national shortage of occupational therapy assistants (OTAs), we look forward to this innovative partnership with Genesis Rehab Services that will help to prepare students for this vitally important field," said Julie O’Sullivan Maillet, PhD, interim dean, SHRP, in a statement. "The combination of our strengths puts SHRP and Genesis Rehab Services in a unique position to develop an outstanding program."

In its 2010 Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of OTAs will grow by 30% from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will continue to rise as Baby Boomers age and require rehabilitation and assistance with activities of daily living. In addition, the increasing use of inclusive education with more students with disabilities educated in the mainstream is also feeding the demand.

It is anticipated that the program at UMDNJ will begin accepting students during the summer of 2011. For more information about the new program, contact Kenneth Gill, PhD, at the School of Health Related Professions, at (908) 889-2438 or kgill@umdnj.edu.

UMDNJ has 6,000 students attending the state’s three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health on five campuses.

Genesis Rehab Services is among the leading providers of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, and wellness services in the long-term care rehabilitation industry. It partners with skilled nursing centers, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, hospitals, home health companies, adult day care programs, and outpatient clinics to provide comprehensive therapy services, primarily to older adults. Genesis operates and staffs rehab gyms in 25 states and the District of Columbia. 

[Source: New Jersey Health Foundation]