Gannon University Recognizes Occupational Therapy Month

OT Month logoPosted: April 16, 2015

During the month of April, Gannon University celebrates Occupational Therapy Month and the more than 185,000 occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants and students who work nationwide to help people to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations).

On April 11, the Gannon University chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), a national honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni will host the third annual Inclusion Dance at Gannon's Morosky Academic Center. The dance is a social event for young persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This year's theme is Lights, Action Red Carpet. The students were inspired by "Spread the Word to End the Word," an ongoing campaign by Special Olympics and Best Buddies to inspire respect and acceptance through raising the consciousness of society about the effect of hurtful words and disrespect. Last year, more than 70 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities attended the event.

This month, PTE members conducted an assessment of Goodwill Garden, Gannon University's community garden, with the goal of making it more accessible and usable to persons with disabilities. As part of other community outreach initiatives, OT students will host an event at LifeWorks Erie, 406 Peach Street, called "A Sensory Experience For Your Hands." The activity, which employs sugar scrubs to get rid of dry, winter skin, is designed to highlight the way in which senses are used to navigate the world. On April 24 junior occupational therapy students will conduct an ergonomic assessment of Wayside Presbyterian Church in Millcreek Township. The students will examine the accessibility of the church and the effects of lighting and acoustics.

Bernadette Hattjar, Dr.OT., associate professor of occupational therapy, was elected to the Leaders & Legacies Society of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. The society identifies and honors occupational therapy professionals who have demonstrated leadership abilities and skills through service in a variety of civic and professional organizations. She will be inducted on April 17, in Nashville, Tennessee during the annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA). Gannon Assistant Professor Amy Brzuz, OTD will present a poster entitled "Driving Cessation: To Drive or Ride" at the conference. Additionally, Lynne Oberle, Ph.D. and her 2014 graduate thesis group are presenting the poster, "Program Evaluation Regarding Domestic Versus International Service Learning." AOTA's 50,000 members include occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapy students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and worldwide.

This year, Gannon University will welcome an initial class of about 30 graduate students to the occupational therapy doctoral program at Gannon's new campus in Ruskin, Florida. The campus is an innovative response to the increasing demand for high-quality graduate education in disciplines that serve the rapidly expanding health care sector of the Florida economy. The additional campus increases the opportunity for Gannon University students, prospective students and faculty to help meet the need for health professionals in a state where the population of both older persons and school-age persons is growing.

At the Erie campus, more than 200 students are enrolled in Gannon's five-year, direct-entry BS/MS program. The program is one of largest academic programs in terms of enrollment in the University and one of the few in the nation to offer fifth- year financial aid for graduate studies. Gannon occupational therapy graduates achieved a pass rate of 98 percent on the 2014 national board examination for certification in occupational therapy. 

To learn more about Gannon University's occupational therapy programs, click here.