Innovative educational collaboration improves rural health care service and employment, serves as model for other programs.
Columbia, MO – March 24, 2015 – Approximately 2.23 million Missourians live within rural counties that have limited access to health care services like occupational therapy. In fact, many occupational therapy positions in rural areas went unfilled from 2012–2013 and occupational therapy education programs in these areas were rare.
In an effort to fill the gap of educational programs and improve the health outcomes the rural communities, The School of Health Professions, along with corporate and community college partners, established the Missouri Health Professions Consortium (MHPC) and created an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program. The new OTA program was designed to be completed in one year on a community college campus, and accelerate the entry of new occupational therapy practitioners in to the workforce.
The creation of MHPC was a result of the vision and partnership between School of Health Professions Dean Emeritus, Dr. Richard Oliver; RehabCare Group, Incorporated, a provider of rehabilitation services based in St. Louis; and five Missouri-area community colleges: East Central College, Moberly Area Community College, North Central Missouri College, State Fair Community College and Three Rivers College. After receiving RehabCare Group’s $1.3 million pledge toward the project, Oliver recruited Dr. Lea C. Brandt, School of Health Professions Associate Clinical Professor and Co-Director of MU Center for Health Ethics, to serve as MHPC’s Program Director.
The organization, successful outcomes and positive impact of the OTA program, under Brandt’s direction, was published in American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) which is the prestigious, official publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The journal is the OT community’s primary source of information on effective and efficient research practices for its more than 140,000 subscribers.
“I think the OTA program really is a model program for the future of technical programming at colleges and universities. In a rural community, there may be a demand for OTAs and just one or two graduating classes may fill that demand,” said Dr. Brent Bates, Vice President of Educational and Student Support Services at State Fair Community College (SFCC). “Alone, SFCC may not be able to develop or sustain such a program. Through the MHPC partnership, we’re sharing our resources across sectors of the state and becoming a great asset that meets the needs of our community and serves students in an impactful way.”
Dr. Brandt hopes that this model will be duplicated by other states seeking a practical way to provide individuals with affordable health care delivered by skilled health professionals and reduce the rate of unemployment by creating a steady supply of skilled health professionals for businesses.
It not only impacted the lives of its rural community residents, but also the lives of its graduates. According to a postgraduation survey, over half of the graduates between 2010 and 2012 reported the program afforded them a rewarding career, financial security, a foundation for professional success and career-laddering opportunities. The class employment rate was 98% with over 90% of the graduates working in rural health care environments and 25% pursuing a higher degree.
“We’re located in a rural area, so it’s more challenging for students to pack-up and leave to get their training. The program offers an opportunity for students to stay in their hometowns, get trained for a job that meets the critical health care needs in our local area and be compensated well,” said Dr. Bates. “It’s a win-win-win program for our community, our students and our college.”
The hybrid delivery educational model consists of classroom lectures taught by Mizzou SHP faculty via interactive television (ITV) technology and other web-based tools that makes learning accessible for students living in rural communities. Instructors meet face-to-face with students at three of the five participating colleges for the required lab sessions. For the colleges that do not host lab sessions, students are able to participate at the college closest to them to minimize the travel distance.
Though there is no time restraint on students completing the required prerequisite courses, the OTA program is comprised of three 16-week semesters from January-December. In addition to the coursework and labs, participants must fulfill the fieldwork components of the program. Health care and occupational therapy clinicians in the home area of the student serve as fieldwork educators and supervise the occupational therapy assistant students.
Upon completion of pre-coursework, OTA classes and fieldwork, students graduate from their home campuses.
“It’s been very exciting to be part of such an innovative educational model that not only changes the lives of students but also improves the quality of healthcare for many Missourians who wouldn’t otherwise have access,” says Dr. Brandt.
The Missouri Health Professions Consortium (MHPC) Occupational Therapy Assistant Program is an innovative educational model that was specifically designed to address needs unique to rural communities. The model takes into account not only the distinctiveness of rural practice environments but also the educational barriers unique to rural student populations. The MHPC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program addresses the needs of these communities by providing educational opportunities to rural, place-bound students. The program has produced viable employment options, resulting in improved access to occupational therapy services as well as positive economic outcomes for graduates who reside in rural communities.
About MU School of Health Professions
The MU School of Health Professions (SHP) is the University of Missouri system’s only school of health professions and the state’s only such public program located on a health sciences campus. Health professionals account for more than 60 percent of the total U.S. health care workforce and represent more than half of the fastest growing occupations in the country according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics. With programs in rehabilitation, health promotion, diagnostic and imaging sciences, graduates of the School of Health Professions fill critical roles in health care.
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Congratulations to four of our outstanding SHP students, Alexa Burtnett, Lydia Ely, Jordyn McKinney and Poonam Sheevam, who each received the 2015 Mizzou ’39 Award!
In the spirit of service that was the cornerstone of the 1839 founding of the University of Missouri, the Mizzou Alumni Association Student Board presents the Mizzou ’39 Award to 39 outstanding seniors each year.
These students were chosen for their academic achievement, leadership and service to Mizzou and the community. The honorees represent a variety of majors, activities and organizations from across campus.
Each winner also chooses a faculty or staff member to recognize as their adviser throughout their college career.
For more information about the Mizzou ’39 Class of 2015, please click here.
Mizzou Hosts 15th Annual Wheelchair Relay on March 13
Community Event Promotes Disability Awareness, Benefits Mizzou Wheelchair Basketball Scholarships.
Columbia, Mo. – March 9, 2015 - The 15th Annual Wheelchair Relay is designed to help able-bodied persons better understand what it’s like to live with a disability. As a team of four, competitors complete a circuit of activities including playing sports such as basketball and volleyball and maneuvering through an obstacle course in a wheelchair. Sign language jeopardy, a traditional relay race and disability education are also scheduled.
The event will be held March 13, 2015 from 6-8pm in Brewer Field House at the Mizzou Student Recreation Complex. Registration for a team of four is $20 with all proceeds benefitting the Mizzou Wheelchair Basketball Scholarship Fund. Team spots are still available, visit http://www.mizzou-wheelchair-relay.eventbrite.com for more information and to register a team.
Mizzou Wheelchair Relay is organized by the MU School of Health Professions, Four Winds Learning Community, MU Office of Disability Services, Mizzou Rec Sports, Student Physical Therapy Organization, Mizzou Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative and MU Wheelchair Basketball Team.
“Understanding what it’s like to live with a disability is a valuable tool for raising disability awareness at Mizzou and in our community,” says Carmen Abbott, Wheelchair Relay Coordinator and Physical Therapy Professor in the MU School of Health Professions. “And when the winning team faces off against the MU Wheelchair Basketball team, it’s always a surprising experience.”
Members of the media are welcomed to attend- and even form teams and participate. For a media pass, please visit http://www.mizzourec.com/about/media-access/ to complete the access request form within 48 hours of the event.
The MU School of Health Professions (SHP) is the University of Missouri system’s only school of health professions and the state’s only public allied health program located on a health sciences campus. Allied health professions account for more than 60 percent of the total U.S. health care workforce and represent more than half of the fastest growing occupations in the country according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics. With programs in rehabilitation, diagnostic and imaging sciences, graduates of the School of Health Professions fill critical roles in health care. The school is comprised of six departments and 11 disciplines, each with its own specialized accreditation processes. Visit shp.missouri.edu for more information.
“Nearly one in every five people, or 42.5 million American adults, have a diagnosable mental health condition. Half of all lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14. Often our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even family members are suffering emotionally and don’t recognize the symptoms or won’t ask for help.” –The Campaign to Change Direction, www.changedirection.org
University of Missouri Board of Curators Chairperson Donald Cupps recently outlined five priority areas for the system campuses to review this year. Among his priorities is making sure students have access to what he called “mental health first aid.” College students need to know where to get help to cope with the adjustments to college life. Cupps told The Maneater “Lack of access to mental health resources for our students should never happen. We need to identify all the impediments we have to access, diagnosis and treatment of our students.”
Stephanie Reid-Arndt, Associate Dean of the School of Health Professions and former Chairperson of the Department of Health Psychology knows that access to mental health resources is important for students. “I’m glad to see the University of Missouri is actively seeking ways to improve access to mental health services on all our campuses,” Reid-Arndt said. “The ‘5 Signs’ messaging from The Campaign to Change Direction that launched today is a great way to raise awareness and encourage discussion about mental health on our campus.”
- Their personality changes.
- They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated or moody.
- They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people.
- They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior.
- They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances.
See more at www.changedirection.com
The Campaign to Change Direction was inspired by discussions at the White House National Conference on Mental Health following the Newtown, CT tragedy in 2013. The campaign encourages people to see mental health as having equal value to physical health and establishes a common language that allows people to recognize and talk about the signs of emotional suffering.
The respiratory therapy field has seen a lot of changes throughout the years, from new equipment to new students; but one face has remained constant for more than 25 years.
In 1987 Kathryn Moss was asked to join the University of Missouri School of Health Professions to aid in the development of a consistent lab experience for respiratory therapy students. In the decades since her arrival, Moss has been an integral part of the respiratory therapy department and many of its changes.
“It’s been so rewarding to see the lab curriculum mature over the years and to see how it contributes to the success of our students and alumni,” Moss said. From her time at MU Moss has noticed that there are two things that distinguish the university’s respiratory therapy education from other institutions. Moss says the first of these is the opportunity for students to participate in clinical practice within the first semester of their entrance into the program. “The learning in clinical practice is so impactful. It benefits the students from the first week,” Moss said.
The second distinction Moss finds is that faculty members serve as clinical preceptors for student clinical experiences for the first two and a half semesters.
“It gives us the opportunity to be accountable for what students are learning in the classroom in a way that helps them develop sound clinical habits,” Moss said.
Moss describes that approach to teaching as intense “but impactful.” It is within those clinical experiences that Moss finds the part of her teaching she loves the most. For Moss, aiding in the students’ clinical course work is the most rewarding.
“I get to be there while students are in stressful situations and I get to see them realize they can think clearly in a stressful situation.” Moss said. “I like to watch them see that in themselves.”
Currently she is teaching three classes, one of which is a new addition to the field’s curriculum. The class “Current Problems in Respiratory Therapy” presents May graduates with an opportunity to explore hot topics in respiratory care. Through researching the latest issues in health care, students explore topics such as legislative advocacy and new diseases, topics for which books and research have not yet been developed.
“It’s been fun for me to see the students really embrace the challenge,” Moss said.
Over the years as all but one piece of respiratory therapy equipment has changed, so Moss has been challenged to keep learning. But the challenge is something she welcomes. As Moss reaches her final decade in teaching, she is finishing up her PhD program, an experience that she describes as both challenging and energizing.
The program allows for much overlap with her teaching responsibility. In her dissertation topic Moss chose an area where the answers discovered could contribute to the current discussions in respiratory therapy education.
Moss is looking at National Board for Respiratory Care (NDRC) exam scores as an indicator of professional competence. Through her research she aims to evaluate the respiratory therapy field’s push towards the requirement of higher academic degrees for practice.
“There is very little evidence that suggests clinicians who obtain higher academic degrees perform better.” Moss said. “Having the answer will enable us to make an evidence-based decision.”
From seeking challenges in research and teaching Moss continues throughout her tenure to strive to find exciting challenges that benefit herself, her students, the program and the field of respiratory therapy.
Article by Samantha Kummerer, SHP Communications
Congratulations to the SHP Class of 2014 who graduated on December 20th at the beautiful Missouri Theater in Downtown Columbia.
The commencement exercises were attended by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, SHP faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as loving family and friends of the graduates.
We are so proud of our graduates and wish them the best in their future endeavors! To see more photos, click here.
Several DMU faculty members and students recently attended the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography conference in Louisville, KY and came home with honors and recognition!
MHS student Tiffany Floyd took home 2nd place in the SDMS W. Frederick Sample Student Excellence Award for Original Research. Her project was “Effects of Rockstar Energy Drink on Heart Function as Measured by Echocardiogram”.
The undergraduate students also presented posters of their research projects at the conference.
Attendance and participation in this national conference gives our DMU students exposure to leaders in the sonography field, state-of-the-art equipment, and networking opportunities across the nation.
Congratulations to all our DMU students and faculty!
Over 50 prospective students attended the SHP Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy Open House last week! They represented several cities across Missouri, including: Centralia, Kirksville, Columbia, St. Louis, Barnhart, Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau, Troy, Carthage, Springfield, and Clinton. There were also students from Iowa and Illinois.
Students participated in interactive stations, won door prizes, attended advising sessions and held conversations with current students and faculty, to name a few activities.
For more photos of SHP OT and PT representatives engaging with prospective students, click here.
The SHP Career Fair was a huge success! There were more than 275 students in attendance, 60 organizations, and a photo booth for students to take a professional picture. Many employers commented that it was well attended and organized. Kudos to all who supported the event! To see more photos from the fair, click here.
Thank you to the SHP students, parents, alumni, and friends who attended the SHP Involvement Fair and Open House on Friday, September 19th. We had a great turnout!
The Involvement Fair provided an avenue for students to check out available opportunities and to get involved in health professions student organizations. Advising and Career Services were a part of the event as well.