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Campus News
     
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue:  April 22, 2002
Volume 37, Number 19

OT students serve community

An innovative course in the UNM School of Medicine Occupational Therapy program helps community programs and provides students with information about community-based health issues and skills in advocacy, leadership and communication.

Since 1997, 121 students enrolled in the Community Health course have given their expertise and time to 36 different community programs in the Greater Albuquerque area, said Professor Terry K. Crowe, Ph.D.

The program has served the All Faiths Receiving Home, Albuquerque Partnership, Career Works, Catholic Social Services, Cuidando Los Ninos, Juvenile Justice Center, Healthcare for the Homeless, Resources Inc., Pathways and VSA.

During the semester, students spend at least 40 hours completing a community project.

Projects include writing a grant for a day program for the homeless; developing program evaluation procedures; writing and publishing a coloring book for children focusing on safety; developing a resource directory of services for low-income families; and following legislative bills.

At semester's end, students present their project outcomes to faculty and peers. Because of the quality of the student projects, many agencies request that more students return in the coming year.

“While giving back to the community, the students learn specific competencies such as organizational skills, working collaboratively with others towards an end goal, writing grants and evaluating outcomes of projects,” Crowe said.

“In addition, the students interact with individuals with life challenges including legal problems, homelessness, mental and behavioral health concerns and poverty,” she said.

The Occupational Therapy Program enrolled their first students in the summer of 1993. In 2000, they transitioned from an undergraduate program to an entry-level Masters program.