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Nazareth College’s School of Health and Human Services is pleased to announce the addition of an occupational therapy (OT) program to its roster of health-related academic programs. The new program, which was granted Developing Program Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), will begin admitting students into its five-year B.S./M.S. program in the fall of 2011.
The OT program will provide students with professional knowledge and skills, an understanding of human development, a solid neurological, physiological, and psychological background, and beginning research experiences. Graduates will be able to work with individuals who may require assistance in achieving the daily living tasks, or “occupations,” that enable them to make their lives meaningful. Occupational therapists believe that people are shaped by what they do, and what they accomplish in their daily lives. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) describes this by saying that occupational therapy helps people to live life to its fullest.
The new program director, Linda Shriber, Ed.D., taught most recently at SUNY Buffalo and brings 35 years of experience as an OT and 20 years in academia to her position. She’s enthusiastic about what the OT program means for the College. “Students at Nazareth will be able to learn in classes and in on-site clinics that have an interdisciplinary focus, allowing them to learn with and from students in physical therapy, speech-language pathology, nursing, creative arts therapy, social work, and other health-related professions,” she explains. “This feature makes Nazareth’s OT program unique, and it is a philosophy that the College promotes and lives.” Nazareth OT graduates will have the real life experiences with the people and future professionals that prepare them to be successful occupational therapists.
Shirley Szekeres, Ph.D., dean of the School of Health and Human Services, agrees. “In rehabilitation, these therapies often work together on an inter-professional team,” she says. “Their mutual understanding of the practice of each and strategies for working together are very important.”
Although the first OT students won’t arrive on campus for another year, during that time Shriber will respond to ACOTE’s recommendations, recruit students and promote the program, meet with other departments and community members, establish student policies and procedures, and, in general, make the OT program known throughout the College.
Founded in 1924, Nazareth College is located on a close-knit, suburban campus in the dynamic, metropolitan region of Rochester, N.Y. The College offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs in health and human services, education, and management. Nazareth's strong cultures of service and community prepare students to be successful professionals and engaged citizens. The College enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students.