Projects aim to improve health status of vulnerable L.A. populations
Erin Malia Sako MA ’18 and Allie Schmiesing MA ’18, first-year students in the division’s entry-level occupational therapy professional program, have been selected to the 2017-2018 class of Los Angeles Albert Schweitzer Fellows.
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship supports university graduate students who conceive and implement projects designed to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Schweitzer Fellows partner with area organizations to identify an unmet health need, design a 200-hour service project with demonstrable impact, and usher the project from conception to implementation.
Sako will conduct her fellowship at the Painted Brain where she will serve people in Central Los Angeles County who are labeled with mental illness and address the need for accessible, affordable community-based programs that focus on managing stress and reducing stigma. With a community space located in Los Angeles’ Koreatown district, Painted Brain aims to provide sustainable community-based programs and solutions using arts, advocacy and enterprise for people living with mental health challenges.
Schmiesing has designed a program for older adults living in the greater Los Angeles community based upon research in the gerontology and occupational science literature that supports the use of reminiscence and inter-generational programs to improve quality of life among older adults. In conjunction with partners Front Porch and LifeBio, Schmiesing will facilitate participants’ reflection and storytelling to improve positive self-concept and quality of life across a variety of measures.
Mar 28, 2017, in General News
By Kristina Han/Painted Brain
This past week, the Painted Brain (PB) joined USC’s Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (OT) in an art workshop hosted by Asian Pacific Graduate Student Association (APGSA) for students pursuing to become healthcare professionals. Anna Yena Kim, an OT intern at the PB, introduced the art of Suminagashi, a Japanese marbling technique. The group grew quickly engaged and enticed by this free flowing, cathartic form of art. Although it seems to be a simple technique, requiring only droplets of paint and breath onto water, the resulting piece can range from simple to highly complex variants of pattern, ripple, and shape. Regardless, it was evident that every participant had an enjoyable experience while experimenting and expressing through this relaxing form of art.
Read the full article at Painted Brain.
Mar 22, 2017, in General News
More than 12 million Americans live with a brain injury caused by any number of non-hereditary or non-developmental reasons such as disease, oxygen deprivation or tumors. The scope of brain injuries ranges from mild to severe, and symptoms can exhibit as personality changes, trouble with memory, confusion or poor judgment.
To help educate the public about the incidence of brain injury and its impact upon individuals, their families and communities, the month of March is designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month.
As members of comprehensive care teams for people with brain injury — sometimes referred to as acquired brain injury, ABI, or traumatic brain injury, TBI — occupational therapists work with patients to maximize independence in meaningful activities that ultimately improve quality of life.
Samia Rafeedie, associate clinical professor of occupational therapy at USC Chan, is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. In recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, she offered these useful tips to help friends and family members support a person with brain injury throughout the rehabilitation process:
1. When interacting with your loved one, keep the room quiet and calm; turn off or dim the lights, limit environmental stimuli and speak in short, simple phrases
2. Allow the person additional time to respond after you ask a question or need information; do not expect responses to be logical or sensible
3. Try to re-orient your loved one by letting them know who you are, where he or she is, what happened and why he or she is getting rehabilitation
4. Provide your loved one with familiar activities or meaningful occupations; these can be as simple as putting on lotion, combing hair or listening to favorite music
5. Do not force the person to do an activity or task that is not desired; facilitate participation in activities and occupations which are meaningful, familiar and safe
Learn more about Brain Injury Awareness Month at Brain Injury Association of America.
Mar 7, 2017, in General News
By Monica Luhar/Vice’s Tonic.com
“For tattoo artists, hair stylists or anybody holding a device with the tendons contracted and potentially flexing or holding against resistance, that nerve might be getting compressed over time,” says Shawn Roll, assistant professor of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California. His research looks at causes of musculoskeletal discomfort when working, especially carpal tunnel syndrome and upper extremities disorder often caused by repetitive motions.
AOTA advocacy success: Evaluation payments expected to rise as CMS corrects error
Last week, clinical professor Katie Jordan met with representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to raise concerns on behalf of the American Occupational Therapy Association regarding what was believed to be an error resulting in decreased Medicare reimbursements for occupational therapy evaluations.
AOTA began investigating concerns raised by occupational therapy practitioners beginning in January about unexpected Medicare payment cuts. At the meeting, CMS explained that a technical error committed on CMS’ behalf sometime in 2016 was the root cause for the payment cuts, and that retroactive payments to providers will be forthcoming.
Jordan serves as the American Occupational Therapy Association’s alternate representative to the Relative Value Scale Update Committee, often referred to as “RUC.” In this role Jordan offers relative value recommendations for new and revised CPT payment codes on behalf of non-physician health professionals such as occupational therapists.
“We were elated to get a positive response from CMS made possible by AOTA staff and volunteers collaborating to take quick and direct action,” Dr. Jordan noted.
Read the full article at the American Occupational Therapy Association.