NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellow Leah Stein MA ‘06, PhD ‘13 was quoted in a New York Times article on the potential for sensory adaptations to reduce distress and pain of children with autism when visiting the dentist.
Stein is a member of the Sensory Adapted Dental Environments to Enhance Oral Care for Children with Autism research team led by Principal Investigator Sharon Cermak. The research project, funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, aims to collect information on the effectiveness of a specially adapted dental environment for children, including children with autism spectrum disorders and typically developing children, who have difficulty tolerating oral care in the dental clinic.
Occupational science PhD candidate Michelle Elliot has been awarded a scholarship from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to support her qualitative research. The SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship will support the final stages of Elliot’s PhD dissertation project entitled “Unpacking Experiences and Narratives of Students: Life Changing, Changing Life or Merely Taking a Trip.”
Elliot is exploring experiences which have the potential to be transformative by examining the roles of expectation, reflection, immersion and travel. Many institutions offer student service learning, study abroad, and international immersion programs, often advertised as offering ‘life changing’ experiences, and Elliot’s interest is in understanding the impact of such programs on students’ personal, professional, and occupational identities. To explore such experiences, Elliot traveled with a group of occupational students completing an intensive short-term immersion in a developing foreign country as part of their professional training program. Her observations made during the trip, as well as narrative-based interviews conducted with the students, will provide the data for her phenomenological and ethnographic analyses.
Created by an act of the Parliament of Canada in 1977, the SSHRC is Canada’s federal research funding agency promoting and supporting postsecondary research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Elliot, a Canadian citizen, is a fourth year occupational science PhD candidate at the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She completed her Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy degree at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She has worked as a clinical occupational therapist in various mental health settings, including a dedicated eating disorder treatment program in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Master’s student Ingrid Leu is one of seven USC graduate students who have been named 2013-2014 Albert Schweitzer Fellows.
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship supports university graduate students to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Fellows partner with a community-based organization to identify an unmet health need, design a 200-hour service project with a demonstrable impact, and move the project from conception to implementation.
As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, Leu will be working with Kedren Acute Psychiatric Hospital Community Mental Health Center. There she will be designing and implementing a recovery-oriented curriculum targeting adults with serious or persistent mental illness while helping them to increase their self-sufficiency and improve well-being.
Read Seven Trojans Receive Schweitzer Fellowships at USC News. Congratulations Ingrid, and Fight On!
With one touch last summer, what was just another day in the life of a Trojan graduate student suddenly became something much more.
“It was the third day of school and I was in class, touching my neck,” recalled Caryn Roach, a student in the entry-level professional program of the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. “And I felt a big lump.”
What does it mean to be an advocate for your future profession? Members of the USC Occupational Therapy Student Council saw the opportunity in the recent American Occupational Therapy Association Assembly of Student Delegate election to increase student voter involvement, while also educating fellow students of the importance of being an active voice as a member of the association. OTSC hosted voting booths on campus at times convenient for their peers to vote online or to ask questions about the election process.
“We noticed that a lot of students didn’t know about the Assembly of Student Delegates,” explained second-year master’s student and OTSC Treasurer Susan Lingelbach. “It is important for the students to elect these people to communicate student concerns.”
Providing voting booths was an obvious way to reach the student population while avoiding the typical barriers of limited time and distraction from other obligations, while also giving students a convenient, accessible location for voting.
As far as those involved are aware, this student initiative is unique to the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. “USC has always supported student involvement in the national and state association,” described second-year master’s student and OTSC AOTA ASD Representative Sean Sullivan. “The student support was new this year, and is an exciting shift in the student culture.”
This support and representation of the USC student body was felt around campus as students donned “I VOTED for AOTA 2013” pins to remind others to also vote. Faculty also became involved in spreading the word and many also wore pins throughout the voting process. The change in atmosphere was exciting as students became more invested in the role they carry in the association.
“Voting is empowering and creates a connection between you and AOTA,” shared first-year student and OTSC AOTA ASD Representative, Colin Lenington. “This helps students want to remain members and to take ownership of the contributions they can make.”
Students hope to continue to facilitate an atmosphere of empowerment for following classes by establishing annual voting booths for elections. When asked about goals for subsequent elections, Lenington stated he “hopes to educate the incoming class early on and to continue to facilitate this culture of excitement about professional advocacy and involvement in the professional associations.”
Congratulations to Susan Lingelbach who has been elected ASD Chairperson, and to Sean Sullivan who has been elected ASD Communications and Advocacy Chairperson!