China Initiative Team Delivers Annual Presentation at the Chan Summer Occupational Therapy Immersion (SOTI)
July 20, 2023
The China Initiative team gave a presentation to international visitors interested in OT in the United States, delving into its history, mission, and transformative role in advancing occupational therapy in China.
The Summer Occupational Therapy Immersion (SOTI) program, designed for international occupational therapists and occupational therapy students interested in learning about occupational therapy (OT) practice, education, and research in the United States, invited the China Initiative team to present on their work on July 20, 2023. The lecture was attended by approximately 40 individuals in person and 10 virtually and provided an extensive overview of the China Initiative‘s history, development, and its unwavering commitment to advancing occupational therapy education, practice, and research in Mainland China, while supporting students throughout their educational journey.
The presentation began with a thorough exploration of the China Initiative‘s journey, which began in 2014 when the team embarked on several crucial visits to China to engage in productive discussions with the leadership of Peking University Health Science Center (PKUHSC). These early efforts laid the foundation for an impactful partnership between the two institutions, aimed at developing a pioneering graduate-level curriculum aligned with international standards. Students pursue two years of coursework at PKUHSC, earning a master’s degree in rehabilitation therapy, followed by a one-year post-professional doctorate of occupational therapy (OTD) program at USC Chan Division. The program welcomed its first class in September 2019.
A significant portion of the SOTI presentation centered on curriculum development and the importance of instructor training. The China Initiative‘s commitment to delivering high-quality education included ensuring that instructors were well-prepared to be effective educators, maintaining adherence to educational standards, and conducting rigorous program evaluation. Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray, Associate Chair for Curriculum and Faculty and Director of the China Initiative, explained how this meticulous approach guaranteed that students would receive the highest quality education and clinical training.
The presentation also highlighted the extensive support provided to students throughout their educational journey. The China Initiative has taken a proactive approach to ensure that students receive the guidance, resources, and mentorship necessary to thrive. This support extends to academic advising, mentorship, and opportunities for research collaboration.
Dr. Elena Meng from the China Initiative team spoke about the distinct mixed-track, hybrid residencies offered to the dual-degree students. Dual-degree students have the unique opportunity to explore clinical practice, research, and pedagogy, allowing them to gain insights into all three critical areas within their OTD year, in contrast to selecting a single track. This hybrid approach equips these students with a comprehensive understanding of the field, preparing them to lead the field of occupational therapy upon their return to China.
Finally, China Initiative OTD residents Alison Chang and Olivia (Yawei) Li shared their reflections on the residency. These insights offered a candid glimpse into the challenges they faced, their achievements, and the valuable growth they experienced. They emphasized the development of their leadership skills, underscoring how the program nurtured their ability to lead and collaborate effectively.
Additionally, they discussed the profound impact of cross-cultural learning and how exposure to diverse perspectives enriched their understanding of occupational therapy on a global scale.
In summary, the China Initiative‘s presentation at SOTI provided an extensive overview of the team’s journey, dedication, and impact. Overall, the presentation was well-received and SOTI participants were interested in the initiative’s mission and how they could become involved in supporting the development of OT in China.