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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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A Salute to Veterans ⟩
November 14, 2011, by Chelsea

Community Getting Involved What are OS/OT?

Two weeks ago I went to an event hosted by the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families called “A Wounded Warrior’s Experience and Physical Rehabilitation.” This event featured Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant First Class Leroy A. Petry and surgeon Colonel James Ficke, MD. Four years ago, Petry was deployed to Afghanistan, where he lost his right hand when he tossed away a grenade that was near him and two fellow soldiers. Now, Petry has an advanced prosthetic hand capable of detecting outside resistance and that responds to his muscle contractions and skin receptors. After having occupational and physical therapy, Petry can now pinch, grab and rotate his wrist. It is amazing to me that despite the loss of his right hand, Petry re-enlisted to help the wounded and be a part of their support team. I admire his resilience and his determination to help others. It is so incredible to see how important it is for some people to get back to pursuing their most meaningful occupations. Petry and many other veterans demonstrate such selflessness. As occupational therapy students, it really helps to hear people such as Petry speak because it helps us to grasp the disability experience better and allows us to understand our future clients better.

Occupational therapists play a crucial role in the lives of many war veterans, which is why the USC Occupational Therapy program has honored veteran students with several events throughout November. Since President Obama has announced the withdrawal of all our troops from Iraq by the end of the year, it is likely that occupational therapy will be in high demand in veteran’s hospital and other settings where veterans are prevalent. It will be difficult for many of these men and women who served in Iraq to transition back into civilian life, when their most meaningful occupation for the past few years has been fighting for their country. As OTs, it will be our job to help these veterans find occupations that are meaningful to them and give them the means to pursue these occupations despite any physical and/or mental disabilities they may come home with. The soldiers have done their part in helping our country, now it is our turn to help them.

Vet's reception


Good food and conversation ⟩
November 8, 2011, by Floyd

Community School/Life Balance

Seriously, I think my class hosts a potluck almost every week! Whether it’s for a USC football game, someone’s birthday, or just a Saturday, we are always grubbing on delicious home-made foods and having tons of laughter. Just thinking about this past weekend and the food that everyone brought to the potluck makes me so hungry. Not only was the food great, but it was wonderful to be able to meet my peers outside of school to catch up on our personal lives. I feel that my class really values each other and sincerely wants to know about how each other are doing.

For this potluck, we created it for a faculty dinner where we invite a faculty member from our program to talk outside of school. We had Dr. Samia Rafeedie, one of our esteemed professors and practicing OTs come this week. It was nice to chit-chat about her life and about her pregnancy . . . she is 8 months pregnant. We got her a children’s book and signed it with our love and luck. All I all, we had good times and great conversations that we will always remember.


OTAC and Mermaids ⟩
October 27, 2011, by Floyd

Community Getting Involved

Last weekend I went to the 35th annual OTAC (Occupational Therapy Association of California) conference in Sacramento and had an incredible time meeting other occupational therapists, while attending sessions. It was great getting an opportunity to be part of the conference because they offer so many resources that help further the profession. Not only did I get to meet many potential employers from different areas of OT from pediatrics to geriatrics, I got to meet other students that have the same aspirations that I have.

One of the best times I had was being part of the student scavenger hunt where we got tour the city of Sacramento and find the historical values that the city has to offer. My team ended up winning the activity and got OTAC shirts and gift cards as prizes! My team consisted of 1st year students at USC so it was a great opportunity to meet them running around the city.

Not did we get to learn the newest ideas in OT from the best and brightest, we took the opportunity to tour the city. We found this really cool place called the Dive Bar and had drinks while gazing at the mermaids swimming in an aquarium above the bar. It was so awesome! Thank you OTAC and Sacramento for a great time!


Send Silence Packing ⟩
October 13, 2011, by Alix


I’m looking forward to an event at USC tomorrow called Send Silence Packing. Sponsored by Active Minds, Inc., this event will include an exhibit of 1,100 backpacks on the lawn of Alumni Park, each one representing a college student who lost his or her life to suicide in the past year. The backpacks contain stories, photos, and other mementos from family members who have lost their loved ones to suicide. Mental health issues on campus can sometimes be difficult to talk about, so I think this will be a powerful way to raise awareness and promote dialogue. Best of luck to everybody volunteering at the event tomorrow.


Career Day ⟩
October 12, 2011, by Floyd

Community Getting Involved What are OS/OT?

What do an occupational therapist and funeral counselor have in common? We are both paired up as related professions in order to speak to high school students for Career Day.

It was great to meet so many high school students who are enthusiastic and curious about their future. This was a good opportunity to spread awareness of occupational therapy to the youth so they can have an idea of the wonderful profession of occupational therapy. At first I thought the students would ask questions relating to compensation, but I was totally wrong. Most questions were addressed to the lifestyle of an OT and the satisfaction of working with people. The students and even the teacher were engaged and very interested in learning about this profession. It is always nice to see the expression on people’s faces when they first learn about what occupational therapy is and how it can impact a person’s life and well-being.

I also learned much about the skills needed to be a funeral counselor. They work with people during times of sadness and sensitivity. Sometimes, therapists have to do the same, so it was nice to find a commonality between our professions. All in all, it was a great learning experience for all of us.

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