By Kate Hunger
Third-year occupational therapy doctoral student Jennifer Sanchez received the 2021 Student Leadership Award at the Texas Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA) annual conference, held Nov. 5-6.
Sanchez is in her second year as TOTA’s student representative. She counts among her achievements the adding of two events to the TOTA conference calendar, both specifically geared toward OT students: a networking event that drew 250 students and a “day in the life” event featuring OTs in different settings who shared their experiences with 150 students. Sanchez and her fellow organizers planned the student-focused events in response to a survey of student TOTA members last year in which they expressed a desire for more involvement at the annual meeting.
“I think those two events allowed for the state board, all the student members and all the practitioners to see that TOTA is really shifting gears and serving the students in a different way than in the past,” she said.
Sanchez credited Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs David Henzi, EdD, and faculty in the Department of Occupational Therapy for their support.
“I think with the type of mentorship I received I was able to implement that at the state level,” Sanchez said.
Also at the conference, Associate Professor Ricky Joseph, PhD, OTR, presented a four-hour workshop to train OTs on the use of the Performance Assessment of Self-care Skills (PASS), a 26-task, criterion-referenced functional assessment of skills such as meal preparation, money management, light housework, toilet mobility, and bathtub mobility and safety.
The workshop was designed to “to equip more OTs with the ability to administer, score, and interpret the PASS, and to make them aware of the resources that are available for them to further their skills and expertise,” Dr. Joseph said.
“Each task is fully standardized,” he said. “You select the task that identifies the functional needs of your clients to identify base-line functioning and measure improvements after intervention.”
Other presenters at the conference included Clinical Associate Professor Autumn Clegg, EdD, OTR, doctoral capstone coordinator, who co-presented via recorded video a presentation on how OTs can enhance their practice through OTD capstone student collaboration.
In addition, two 2021 OTD graduates presented posters on their capstone projects. Victoria Ramirez, OTD, OTR, presented “Sexual intimacy in persons with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,” and Elizabeth Horne, OTD, OTR, presented “Caregiver Perceptions While Using Telehealth for the COPE Program (Care of Persons with Dementia in their Environments).”