By Kate Hunger
Two faculty members in the Department of Occupational Therapy recently were appointed to leadership positions within national professional organizations.
Assistant Professor Ana Allegretti, Ph.D., OTR, was appointed to chair a newly created committee of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). The committee is focused on implementing Functional Mobility Assessment (FMA) in Latin America, to improve outcomes for patients who use wheelchairs by encouraging clinicians in Latin America to use the FMA and enter their data in a database, as is the practice in the U.S. The FMA was recently translated into Spanish and Portuguese, Allegretti noted.
“We think there is a huge opportunity to use this assessment to quantify if the clinicians’ interventions are working and assure that patients are getting the mobility equipment they need,” she said.
Assistant Professor–Clinical Laura Novak, O.T., was appointed as chair of the Home and Community Health Special Interest Section (SIS) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Her responsibilities will include coordinating SIS activities and serving on the SIS Council, which is comprised of the chairs of the nine special interest sections.
“As a group, we hope to explore and address current issues related to this area of practice,” Novak said. “CMS will soon implement a new reimbursement system which could potentially affect the provision of occupational therapy services in home health. We want to ensure all practitioners understand this new system and are prepared to provide optimal services under this new system. At the same time, we want to explore the efficacy and sustainability of other service delivery models. This may include community-based practice or telehealth, for example.”
Allegretti and Novak will advance the goals of their respective committees, said Associate Professor and Department Chair Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, Ph.D., OTR.
“Both Dr. Allegretti and Ms. Novak have a tremendous level of expertise in their respective areas, so it is wonderful to see this recognized through these appointments to national leadership positions,” she said. “These are exciting, important roles in national organizations, and I know they will accomplish many goals in collaboration with their committees during their terms.”