By Kate Hunger
The first class of Doctor of Occupational Therapy students visited the San Antonio Museum of Art this month to apply some of what they have been learning in the classroom.
The entire class of 42 first-year OTD students visited SAMA on June 13, said Bridgette Piernik-Yoder, Ph.D., OTR associate professor and department chair who is teaching the course on the theoretical foundation of the profession.
"The students were very excited about it," she said of the field trip.
The students, whose admission to SAMA is free, took photos of images that reflect concepts discussed in class. They will take their observations and write analyses to reflect upon them, Piernik-Yoder explained.
In addition to reinforcing classroom learning, the outing also exposed the students to life off campus-a valuable experience for the many students in the program who are new to San Antonio.
The School of Health Professions is transitioning its program to the OTD from a Master's of Occupational Therapy program. Current MOT students will continue to earn their degrees but no new MOT students will be admitted Piernik-Yoder said.
UT Health San Antonio is the first state-supported institution in Texas to offer an entry-level OTD program. The doctoral program will "extend the curriculum in some areas to prepare for changing systems in health care and education in which they will be employed", Piernik-Yoder said. Leadership skills are an area of emphasis in the new program.
She noted that the profession's national accrediting body has mandated transitioning to the OTD model by 2027.