Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont received a $5.75 million grant from the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to build laboratories and renovate classroom space in preparation for the launch of a new occupational therapy doctoral degree program. Senator Patrick Leahy directed the $5.75M in funding to support UVM’s program through the FY22 Appropriations bill.
“This funding provides us with an incredible opportunity to incorporate some of the latest technology in rehabilitation to build innovative labs that will benefit UVM students and the greater community,” said Occupational Therapy Program Director Victoria Priganc.
Leahy added, “The demand for Occupational Therapists is growing exponentially as Vermont and the country’s demographics age. UVM will now have state-of-the-art OT classrooms and laboratories that will put the school at the national forefront training Vermonters for this growing field.”
Plans for construction include pediatric, outdoor, and anatomy laboratories and a “smart apartment” featuring accessible technologies and modifications that can maximize independence and improve quality of life for people with disabilities or and older adults as they age in place.
The project represents a significant investment to develop Vermont’s first occupational therapy degree program and address a critical need for occupational therapy services in the state.
“The College of Nursing and Health Sciences provides an excellent interprofessional healthcare educational setting for the occupational therapy program,” said Dean Noma Anderson. “Occupational therapy students will be studying together in a college with faculty and students in nursing, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, public health, exercise science, and laboratory science.”
The new pediatric lab will help children develop self-confidence and the motor skills important to function and socialize. The space will also facilitate collaboration between students in the occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology graduate programs, enhancing future potential for interprofessional collaboration to maximize progress during therapy.
The “smart apartment” simulation lab will feature accessible technologies and home modifications in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living spaces, allowing students and members of the community to test high tech and low tech solutions that can help with independent living. The outdoor lab will help people learn how to engage in desired activities outside of the home.
The proposed anatomy lab will serve as a professional lab for all students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
“We are grateful to HRSA and Senator Leahy for their commitment to addressing workforce needs in the state and region in occupational therapy and providing funding that makes possible the implementation of a new academic program at the University of Vermont,” said UVM Provost Patricia Prelock. “This funding ensures the creation of an innovative infrastructure for experiential learning for our students that will ultimately benefit children and adults challenged to meet their daily living needs.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2023.
ABOUT THE UVM OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROGRAM
Established in response to a statewide need for occupational therapy education and services, Vermont’s first entry-level occupational therapy program blends traditional classroom learning with experiential, community-based learning opportunities to help students learn to work together as members of a health care team, an essential function for the highest quality, patient-centered health care. The UVM occupational therapy program has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association. To learn more, visit go.uvm.edu/occupationaltherapy.
ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF NURSING & HEALTH SCIENCES
Part of an academic health sciences hub that includes the UVM Health Network and Larner College of Medicine, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences enrolls about 300 graduate students and 1000 undergraduates across four academic departments: Biomedical and Health Sciences, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Nursing, and Rehabilitation and Movement Science. CNHS calls students to a higher standard of care and teaches them to reach across divides for the benefit of patients, to become leaders among the next generation of culturally competent health professionals. Rigorously trained to collaborate with colleagues across the health fields, graduates join the workforce prepared to bring value to the work of their team members, champion the voice of a struggling patient, and to foster exemplary interprofessional, compassionate, and family-centered services. In this tight-knit ecosystem of health care education, research, and practice, students train to serve society and their patients, with better outcomes for all.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
Since 1791, the University of Vermont has worked to move humankind forward. UVM’s strengths align with the most pressing needs of our time: the health of our societies and the health of our environment. Our size—large enough to offer a breadth of ideas, resources, and opportunities, yet intimate enough to enable close faculty-student mentorship across all levels of study—allows us to pursue these interconnected issues through cross-disciplinary research and collaboration. Providing an unparalleled educational experience for our students, and ensuring their success, are at the core of what we do. As one of the nation’s first land grant universities, UVM advances Vermont—and the broader society—through the discovery and application of new knowledge.
UVM is derived from the Latin “Universitas Viridis Montis” (University of the Green Mountains)
9.6.2022. BURLINGTON, Vt. — The University of Vermont