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SAU Pursues Doctoral Program in OT

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July 2015


August, 2015

St. Ambrose has applied for accreditation to offer a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree.

Pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, the applicant program would build upon the strong foundation of a St. Ambrose Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program that is the only fully accredited graduate program preparing occupational therapists in the State of Iowa.

The first OTD cohort would enroll in the fall of 2016.

In pursuing the entry-level professional program, St. Ambrose finds itself at the forefront of a movement to better prepare new therapists to work in the increasingly demanding healthcare arena.

In response to changes in healthcare emphasizing quality outcomes, cost efficiency, inter-professional care teams and specialization in practice, the American Occupational Therapy Association issued a statement in April of 2014, recommending that all degree programs for new OT professionals be at the doctoral level.

"You have to have an advanced knowledge of how individuals live and work in their environment and what is going to best promote good health for each client," said Lynn Kilburg '91, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L, the director of the MOT program at St. Ambrose.

In a doctoral curriculum, Kilburg said students would benefit from an individualized educational focus that will better train them to use evidence-based practices to meet the occupational health needs of clients in a variety of settings.

Kilburg was among the first St. Ambrose students to earn an undergraduate degree in occupational therapy. The first Master's degrees were awarded in 2000. OTD would be the third doctoral program offered at SAU, joining the Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Business Administration programs.

Sandra Cassady, PT, PhD, dean of the College of Health and Human Services, is eager to welcome an OTD program to the college's expanding healthcare curriculum. "I am very excited we are moving in this direction," Cassady said. "It is the way the profession is moving, and we want to be on the leading edge."

MORE LIKE THIS:College of Health and Human Services, Occupational Therapy, Scene

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