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2023 Session Descriptions

Student Center on EMU's Campus

900 Oakwood St.

Ypsilanti, MI

Parking at Pine Grove Lot at corner of Structure Dr. & Oakwood: Campus Map



Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Self-Efficacy Related to Work-Readiness Skills: Researching Informing Practice

Presenter: Nichole Garcia, OTRL, CBIST, CKTP

Many people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are unable to return to work (Watkin, et al. 2020). Changes to Michigan’s Auto No-Fault reduced OT services for people with TBI negatively affecting community integration and return to work (CPAN, 2023). This study was designed to test the effects of participation in a work skill development group led by occupational therapists on self-efficacy and work-readiness skills of people with a TBI. The work readiness group used the Clubhouse Model for development and group-led direction (Clubhouse International, 2023). The study used a pre- and post-test design without a control group to measure the effectiveness of a variety of indicators, including: perceived performance and satisfaction with work-readiness and work-related skills. Results of the study will be presented with recommendations for future interventions by OT, implications of this model of treatment and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Preparing Therapists to Address Sexual Health in Occupational Therapy Practice

Presenter: Melissa Peters OTR/L

Sex is listed as an activity of daily living according to our Occupational Therapy Practice Framework 4th edition; however, it is also recognized as being neglected by OTs in practice. This presentation will review the literature on practicing therapists’ values and knowledge when it comes to addressing sex as an ADL. Additionally, findings from a recent study investigating how students who have completed their fieldwork rotations view their ability to address sex as an activity of daily living. It also explores students' subjective experiences in addressing sex during their fieldwork rotations. This presentation will explore barriers to addressing sex as an activity of daily living. Implications for practice will be discussed.


From the Ground Up: Building a Practice in Unconventional Settings

Presenter: Holly Ross, MOT, OTRL, WSI

This presentation will explore how one therapist created an unconventional business practice to serve the unmet needs of the community with occupational therapy. Through innovation, adaptability, community partnerships, and collecting resources, CANOE® was born and continues to evolve everyday building more options and ways to help the disabled community. Join me for a presentation discussing & learning about entrepreneurship in occupational therapy with highlights on non-traditional settings. Learn tips & tricks for starting your own practice one day and even inspire you to find holes in your local community that you can fill.

PivOT: Experiences of OT Job Transitions to Combat Burnout

Presenters: Carolyn Ferrer, MOT, OTR/L & Katie MacDonald, MOT, OTRL 

Join us as we discuss the impact of burnout and compassion fatigue on occupational therapists and explore evidence-based strategies to reduce job related stress and to renew passion for the field of OT. We will discuss personal experiences with transitioning between settings and roles within the field and share tips and strategies on how to use your current skill set to navigate these changes.



Listening In: What Matters to Families Matters

Keynote Presenter: Dr. Ellen S. Cohn

Recently, leaders in the occupational therapy profession have challenged us to affirm the value of occupational therapy, to substantiate what we do, to interrogate systems and to focus on what most matters to clients. To collectively reflect on the call to action raised by these scholars, I will share my research that involved listening to children and families as they spoke about their experiences with occupational therapy. I plan to raise questions for us to consider as we evaluate the current state of our practice and our efforts to address what genuinely matters to families. This lecture will draw on the conceptual foundations of theories about family-centered care and provide examples from research literature and practitioner and client narratives to imagine possibilities for attending to what matters to families.


1:45-3:00 PM

Occupational Therapy’s Distinct Value in Addressing Spirituality

Presenter: Juliane Chreston, OTD, OTRL

Since its conception, the field of occupational therapy has dedicated itself to treating the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) first publicly endorsed spirituality in occupational therapy in the first edition of the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process in 2002, and has strengthened and expanded its definition of spirituality with each revision of the document. Research continues to support improved outcomes and client satisfaction when spiritual needs are addressed in healthcare. Despite these findings, many occupational therapists do not feel adequately prepared to address spirituality as part of their practice. This session provides an overview of occupational therapy’s distinct value in addressing spirituality, including a model for understanding the role of spirituality in OT and strategies for assessment and intervention. Participants will learn not only how spirituality and religious practice represents one area of occupational performance, but also how concepts important to OT such as client-centered care, therapeutic use of self, and the just-right challenge, when effectively utilized, create opportunities to deepen the meaning of what occurs within occupational therapy.



A poster session will follow the afternoon workshops. Earn up to 2 PDUs.

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