Carlow’s occupational therapy students treat the patient as a whole person

occupational therapy treating patients as a whole person

How do you make your way to Carlow University’s new graduate offering in occupational therapy, as either a master’s or a doctorate degree candidate? Each of the 21 students that make up the first cohort (Fall 2022) have a different starting point and horizon.

Caleb Britton, enrolled in Carlow’s master’s of science in occupational therapy program, identifies his starting point as the arts and entrepreneurship. As an undergraduate, Britton earned a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science at Gordon College, a nondenominational Christian College in New England. He merged his interest in music and social action, winning First Place in the school’s Social Venture Challenge and a $5,000 prize for Musicianspace, a startup program to provide digital music-making opportunities to people with disabilities.

Britton added international experience through summer volunteer work with the Philip Hayden Foundation, caring for orphans, kids with disabilities, and unsupported children in Tianjin, China. “My passion for making the world more accessible for people with disabilities attracted me to Carlow’s occupational therapy program,” he says.

Two Graduate Programs in Occupational Therapy

The Pittsburgh Business Times recently featured the new graduate offering in occupational therapy, describing the two options as follows. The master’s degree in occupational therapy will ensure graduates are prepared with excellent clinical skills and can be completed in two years. The entry-level doctorate degree in occupational therapy has an additional research component and can be completed in as few as eight semesters. Offering both points of entry increases accessibility to the profession, which is in alignment with the mission of Carlow’s founding Sisters of Mercy.

Doctoral candidate Madison Morder earned a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy
 from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
, and like Britton has a background in the arts, having attended a performing arts high school and later earning an Associate of Arts in Dance

A Return to Occupational Therapy Origins

Carlow assistant professor Laura Huth, Ed.D., MOT, OTR/L, describes a  return to occupational therapy’s origins in the Business Times article, a perspective that’s consistent with student backgrounds that combine physical and emotional wellness, personal agency and self-expression.Carlow’s occupational therapy students take a course called Occupations of Healthy Living, where they learn the science behind healthy habits and behavior change. Students are challenged to set healthy goals for themselves, practice skills for health coaching, and develop an appreciation for the social determinants of health and the barriers from our physical and social environments.

“Occupational therapy started in mental health, and we are working really hard to try to get back to our roots,” said Huth. “The world needs that right now: practitioners who are holistic, who can address concerns of the body and the mind.”