Going for the Gold, OT Style

By David Wise

OT student group photoStudents and faculty from every program at UAMS in Northwest Arkansas were invited to compete in different assessments common to occupational therapy practice. Undergraduates from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville who are interested in the OTD program were also invited.

“The OT Olympics is a friendly competition among UAMS departments involving different OT assessments and evaluation tools,” said second-year OTD student Madison Alred. “The OT Olympics is a great opportunity to mingle with other professions, and let them get to know more about occupational therapy. We want to educate people on what OT is, and how it can impact people’s lives in various areas.”

Stereognosis assessment As part of the competition, students maneuvered a wheelchair obstacle course, used adaptive equipment and experienced common OT assessments such as stereognosis (identifying objects in the absence of visual and auditory information, usually by touch), verbal fluency, cognition testing, grip strength, 30-second sit to stand, and stand-and-reach.

UAMS student uses adaptive equipment to put on PJ pants“We aspired to bring a little competition, awareness and advocacy for OT,” said second-year OTD student Summer Meadors. “It’s a way to bring all of the UAMS departments together and to add a little fun to end the month.”

The OT Olympics Trophy on display in the OT department.This year’s OT Olympics winner was Lian Taylor, an instructor in the Educational & Student Success Center.

The OTD program is a three-year collaborative program between the UAMS College of Health Professions and the UA College of Education and Health Professions. This is the first joint clinical program between the two universities. The students split their time between the two campuses, both of which are in Fayetteville. The first group of students graduated in December 2022.

According to the program’s website, the OTD program’s mission “embodies both institutions’ shared aim to enhance the health, well-being and quality of life of the people of Arkansas, the nation and the world. By enabling occupational therapy students to become innovative, caring, globally-minded scholars, practitioners and advocates, the department advances an inclusive, emancipatory and participatory vision of society situated at the intersection of UAMS and U of A missions.”