Jefferson OT students to present at Virtual Ability’s Mental Health Symposium on 5-2-15

Mental Health Symposium – May 2, 2015 – Losing It: On Disability, Diagnosis, and Depression


See schedule of entire event at:

Looks like a great conference!
OT Students Jenna Hannan and Amanda Gilroy will present on “Everyday Language
and Clinical Diagnosis in Depression and Anxiety.”

National Alzheimer’s Project Act

January meeting
The January meeting of our support group for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s focused on passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). Our new first year student, Vironica Loxley, did considerable research for the talk which was presented by Zsuzsa Tomsen and Geri Kuhn, group facilitators. Our main sources of information for the talk were the Alzheimer’s association (NAPA information), the report of the Alzheimer’s Study Group, and a discussion of non-pharmacologic treatments written by Drs. Laura Gitlin and Mary Mittelman. Geri also shared interesting commentary by Sandra Day O’Connor and Maria Shriver. The session was well-attended and included lively discussion of the issues that arise for implementing NAPA. Among the issues raised were: use of Second Life vs. a non-commercial virtual world such as Open Sim to present such topics and mobilize for action, the role of Medicare in funding interventions for those with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, and the use of social networks to implement programming for NAPA. We hope this talk will be a starting point for more discussions and action that may help persons with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Graduate Assistants Reflect on Second Life Experience

Each current graduate assistant has created a page discussing their second life experiences at the OT Center. See Graduate Student page or look at the side menu bar for individual pages just completed by Angelica, Bodi, and Zunie. These are first year EMOT students who have completed almost a full year working on the OT Center in Second Life project.

The dilemma of “structure” in Second Life(R) program development

One of the challenges of working with a group of 7 to create a Second Life project is: how much structure should the team leader provide? One of our aims is to provide a venue for graduate students to actively create content related to healthcare education. Graduate students are expected to think critically, problem solve, and innovate. However, the context of Second Life program development is complex because of the steep learning curve (even for digital natives) and the limited availability of information about the process. And yet…
An idea I’ve been thinking about quite a bit is that innovation requires us to pull from our experience and knowledge, our reference materials, and so forth to do something new, put a different spin on an existing idea or program or approach it in an entirely different way. Even though we start from such tools, in a sense it is like “creating something out of nothing” because we cannot rely on tried and true approaches because there aren’t any (yet). In my view, this is a requirement for graduate education given the way the world is, with the dizzying pace of technology, the complexity of diverse societies, and the expectations of health and human service providers. I don’t have to tell the educators among us that there are many other areas that are equally ill-defined where grad students need to have and further refine these abilities.
But then again….I want this exhibit to open on time and be worth residents’ time to visit. The focus on adapting environments is much broader than stroke awareness and will require even more thought and more work. So, I decided to create a chart of tasks, dates, and personnel and distribute to the grad students, to make our process more efficient. I’ll provide updates about how this more directive approach works. I’m also very interested in any comments about the issue.