Program Celebrates 10 Years, High Pass Rates
Fall 2011 Issue
The Idaho State University Master of Occupational Therapy program is celebrating its 10th anniversary of graduating new occupational therapists for Idaho.
According to Theodore Peterson, an ISU clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy, all of the program's graduates have passed national certification exams, for a 100 percent pass rate.
Members of the first graduating class received their diplomas in May 2001 after three years of blazing the way for future classes.
Greg Hepworth, one of the members of that first class, remembers the camaraderie that formed between the students.
"We became a large extended family for those three years," he said. "Mostly, I remember the late evenings and early mornings of studying.
"The 10 students who made up that first graduating class responded as the faculty implemented the new curriculum and watched to see how it worked," said Alex Urfer, who as department chair was instrumental in bringing the occupational therapy program to ISU. "That first year was somewhat experimental."
Linda Hatzenbuehler, executive dean of the ISU Division of Health Sciences, said that the world views of occupational and physical therapy are different, but her intention was to develop the MOT program to avoid creating the "silos" that had developed in much of health professions education. Additionally, she wanted to make sure that the administrative infrastructure already established for the physical therapy program could be used to maximum effect. Thus the Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy was created-a single department under Urfer's leadership to house two unique yet complementary programs.
That vision continues today with students of both disciplines educated together in their courses in the basic sciences, professional communication, service delivery and resource management, Peterson said.
Occupational therapy is an allied health profession that is committed to a vision of health for all people through meaningful participation in everyday life.