Brief professional description
My background was in engineering, but I knew I wanted to work with people and make a difference in individuals' lives. Orthotics and Prosthetics was a perfect mix of these desires. I entered the field as a technician, returned to grad school at UCLA and Northwestern University, before entering practice in Michigan. I was fortunate to be involved in research and product development, lecturing both locally and internationally, and to be elected to national office for our professional organization, while maintaining an orthotics and prosthetics practice. After 25+ years, I was approached to fill in here as a PTL and teach a prosthetics course. The next semester, the program director retired and I was approached to take his place.
How and why did you get involved?
O&P practice IS IPE. I interacted with physicians, physician assistants, nurses. OTs, PTs, speech therapists, social workers, and case managers on a daily basis. How can students be practice-ready if they are not exposed to this in school? The "how" involved serendipity. One of the faculty members and I were approached regarding a research opportunity with one of the OT faculty. The research morphed into an IPE event, involving both programs, and 10 clinical sites. It provided not only a learning opportunity but a way to build bridges between the students, between the program faculty, and between the sites and the university.
What do you believe are the benefits?
Students become aware of how their professions mesh with others to the benefit of the patient, and all involved. Faculty share knowledge and develop relationships--for example, I'm meeting this week with individuals I met through IPE to discuss how to improve admissions processes.
What has been the most memorable experience or highlight of teaching IPE so far?
The students' response to the experience!
"[This experience] allowed us to see how decisions are made jointly between professions...The combination of these two knowledge areas allowed for devices to be made that will provide the necessary join protection and stability while honoring the client's values and allowing her to participate in meaningful occupations."
"The collaboration between students of different fields is an entirely different experience than meeting working professionals in other fields because the nature of the collaboration is really the joining of equals. Not only is my understanding of O&P enhanced, but my ability to explicate the distinct value of OT is also augmented having needed to explain this to a student-professional with a different frame of reference. I feel that my future practice is strengthened."