OT Anatomy Students Dissect with a Point and a Click

Students watching a virtual dissection in OT Anatomy class.

Students watching a virtual dissection in OT Anatomy class.

Students in Offiong Aqua’s class, Clinical Anatomy of the Upper Quadrant, Oral, Pharyngeal and Laryngeal Cavities, got a chance to do virtual dissections during their January course. Using multi-view cadaver software created by NYU Langone Medical School, students worked on a 3-D view of the human body.


“With clicks we can remove skin and dissect a real cadaver layer by layer and study every structure in the body,” said Aqua, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. While this 3-D software cannot replace the hands-on learning that takes place with a manual dissection, Dr. Aqua believes that it is a valuable tool that can help supplement a student’s learning of human anatomy.

He noted that the software is the first of its kind used in medical institutions in the United States.
Student watching a virtual dissection on a projector screen.

Now Accepting Applications for the 2014 Freida J. Behlen Scholarship

The NYU OT Awards Committee is currently accepting applications from our Second Year Professional Program students for the 2014 Frieda J. Behlen Scholarship, an endowed fund created principally by gifts from NYU OT alumni to honor the memory of Frieda J. Behlen, founder and longtime chair of NYU’s Department of Occupational Therapy.  Income generated by the endowment is awarded annually to students who demonstrate superior academic achievement as well as financial need.  This year the NYU OT Awards Committee is pleased to be able to offer three $3,500 summer tuition scholarships.  These awards take the form of summer tuition credits and will be directly applied towards tuition for summer coursework.

To learn more about past Behlen scholarship winners please visit: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/ot/behlen.

The application is currently available on the NYU OT Department website: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/ot/secure/ot_awards_scholarships.  Please note: this opportunity is currently open to Second Year Professional Program Students only.

Applications must be submitted to the OT Department no later than 5pm Friday, February 14th.

Outstanding Alumni

Tracie Herman (NYU Steinhardt ’02) pursues a non-traditional path in occupational therapy.

Tracie Herman knew that it was time for a change. Since graduating NYU Steinhardt in 2002, Tracie had spent ten years as a clinical occupational therapist, working in acute care, rehab and pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center. Throughout that decade, patient stays became shorter, regulations tightened, and Tracie worried that soon she would be unable to deliver the highest quality care to her patients.

“I was losing a lot of creativity as a therapist,” she said.

Tracie resolved to improve patients’ quality of care, and quality of life, from an administrative perspective. She began to read about insurance reimbursement and learn her way around a spreadsheet. By the time Tracie accepted a job at New York Presbyterian’s Division of Quality, she was prepared to apply those years of clinical experience to her new administrative duties.

“Occupational therapy taught me how to go about solving a problem,” said Tracie. “As an occupational therapist, I developed leadership skills and learned how to communicate effectively.”

Six months ago, Tracie moved on to Northshore LIJ Health System, where she is now the assistant director of clinical excellence and quality. Her administrative duties involve data collection and reporting, to ensure that clinicians maintain best practices when dealing with patients.

But leaving bedsides and patients for desks and data sets was not easy. “It didn’t come naturally,” said Tracie. “Now I’m used to it, but going from barely being at a computer at all to being at a desk all day was a very difficult transition.”

Now that Tracie has acclimated to her desk, however, she is a proud patient advocate, championing the cause of occupational therapy as a hospital administrator.

“From the administrative side, I found that a lot of quality control is about ensuring what is best for the patient,” she said.

And Tracie maintains that she owes much of her success in administration to her years as an occupational therapist.  “I don’t think that I would be able to appreciate this position, or bring as much to it, without having first been a clinician,” she said.

“Without my experience as a clinical occupational therapist, I wouldn’t be as effective, or enjoy it nearly as much.”

Bringing OT Back Home

Shantel Isaac (NYU OT ’16) returned to Stony Brook University to spread the word about OT at NYU Steinhardt.

Picture of Shantel IsaacOur Steinhardt OT students are hard at work, offering encouragement to future occupational therapists.

As an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University, Shantel Isaac was an active member of the Pre-OT Society. Shantal, determined to learn more about occupational therapy, took advantage of opportunities to volunteer and intern in clinical settings before beginning her graduate work at NYU Steinhardt.

This October, Shantel Isaac returned to Stony Brook to share her experience at NYU with a room full of future occupational therapy students. Shantel described how her clinical exposure has culminated into an understanding of how theory meets application. “At NYU, when I learn certain theories and applications, I can remember those same theories and applications being used in different clinical settings,” Shantel wrote in an email after the event.

After the event, Shantel lingered to discuss graduate life at NYU Steinhardt. “I encouraged them to apply!” she said.

Introducing spOTlight: The NYU OT Department Blog

Welcome to spOTlight, the official blog of the NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy. We look forward to bringing you Department announcements, faculty profiles, alumni news, and regular highlights from our current students.

Take a look around! We’re featuring a welcome message from our new Department Chair, Dr. Kristie Patten Koenig. In this short video, Dr. Koenig addresses faculty, students and alumni, relating her vision for the future of occupational therapy at NYU Steinhardt.

Also—make sure to check out Associate Professor Yael Goverover’s most recent research project, investigating whether multiple sclerosis patients benefit from self-generated therapy. Dr. Goverover’s research may have important implications for OTs specializing in MS.

And don’t forget to read about how one group of NYU OT students traveled to South Africa to share their talents with international populations through a community based collaboration with the OT department at the University of Cape Town.

Let us know what you think of the blog! Questions, comments and ideas for future stories can be submitted to spotlight@nyu.edu. NYU Alumni, we would love to hear from you. Please share your news!