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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. NYU Alumni, we would love to hear from you. Please share your news!
Self-generated concepts are always easier to recall than items read in a book. Humanity’s inherent do-it-yourself spirit is captured by the generation effect- the observation that self-produced ideas are easier to remember.
The question of whether self-generation can improve the management of multiple sclerosis, however, remains undetermined. This year, Dr. Goverover will conduct clinical trials to investigate whether MS clients offered self-generated therapy respond better than individuals offered conventional treatments.
Dr. Goverover hopes that patients undergoing self-generated therapy will report higher rates of satisfaction with their treatments, and even demonstrate better memory and functional performance than the control group.
Last January, ten occupational therapy students from the NYU Class of 2014 travelled to South Africa for the Art Aids Art’s annual service learning trip. During their week and a half abroad, NYU students collaborated with the OT department at the University of Cape Town to visit Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross Hospital and expand their understanding of global OT practice. They also visited Khayelitsha, a ramshackle city in the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Characterized by some of the harshest urban poverty in the region, many residents live in cramped shacks and trek several hundred yards for access to running water.
In a local community center in the heart of Khayelitsha, NYU OT students demonstrated strategies for improving posture and body mechanics during daily activities, and gave tips about the value of stretching and performing therapeutic exercises.
Now, almost a year after the remarkable trip, Chloe Garcia (NYU OT ’14) is confident that the group of students left an indelible mark on the local population.
“During our time there we shot and edited a video and photos of the exercises we did with the different groups to leave as demonstrations,” said Chloe. “They continue to implement them in the classes offered at the center.”
And for Chloe, the trip to South Africa was only the beginning. “In the future I would really love to take more OT students and continue to build these relationships abroad,” she said. The OT Department at the University of Cape Town encouraged Chloe to return with more OT students, and Art Aids Art runs yearly trips that are sure to attract groups of NYU students in the coming semesters.
Meanwhile, Chloe is already thinking about her next trip. “I plan to do OT work in South Africa at some point more permanently,” she said. “But for now I’m content with visiting and doing as much work and help as much as I can.”