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OT Classrooms Covert into a Free Adult Clinic at the Oakland Campus

 This spring Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is hosting its annual free Occupational Therapy Clinic for adults.  The ten, once-a-week sessions begin Monday, February 1, 2010.  The clinic is held at the Oakland campus Peralta Building down on the lower level one (LL1) floor.  Students transform the classroom  setting into a working lab area with floor mats, work tables, and even kitchen equipment such as a stove and refrigerator.

The Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program and the Occupational Therapy Adult Clinic is a student-administered service provided under the direct supervision of several licensed occupational therapists.  The OT Adult Clinic is designed to provide consultation, evaluation, individual treatment and/or client and caregiver education.  Some conditions that might bring a client to the Clinic could be a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, arthritis, orthopedic injury, or even low vision. 

"Our goal is to provide therapeutic intervention to clients with occupational therapy needs.  In meeting this goal we develop partnerships with families, other health and/or support providers or interested parties related to the care of the client," explains Kate Hayner, EdD, OTR/L, and SMU Department Chair of the Occupational Therapy Program.  "We also want to assist students with their own development of clinical reasoning and competency that supports research-based practice in adult occupational therapy services."

The OT Adult Clinic prepares second-year MOT students like Donna Murray for graduation and clinical internship this May.  "I am anxious to go out and get a job and work with the population," says Murray.  "When you have clinics like this you realize that it's not all about books, it's about people."

Occupational therapy uses meaningful activities to promote individual's participation in personal occupations, such as activities of daily living (ADL), work, play, and leisure.  

"Occupational therapy can help adults achieve maximal independence in self-care, home management and community activities through motor, cognitive and sensory re-education," explains Chi-Kwan Shea, PhD, OTR/L, and clinic instructor.  "We can provide the patient with a variety of services for these conditions, including customized splints, patient education, home exercise programs, and special adaptive equipment to help them perform tasks like dressing, washing or picking up objects."

The OT Adult Clinic allows MOT students to work with patients who need to regain active participation in their daily life following such injuries and illnesses as fractures, arthritis or tendonitis, joint replacements, tendon and nerve damage. 

"What I always enjoy at the end of the ten weeks is to see the progress each patient has made on achieving their individual goals," says Dr. Hayner.  "This measurable progress allows our students to see the outcome of their occupational therapy services in a way no other assignment for reading would allow."  

For more information about the Occupational Therapy Clinic for Adults or the Department of Occupational Therapy please contact Drew Ward, Administrative Assistant, Occupational Therapy, at 510.869.8925 or Chi-Kwan Shea, PhD, OTR/L at

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