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SOTA Kicks Off April with Second Annual OT Night
April Declared OT Month in Philadelphia
Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Written By:  Brian Kirschner
Contact:  Brian Kirschner
Contact Email:  b.kirschner@usp.edu
Contact Phone:  215.895.1186

The University’s Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) is hosting the Second Annual Philadelphia OT Intercollegiate Night on Thursday April 1, 2010. The event brings together all of the occupational therapy schools in the area for an evening of good food and aspiring speakers.

Gillian Klein MOT’11, a SOTA Assembly of Student Delegates Representative 2009-11, anticipates 150 students from University of the Sciences, Philadelphia University, Jefferson University, Temple University, Harcum University, University of Scranton, Stockton College, and Alvernia University to participate.

"The purpose of OT Night is to promote networking among students and organizations in the region,” said Brian P. Connors MOT’11, president of SOTA. “We want to encourage the sharing of ideas and experiences among students of several occupational therapy schools in the Philadelphia area."

The event coincides with the start of the national awareness month for occupational therapy. To that end, the students through the University’s Community Partnership Office secured a proclamation from Mayor Michael A. Nutter declaring April OT month in the City of Philadelphia.

In addition to a sit down dinner, the students have secured two speakers with inspirational stories that will be shared that night.

Saul Raisin suffered massive brain injuries during a high-speed bicycle crash in France. After months of intensive therapy, Raisin was released from the hospital and recovered to race in the U.S. Pro Cycling Championship, run the New York City Marathon and competed in several Triathlons. He has started the Raisin Hope foundation and written a book to let others know that they are not alone in the traumatic journey of brain injury. If he is not giving motivational speeches to thousands, or competing in triathlons, he is spending time with wounded soldiers, raising traumatic brain injury awareness.

AJ Nanayakkara suffered a spinal cord injury in 1994 that left him with quadriplegia.  He discovered the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital's quad rugby team that he currently coaches and that won the 2006 Division 2 National Championship. Nanayakkara is a peer mentor to individuals with spinal cord injuries, the wheelchair sports coordinator at Magee, and lectures to students, health care professionals, and the Department of Defense on the value of adapted recreation in rehabilitating individuals with disabilities and/or traumatic injuries.

"As occupational therapy students, we consistently read and hear about the health-improving benefits of our services to the general population,” explained Connors. “We rarely see how the extent of our patients' recovery once they have left the rehabilitation setting. The progress of our featured guests at OT Night reaffirm why we decided to become occupational therapists."

Occupational therapy, through a client centered approach, enables people of all ages to live life to the fullest by helping them promote health, prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. It is a practice deeply rooted in science and is evidence-based, meaning that the plan designed for each individual is supported by data, experience, and “best practices” that have been developed and proven over time.

For more information, contact Brian Connors at bconnors@mail.usp.edu or 301.257.8670

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