With an eye toward the future, AIC’s School of Health Sciences continues to find new ways to broaden student’s horizons.
During the spring of 2018, Kate Barlow, OTD, MS, OTR/L, an assistant professor in the Division of Occupational Therapy (OT), led eight intrepid students to Peru, where they received hands-on training as well as new cultural experiences as part of the College’s International, Interprofessional Service Learning course.
Five occupational therapy students and three nursing students worked in a residential pediatric hospital-based clinic in Cuzco, helping children ranging in ages from two to 15 years old—most with cerebral palsy—develop feeding and self-care skills, and improve range of motion.
Barlow says the work in the clinic exposed the students to opportunities that typically aren’t available in the United States due to stricter regulations.
“It was a great opportunity for students to feel tone because usually you’re not able to feel that until you’ve finished your entire academic program at a school because in America we have such strict guidelines on students touching anybody,” she says. “In a foreign country where there are no therapists, they’re like, ‘Great, come help us.’”
Barlow explains the class was deliberately designed to incorporate students from the OT and nursing programs because “interprofessional education is the way of the future in healthcare” and the College hopes to develop more classes with similar models in the future.
While the time in the clinic was invaluable from a training perspective, first-year OT graduate student Victoria Lehr adds the group especially appreciated the chance to venture out into the country with their tour guide, visiting the ancient city of Machu Picchu, as well as the communities of Luquina and Puno.