AIC’s Occupational Therapy Program—Empowering Minds and Impacting the Community

Achievement. Collaboration. Contribution. These words highlight the impactful initiatives of the Occupational Therapy Program at American International College. The following narratives illuminate the program’s commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience for AIC students while also enhancing the well-being of the community near and far.

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Said Nafai, OTD, MS, OTR/L, CLT, CAPS,received a distinguished award from the Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy at its annual conference on November 3, 2023. The Catherine A. Trombly Award for Contribution to Occupational Therapy Education and Research recognizes an exceptional occupational therapy educator and researcher who has made outstanding contributions to the occupational therapy profession.

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Kate Barlow, OTD, OTR/L, IMH-E®, has been awarded acceptance in the Roster of Fellows in the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), which will be conferred at the AOTA INSPIRE 2024conference March 2024, in Orlando. The recognition acknowledges Barlow’s international leadership in advancing pediatric practice.

Professor Kate Barlow is also making waves as the CDC’s Massachusetts Act Eary Ambassador. In a recent American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) podcast, Dr. Barlow sheds light on the vital role of occupational therapy in public health. Listen HERE.

The 6th Annual Conference of the Occupational Therapy Association of Morocco on January 6, 2024, chaired by Dr. Said Nafai, will be a global gathering, with presenters from five continents. Nafai is the founder and president of the organization, earning the title of the “Father of Occupational Therapy in Morocco.” This year holds added significance as President Hubert Benitez takes the stage as a guest speaker. Professor and Post-Professional OTD Faculty Lead Allison Sullivan, OT, DOT, OTR, will contribute as a presenter, and AIC students will also make presentations.

AIC is well-represented in Willard and Spackman’s 14th edition and is widely acknowledged as an essential resource for the Occupational Therapy profession. Professor Christine Helfrich, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, and Associate Professor Said Nafai contributed chapters in this latest edition, while a published article by Professor Allison Sullivan is also cited in the text. Dean of Health Sciences Karen Rousseau applauds their accomplishments, emphasizing the significance of AIC’s inclusion in this esteemed global OT resource.

Christine Helfrich is also celebrating her recent publication, “Factors Contributing to Whether or Not People with Obesity Undergo Bariatric Surgery” in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. Read more HERE.

AIC’s Division of Occupational Therapy Services recently received a $15,000 grant from the Hope for Youth and Families Foundation. This grant facilitated collaboration with the Martin Luther King Junior Family Services of Springfield(MLKFS), and the MLK Charter School of Excellence in Springfield to implement the mental health promotion initiative “Every Moment Counts.” The program aimed to empower 400 participating youths through tailored activities. This partnership, originating from a proposal by Professor Allison Sullivan, also provides valuable fieldwork opportunities for AIC’s OT students. Dr. Sullivan and her colleague, Dr. Christine Helfrich, have spearheaded the training of students and MLKFS and MLK Charter School staff members in the program.

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