Nearly 30 OT Programs Get $3 Million in Grants
By Stephanie Yamkovenko
The Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) recent announcement of awarding $96 million in grants to increase diversity in health professions can be a part of the answer to occupational therapy’s 2017 Centennial Vision call for a globally connected and diverse workforce.
The grants are appropriated to schools that will give scholarships to students with financial need from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are underrepresented minorities. HHS shares AOTA’s belief that the health profession workforce should reflect the population it serves in the U.S., and these funds will support students who will be more likely to work in underserved areas upon completion of their schoolwork.
Occupational therapy programs received nearly $3 million in grant money, with HHS awarding funding to nearly 30 occupational therapy programs. Programs in Washington, D.C., to Washington state, to Puerto Rico, to New Mexico received funds from HHS to help create a diverse workforce.
“Today our profession is not diverse enough, and we need to support initiatives that will help to remedy the situation,” said AOTA President Florence Clark PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA in her inaugural address at the 2010 Annual Conference & Expo. “Occupational therapy will be much more sustainable if we have a critical mass of diverse practitioners, educators, and researchers representing the composition of all Americans, and as we grow more widely recognized and diverse, this will add to our power in advocacy.”
The occupational therapy program at Florida A&M University received $650,000 in grant money, the largest amount for an occupational therapy program. See the table below for all the schools with occupational therapy programs awarded grant money.
HHS defines a disadvantaged student as an individual who comes from “an environment that has inhibited the individual from obtaining knowledge, skill, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school.” A disadvantaged student can also come from a family with an “annual income below a level based on low income thresholds according to family size published by the U.S. Bureau of Census.”
“Our educational programs prepare the future occupational therapy workforce,” says Clark. “We need to enable new generations of practitioners to confidently meet emerging societal needs in mental health, work and industry, aging, disability and rehabilitation, technology, and health and wellness, as well in the healthcare reform priority areas.”
The funds of the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program are a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and HHS FY 2010 appropriations. For more information, please visit the HHS Web site.
Stephanie Yamkovenko is AOTA’s staff writer.
Occupational Therapy Programs Receiving Funds from HHS
Alabama State University
American International College
Chicago State University
College Of St. Scholastica
Eastern Washington University
Florida A & M University
Florida International University
Governors State University
St. Ambrose University
Suny Downstate Medical Center
Tennessee State University
Texas Tech University Health Sciences
Texas Woman's University
Trustees Of Columbia University In The City Of New York
University Of Alabama At Birmingham
University Of Mississippi Medical Center
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
University Of Pittsburgh
University Of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
University of Texas El Paso
University of Texas-Pan American
University Of The Sciences In Philadelphia
Winston-Salem State University
York College/The City University Of New York