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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Occupational Therapy Program

Course of Study

The Health Sciences

  • The health science sequence helps the student build a foundation for practice within a health profession.
  • In the Summer semester, courses begin with a mastery of anatomical structures through dissection, while simultaneously palpate one another to increase their knowledge.
  • In Fall semester, Kinesiology integrates the principles of kinetics and kinematics with their knowledge of anatomy to analyze human movement. Students utilize this knowledge learning tools to measure movement and strength in individuals.
  • Experiential Movement Labs are integrated throughout the curriculum to help students develop a kinesthetic foundation for using their own effective body mechanics and for developing interventions for clients.
  • In Spring Semester, Human Neuroanatomy, Neurophysiology, and Medical Sciences courses build foundational skills for understanding underlying OT evaluation and treatment.

Occupational Therapy Foundations

  • Curriculum begins with foundational concepts, theories, and skills required for OT practice
  • Exploration of student's own values as it relates to cultural diversity and professional ethics and working collaboratively as members of a health care team.
  • Using a clinical reasoning process through the application of OT principles to case studies, problem solving laboratory experiences, and clinical assignments as they learn the district value of OT practice.
  • Students learn to administer occupational performance assessment tools that apply across all practice areas, and begin to develop their understanding of occupational context through an exploration of sociocultural variables that influence occupational performance.
  • Student develop knowledge and skill in self-care assessment, as well as treatment planning and environmental adaptations to improve clients' capacities to perform daily tasks.
  • They work collaboratively to learn to work in client groups
  • Students take a variety of course to implement current technology into OT practice, and apply principles of human information processing to analyze activities, evaluate cognitive and perceptual performance, and design therapeutic interventions to promote functional performance in future clients.

Integration of Occupational Therapy - Theory and Practice

  • During this course sequence, students focus on developing specific knowledge and skills that are appropriate to the various practice areas in OT building on their foundational skills.
  • Simultaneously, they refine their clinical reasoning skills and begin to internalize the skills, behaviors, and values that will enable them to develop professional self-images as occupational therapists.
  • Cultural diversity and professional ethics issues that affect current practice are explored.
  • Each Theory and Practice course has a concurrent Level I Fieldwork with integrated clinical assignments that are carried out in the Fieldwork site.
  • Fieldwork seminars meet regularly in conjunction with the Theory and Practice courses to provide students an opportunity to reflect and develop more advanced clinical reasoning skills, problem solve clinical issues, and to further develop their professional self- image through peer discussions.
  • The Community Practice sequence has its own field-based experience which introduces students to OT practice in community settings and prepares students to develop and market innovative services.
  • Administration and Professional Issues allows students to apply principles of management and supervision in the provision of OT services, and to examine professional ethics, current legislation, and health care systems influence OT practice.
  • Level II Fieldwork courses are the culminating integrative experience. They follow the second year with two sequential three-month placements during the Summer and Fall semesters
  • A mid semester Fieldwork Seminar discusses issues commonly explored are the development of a professional self- image, clinical staffing and pacing concerns, role delineation, larger health care delivery issues, advanced clinical reasoning processes, affective responses during the fieldwork experience, and the effectiveness of academic preparation for fieldwork.
  • An optional specialty placement from one to three months in length is available for students wishing further experience in a specialized area of practice.

Theory and Application of Research

  • Master's Project Sequence includes practical experience in all aspects of conducting a research study or developing an educational or clinical product.
  • Beginning with Research Methods, given in the fall semester of the first year, students learn basic quantitative and qualitative research design and the application of research concepts to occupational therapy, including how to critically appraise and integrate current research evidence into practice. 
  • In the Master's Project I-IV courses, students work closely with their faculty advisors to implement research studies.
  • This includes writing a formal proposal, collecting data, analyzing results, presenting poster and platform presentations, and writing a paper on the project in a format suitable for publication.

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