Shenango students head to Washington, D.C., for Hill Day

Students from Penn State Shenango’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program will be heading to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18-19 for Hill Day, where they will join hundreds from their profession to speak to state senators and representatives on various topics, including supporting rehabilitation research, repealing the Medicare therapy cap, and supporting occupational therapy in Medicare home health.

The campus’ OTA students will be attending Hill Day thanks to a grant, “Washington, D.C. Hill Day,” which was written by Margaret Pendzick, senior instructor and program director, Penn State Shenango OTA program, and received from the Penn State Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence.

“Providing a real-life opportunity for occupational therapy students to advocate for their clients is a powerful way for them to learn this important aspect of their jobs,” stated Angela Linse, executive director and associate dean, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence.

According to OTA student Ali Izzo, “The purpose of Hill Day is to speak about the issues within the profession, network with other occupational therapists, and, most importantly, try to make a difference in order to provide the best care for the people we serve. We hope to reach that goal through our advocacy.”

Occupational therapy teaches people to engage independently in their daily activities so that they can live meaningful lives despite any physical, cognitive, or mental deficit they may encounter. It helps people across their lifespan and improves their independence in what occupies their normal day, such as meal preparation, dressing and bathing.

As part of her honors project, Izzo will be writing a follow-up story on her and her peers’ experience at the 2016 Hill Day. For more information, contact Penn State Shenango OTA department at 724-983-2890.