Featured news

VCU Occupational Therapy Student on winning Interprofessional Case Competition Team

Occupational Therapy students Anne Franklin (left) and Erika Poole (right) (both Class of 2025) competed in the final round of the 2023-2024 International Interprofessional Case Competition, as part of separate interprofessional teams made up of learners across professions from institutions all over the world. This year's I2C2 event had 62 students from 11 universities in multiple countries assigned to 12 interprofessional teams representing a wide range of health professions managing a complex medical condition. The teams competed virtually to resolve a complex clinical case, and Erika’s team won the competition! 

Congratulations to Dr. Virginia Chu on receiving a NIRA award!

Dr. Virginia Chu was recently honored as part of the VCU inaugural class of National/International Recognition Award (NIRA) scholars. Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, created the NIRA in partnership with Marlon Levy, M.D., interim senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences. The award honors VCU faculty members who were nationally or internationally recognized for exceptional accomplishments during their current evaluation period. Dr. Virginia Chu, seen here with Dr. Ben Darter, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, were the recipients from the College of Health Professions.

Dr. Stacey Reynolds receives Applied Research Grant to Improve Access to Community-Based Occupations via a Rideshare Training Program

Dr. Stacey Reynolds was recently awarded an Applied Research Grant from the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). The project entitled Improving Access to Community-Based Occupations via a Rideshare Training Program is a 1-year project to train autistic adults to use Rideshare services (e.g., Uber, Lyft). “Transportation options are limited for those with divergent social, sensory, and cognitive abilities. This project will train autistic adults to use Rideshare services to better access leisure and employment opportunities in the Central Virginia area,” says Dr. Reynolds. This program was originally developed with a capstone OTD student (Ginger Belongia, OTD 2022) in the Department of Occupational Therapy. The training modules are freely accessible at the Safe Rideshare Program website This grant project is in collaboration with Alissa Brooke from the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VCU-RRTC).

OT Academy Shines

This summer, the department held the inaugural OT Academy, a pathway program drawing participants from underrepresented and marginalized populations. Planning for the academy was three years in the making, and designed to promote knowledge and understanding of the OT profession, and to prepare students for applying to an academic OT program.

Marking 10 magical years, Sensitive Santa is a memorable gift for children with disabilities and their families

As part of the Legendary Santa experience at CMoR, several events are offered with a sensory-friendly atmosphere called Sensitive Santa nights. The music and lights are toned down, and there’s a cool-down room available for little ones who may get overstimulated by the holiday hoopla. It’s all done to ensure children with disabilities can still experience the magic of Santa Claus. 

How this Christmas event makes seeing Santa inclusive to all children

The Department of Occupational Therapy, in partnership with the Children's Museum of Richmond, held their 10th annual Sensitive Santa event. The Sensitive Santa event invites families with children who have sensory or other special needs to meet Santa and enjoy other museum activities.

Department of Occupational Therapy launches its OTD/PhD Dual Degree Program

The Department of Occupational Therapy launched its Dual Degree Occupational Therapy Doctorate - PhD in Health Related Sciences this year. This program allows students in the occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program to begin working on credits in the PhD program while in the OTD program, saving them time and money toward their PhD. Dr. Stacey Reynolds, the program director and developer of the dual degree program, states, “This is only one of a small handful of OTD-to-PhD programs in the world and our program is proud to be leading the way in the effort to develop and support well-trained rehabilitation scientists.”

Jenna Burns (Class of 2023) receives inaugural Spirit of Sisterhood Scholarship

Fall of 1971 found 7 young women (Cathy Mattsson (Nilson), Maureen Freda (Peterson), Ruth Strauss (Stahl), Donna Lucente (Surber), Pam Flowers (LaCasio), Debby Joyce (McKeon), Megan Mabey (Douglas)) from different geographic, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds converging at VCU, in the middle of an urban campus, at the height of “hippiedom.” None of us could imagine then, that 49 years later, our friendships and treasured college family would still be going strong, all because of our VCU Occupational Therapy (OT) connection. Our lives have been individually and collectively enriched by these lifelong friendships that started so simply. Our memories are so fond of those early formative years spent together, we have been inspired to offer a small scholarship of $1,000 to a current VCU OT student.  We fervently hope that the student who is selected finds the professional pride, success, passion, and satisfaction we all have, as well as lasting friendships.  

Audrey Kane Receives Grant for "Unity at the Table"

Congratulations to Audrey Kane, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy for being awarded a grant by the 2020-2021 VCU Service-Learning Project Small Grants Program for her project "Unity at the Table".  The award will help Audrey promote her students' learning in current and future iterations of her OCCT 717:Level I Psychosocial Fieldwork in Occupational Therapy service-learning class, and enhance community-engaged learning opportunities for VCU students.