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.
"This program means a lot to me as it demonstrates our commitment to increasing access to the profession of OT by addressing barriers to graduate programs for underrepresented and marginalized students," says assistant professor and director of admissions and recruitment Audrey E. Kane, Ph.D., OTR/L, who envisioned, developed, and implemented OT Academy along with students Ju Lee and Julian Battle (the Academy was their capstone project). "It also affirms our Department, College and profession's values of diversity and works to fulfill the mission of both of those institutions in creating a more diverse workforce, so that clients have the opportunity to be served by someone who looks like them."
Through engagement in presentations, discussions, and hands-on opportunities, students gain skills required to be a competitive applicant — and a successful and professional student in a rigorous graduate program. OT Academy is offered in partnership with VCU Diversity P.A.T.H.S. (Promoting Access To Health Sciences), an initiative sponsored by the Division for Student Engagement and Impact within the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences.