New Haiti degree to address disabilities
The School of Allied Health Professions just launched a program in Haiti to deal with one of the country’s most glaring needs—rehabilitation treatment for the disabled. Sixteen Haitians are now studying for a certificate that will allow them to serve as rehab technicians. The program is one of the first of its kind in the country. After the students graduate in February 2013, they will help their neighbors regain physical functionality that was lost in the 2010 earthquake or through other circumstances. “One year from now, they’re going to be incredible clinicians,” says Heather Thomas, PhD, co-director of the program and associate professor of occupational therapy.
The School of Allied Health Professions to hold its 16th annual Alumni Homecoming Weekend
The School of Allied Health Professions' 16th annual Alumni Homecoming Weekend will take place April 20 to 22, 2012.
This year’s theme, “Our Journey in Service,” highlights the school’s commitment to service as shown in its mission statement, which reinforces the commitment to provide training and experiences which enable students to lead, to heal, and to serve in a way that transforms lives.
Past missionary work, as well as current outreach projects locally and abroad as well as future service opportuties for students will be highlighted.
For more information and to register, visit: http://bit.ly/HjIAX8
Enrollment soars in the School of Allied Health Professions
There was extra cause to celebrate at LLU during National Allied Professions Week, observed November 6–12: a record number of students are studying this fall in the School of Allied Health Professions. With an all-time enrollment high of 1,176, Loma Linda University’s biggest school just got bigger.
“It is exciting that our enrollment, year after year, continues to climb,” says Craig Jackson, JD, MSW, dean of the school. “It is a combination of exceptional programs taught by exceptional faculty and taking advantage of the growth in health care. “God has blessed our school, and we give Him all the glory; and we will stay committed to our unique focus on service and mission,” he adds. “That, we believe, is what attracts students to Loma Linda University.”
Allied health students in the school’s nine departments are learning to help patients breathe, speak, function, move, and heal. Their testing and imaging skills will help physicians accurately diagnose conditions and injuries. They will manage the health information systems vital to patient care. The School of Allied Health Professions offers approximately 50 associate’s, bachelor’s, doctoral, and certificate programs through its departments of cardiopulmonary sciences, clinical laboratory science, communication sciences and disorders, health information management, nutrition and dietetics, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant sciences, and radiation technology.
Preparing Allied Health students for patient care
Imagine the following scene: a physical therapy student stands before a patient in an acute setting for the first time. She is there to help the patient sit at the edge of his bed and then stand with the help of a front-wheel walker and at least march in place if the patient is strong enough.
The student informs the patient of what the therapy will consist of and proceeds, discovering what all those lines do, where they come from, and where they’re attached. As the student transitions the patient to sitting position, the beeping sound of the monitor changes; his oxygen saturation readings drop; respiration rate readings escalate; and the patient says he doesn’t feel well. In an instant the student must make a series of quick decisions: how should she control the situation? What actions should she take and what should she say to the patient?
This is just one of many scenarios that physical therapy students in the LLU School of Allied Health Professions experience in the new Medical Simulation Center at LLU. “We are hoping to better prepare our students to meet real-life situations in their clinical assignments,” says Tony Valenzuela, DPT, EdD, “so that when similar situations arise they will be able to cope with the stress of making clinical decisions.” Students in the doctor of physical therapy program express great satisfaction completing the simulations, says Dr. Valenzuela. They say that they are able to learn and feel better prepared to work with patients.
The Medical Simulation Center is a state-of-the-art facility that provides real ICU and acute setting equipment and nurses, as well as mannequins that use high-fidelity simulators to physiologically respond to treatment similar to what real patients receive. The simulation lab is located in the new Centennial Complex on campus.
Japanese and American exchange brings better understanding of OT
Life in Japan and the United States differs in many ways, yet when it comes to recovering from a stroke, brain tumor, other disease, or brain injury, similar care is needed. For three days this year, occupational therapy (OT) students from Japan’s Jikei College visited Loma Linda University to compare OT practices in the two countries.
The project centered around the fact that life’s myriad daily tasks, require specific physical capabilities and cognitive functions. Simple tasks become complicated when clients sustain brain damage, which varies from person to person and can happen to anyone at any age, says Karen Pendleton, MA, assistant professor of occupational therapy. “When we brush our teeth, how many of us must mentally process through each of the many steps involved?” she asks. “We usually perform these tasks automatically.”
Pairs of students from Osaka teamed up with pairs of LLU student and chose one of the cognitive deficits to explore. They identified and addressed challenges a client with this deficit might face, and then designed an interactive exhibit showcasing intervention strategies from each of their cultures.
The final day of the visit, interactive exhibits they had created opened at Wong Kerlee International Conference Center to more than 100 participants. “Both groups of students enjoyed the cultural exchange and commented that they had an increased understanding of how a brain injury can affect so many occupations,” Ms. Pendleton says.
Research suggests a method for healing difficult wounds
There are people who have to worry about any tiny scratch or cut they receive on their foot. This is because wounds that won’t heal can lead to tissue death and potential amputation. Jerrold S. Petrofsky, PhD, JD, professor of physical therapy and director of research laboratories in the School of Allied Health Professions (SAHP), is very interested in solving the puzzle of these non-healing wounds.
Using a three-electrode system, SAHP researchers are able to evenly distribute an electric current across wounds, increasing blood flow to the area and improving the healing process.
“Implications for patients with diabetes and other non-healing wounds are immense,” says Dr. Petrofsky. “If we can speed up the healing process for these patients, we not only save them pain and suffering, but we reduce the time they spend in the hospital or under other types of costly medical care.”