NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A gift of $500,000 from Genesis Rehab Services to the Foundation of UMDNJ will allow the UMDNJ-School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) to establish the only Occupational Therapy Assistant program in New Jersey.
The unique design of this program, which will be offered in collaboration with a number of New Jersey community colleges, will enable students to complete part of their course requirements locally while continuing to meet the demands of their family, home and personal life. This program will be adapted to a distance-learning program in the future.
"Because of a predicted state and national shortage of occupational therapy assistants (OTAs), we look forward to this innovative partnership with Genesis Rehab Services that will help to prepare students for this vitally important field," said Dr. Julie O'Sullivan Maillet, interim dean, SHRP. "The combination of our strengths puts SHRP and Genesis Rehab Services in a unique position to develop an outstanding program."
According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, occupational therapy practitioners "help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations)." OTAs, working under the supervision of occupational therapists, provide services to individuals with mental, physical or developmental impairment, injury or illness in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, mental health programs and schools.
In its 2010 Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition, the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of OTAs will grow by 30 percent from 2008 – 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will continue to rise as baby boomers age and require rehabilitation and assistance with activities of daily living. In addition, the increasing use of inclusive education with more students with disabilities educated in the mainstream is also feeding the demand.
"Not only will our partnership with UMDNJ help prepare the next generation of OTAs, but it will also increase access to this key allied health profession as demand for occupation therapy continues to grow," said Dan Hirschfeld, president of Genesis Rehab Services. "As the only OTA program in New Jersey, this program will provide additional employment opportunities in the state while improving the quality of life of thousands of patients."
It is anticipated that the program at UMDNJ will begin accepting students during the summer of 2011. For more information about the new program, contact Dr. Kenneth Gill at the School of Health Related Professions, at (908) 889-2438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Foundation of UMDNJ
The Foundation of UMDNJ is an independent, not-for-profit organization that connects individuals, corporations and foundations that want to advance healthcare with those at UMDNJ who are pursuing those same passions. For more information, visit www.foundationofumdnj.org
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 6,000 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health on five campuses. For more information, visit www.umdnj.edu.
About Genesis Rehab Services
Genesis Rehab Services (GRS) is the leading provider of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy and wellness services in the long-term care rehabilitation industry. As one of the largest and strongest rehab organizations in the country, GRS partners with skilled nursing centers, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, hospitals, home health companies, adult day care programs and outpatient clinics to provide comprehensive therapy services, primarily to older adults. GRS currently operates and staffs rehab gyms in 25 states and the District of Columbia, and was named a 2010 Top Workplace by the Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia Daily News and a 2009 Best Place to Work by several regional publications. For more information, visit www.genesisrehab.com or www.rehab.com.
SOURCE New Jersey Health Foundation