On The air
List of Episodes
You can listen to On The air using your preferred podcasting service including iTunes and Stitcher by searching by the title or via this site by clicking on the desired episode below.
Narrative medicine is an approach that used in clinical practice, research, and education to promote growth, learning, and/or healing through the use of story (or narrative). That story may be communicated in a variety of ways, including through the use of theater, and that's what the guest on this episode has done in her work as an occupational therapist and an occupational therapy educator.
Sally Wasmuth, PhD, OTR, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Human Sciences at Indiana University, Indianapolis. She has a background in African-American Studies, Philosophical Studies of Biology, and Occupational Therapy. Her research focuses on translational and implementation science, particularly in the areas of occupation-based intervention for addictive disorders and dual-diagnosis. Sally is involved in several arts-based recovery initiatives, including the use of theatre as both a therapeutic intervention and a means of stimulating community conversations on critical topics including the opioid crisis and healthcare inequities related to race and gender.
Recommendations & resources from this episode:
Tools for OT faculty to help students explore their own bias, as developed by Sally and others:
Contact Sally via email
Ali Isso and Holly Masters are both Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) who work with the older adult population in nursing homes and hospitals.
Through their work, Ali and Holly have observed depression and loneliness, which are overwhelmingly prevalent with older adults and which have been linked to loss of independence, decreased motivation, and social withdrawal. In fact, according to the CDC, approximately 7 million adults over 65 experience depressive symptoms each year. Additionally, 60% of adults in long term care facilities do not receive visitors often, whether it be because their family is busy or lives out of town.
To address these problems, Ali and Holly co-Founded Purpose Therapy Box, a gift box subscription service that allows for the delivery of useful products that inspire positivity and enhance quality of life through personalized products designed to encourage independence, improve well-being, and overall health.
Both Ali and Holly are graduates of the Pennsylvania State University Occupational Therapy Assistant program as well as the Human Development and Family Studies Program. Ali works with the older adult population in both the hospital and SNF setting. Ali says that she has always had a passion for the older adult population and while doing her clinical rotations in OT school, she realized that so much more could and needs to be done. Holly works as a COTA in a skilled nursing facility in northwestern PA and a rehabilitation hospital in northeast Ohio. Her passion is working with the older adult population as she recognizes that they have the best stories and remind me to cherish the little things in life. Holly is a dog mamma to two beautiful Boston Terriers: Betsy and Eloise, and she loves growing plants/trees!
Ali and Holly started their company, Purpose Therapy Box, in June 2018 as a way to keep families connected and send functional items and with therapy box themes to remind our older loved ones they are not forgotten.
Resources & Recommendations from this episode:
Connect with Ali & Holly:
Erin Grujic has been an occupational therapist for 19 years. She had a dream many years ago about having a mobile sensory clinic to rural communities in Southern Alberta. Two years ago, she started working as an OT practitioner in the private sector and then one year ago was able to bring her dream to life through the creation of a mobile sensory integration clinic, which she says aligns well with her passion for working with children and their families by bringing the clinic to them rather than requiring the families to travel long distances to get services. Erin received her SIPT certification in 2009.
On this episode, Erin shares about her quest to build the sensory bus and to bring OT services to the community via this platform. She talks about funding issues, marketing, and the use of the sensory bus as a therapeutic tool in working with her clients and others. To find out how to connect with Erin and to access the resources mentioned on this episode, go to www.ontheair.us
Resources & Recommendations from this Episode:
Connect with Erin:
As third-year OT students preparing to graduate from the Master's level program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN, Chelsea Chandler Holden and Caroline Montague share about a unique experience in the field that both say really helped to shape their learning as future OT practitioners. Both Chelsea and Caroline volunteered at an event called Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in January 2019. On this episode, we talk about how an experience like TOM can serve as a significant professional learning development opportunity for OT students and practitioners.
To learn more about the TOM initiative, visit https://tomglobal.org/
For more information about the TOM event (past or future) at Vanderbilt, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tikkunolammakers.vanderbilt/
Occupational therapist Becca McCaskey, MOT, OTR/L, grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and attended UT-Knoxville to earn an undergrad degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She completed her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy in 2015 at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and then began her career working in outpatient private pediatric therapy. After recognizing some of the signs of overwhelm in attempting to juggle the demands of work and home and even of early burnout in herself, she took time off from work to stay home with her young children.
In 2018, Becca discovered teletherapy and she has been working in that specialty area of OT practice since that time. She has found that as an alternative career format, working in telehealth allows her to stay active as an occupational therapy practitioner while allowing for the flexibility she needs at this point in her life. As an OT, Becca is passionate about working with children of all ages and stages to help them reach their full potential and especially dedicated to helping those children who sometimes "fall through the cracks" due to a "hidden" disability or lack of resources. On this episode, Becca talks about the burnout that seems to be becoming increasingly prevalent amount healthcare providers, the importance finding balance in one's life in order to provide the highest quality of care to clients possible, and the perks of telehealth as an alternative to the traditional format of a career in occupational therapy.
Connect with Becca:
Rebecca Kadowaki is an OT who has developed an evidence-based toolkit connecting contact with nature and executive functioning in pediatrics as part of the work she's doing in the post-professional OTD program in which she is enrolled at Indiana Univ-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI).
Becca has developed a resource called "Nature + Occupational Therapy" which is a toolkit for executive function in children, which she has generously shared as a free, open-market resource. On this episode, Becca talks about her path into the field of OT, her interest in the link between development, health and wellbeing and nature, research on how and why nature benefits children's executive function, and ideas for incorporating contact with nature into practice and into daily life.
Resources & Recommendations from this Episode:
Physical therapist Karen Malone, an expert in stroke and stroke rehab after over 30 years in practice, is the guest on this episode of On The Air. Karen reminisces about her days in PT school and her first job as a PT working at a small Southern California hospital in stroke rehab. She talks about her experiences in stroke rehab Tijuana and China where she worked for 20 years and where she created opportunities to use physical therapy in a province where no one knew about physical therapy. Now residing in St. Paul, MN, with her son who was adopted from China, Karen is a delightful storyteller who highlights the challenges and the triumphs of being a trailblazer in the rehab field in China.
Resources & Recommendations:
Karen Dobyns, OTD, MOT, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist who lives and works in Southern California. She loves pediatrics and mental health and is adjunct faculty in an occupational therapy assistant college program. Karen was interviewed about her path into the field of occupational therapy on Episode 10 in January 2018 and is back to talk about her experiences in writing a children's book centered around the concept of inclusion (and OT!). She talks about how she came up with the idea for her book "The Centipede Who Couldn’t Tie His Shoes" and what she learned during the process of writing and publishing.
Resources & recommendations shared on this episode:
Kami Bible, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist who specializes in school-based OT via teletherapy. Kami graduated from Newman University in Wichita, KS with a B.S. in OT in 1998 and began working in an in-patient rehab facility on the spinal cord injury team. After passing the NBCOT exam in 1998, she continued her education, completing a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2001. After several years working in rehab, Kami took a job in HR as the Allied Health Recruiter for a large hospital system in Oklahoma City. In 2009, when her daughter started elementary school, she wanted to stay home with her and so went to work for a contract company serving several rural school districts.
Since then, Kami has worked in schools in Oklahoma, Washington State and now Kansas. She's been a national presenter for the Bureau of Education and Research and now with Learning Without Tears. She currently works full-time for Lawrence Public Schools serving K-8 in brick & mortar schools and K-12 for Lawrence Virtual School. In addition, Kami also does contract work for eLuma, an online therapy company.
Connect with Kami:
Supplemental Resource on Telehealth in OT:
You might have come across a video clip making the rounds on social media that shows an adult daughter using sign language to have a conversation with her mom who has dementia. The two are in a car and the exchange between them is really animated and affectionate. On this episode, the daughter from that video, sign-language interpreter MJ Grant, shares about her experiences growing up as part of the deaf culture in a family as a child of deaf adults (CODA). In addition, she talks about serving as a caregiver in recent years for her mom and her dad who has progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).
Born and raised in Sanford, Maine, MJ is a 44 year-old mother of four (ages 24, 18, 15 and 5), with a wonderfully supportive husband, Jesse Repolt. Having been raised by two culturally deaf parents in the city of Sanford, Maine, Grant has always had strong connection to the Deaf community and strongly identifies as a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults). Grant is the youngest of two daughters, with an older sister, LouAnn Grant. Having worked in the field of Sign Language Interpreting since 1997 as a freelancer, Grant decided in 2010 to establish her own interpreting referral agency, Mary Jane Grant Sign Language Interpreting Referral Services, in the state of Maine. Grant has been a mentor to student interpreters and adjunct faculty at the University of Southern Maine, teaching American Sign Language/English Interpreting classes intermittently since 2004. In recent years, Grant began caring for her mother, who has dementia, and father who has Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). Currently Grant's mother is living in her home and her father resides in the next town over, requiring support from both daughters and his wife to care for his needs. Grant continues to balance more challenging demands as her parent's needs increasingly become more significant.
Click HERE to access an article and video about MJ and her mom.
The host of the On The Air podcast, I have practiced as an occupational therapist for over 25 years and am an OT educator specializing in ed tech and instructional design.