Creatively Designing Preventive Services
Doctoral student Caitlin Berger is supporting the well-being of individuals with Parkinson’s, and their caregivers, by expanding occupational therapy community resources.
Occupational therapists are routinely called upon to develop innovative methods to help individuals maximize their ability to engage in daily activities and promote wellbeing through a range of interventions. In some cases, this includes addressing unique functional challenges for individuals, and at other times it means creatively designing services that are preventive in nature.
This creative approach is what convinced Caitlin Berger, a student in the Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, to pursue her capstone at the Orokawa Y in Central Maryland.
“Part of the reason I sought out the Orokawa Y in Central Maryland as the site for my capstone project is because of how its vision of inclusion and connection closely align with OT’s values,” she explains. “The purpose of my project is to enhance the role of occupational therapy in supporting the health and well-being of individuals with Parkinson’s and their caregivers by expanding community partnerships and increasing access to resources.”
Through her capstone Berger is working with Rock Steady Boxing, a Parkinson’s exercise program held at the Y. “Having grown up in the Towson area, I feel rewarded to be able to attend a program that is so immersed in the community and has provided me many opportunities to give back utilizing an occupational lens.”
She credits the educational experiences in the doctoral program for expanding her view of what a therapist does, explaining “This doctoral program has taught me to take initiative, to be innovative, and to engage in experiences that enhance skills to prepare me for a career in occupational therapy.”
After she graduates Berger hopes to stay in the area to practice in a setting that aligns with her interests in neurorehabilitation and community connection.