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Second-year OT students Melissa Vanwynsberghe and Alina Jones presented their research at the Independent Study Symposium.

Independent Study Symposium gives OT students chance to share research

June 28, 2016 — 

The Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences hosted the 12th annual Master of Occupational Therapy Independent Study Symposium on June 23. The symposium gives second-year OT students the opportunity to present their research findings on a variety of topics effecting their profession, including the work-life balance of occupational therapists; strategies for supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and why men choose occupational therapy as a career.

Dr. Kathryn Sibley, Assistant Professor in the department of Community Health Sciences and Scientist in the Knowledge Translation Platform at the George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation at the U of M, delivered the keynote address titled Bridging the Research – Practice – Research Gap: Role of the Informed Clinician.

Sibley spoke about the importance of maintaining and strengthening the connection between research and clinical practice. Currently, she said, there is a seventeen year gap between research and practice and efforts need to be made to shorten that time gap.

“Clinicians at the front lines need to stay in touch and they need to stay connected,” Sibley told the students. “But researchers at the university who are interested in making a difference in practice also need to hear from the front lines. Clinicians like you are on the front lines and we need to stay in touch and stay connected.”

After Sibley’s keynote speech the first of over twenty students research presentations commenced in the Medical Rehabilitation building.

Second-year occupational therapy students Melissa Vanwynsberghe and Alina Jones presented their research topic, Reflections in Occupational Therapy: A Scoping Review that focused on the importance of reflection for both occupational therapists and OT students.

Both students were glad to be able to apply their OT skills to their research project, to share what they’d learned and expressed appreciation for the symposium.

“We’ve really learned a lot of skills that we can apply in our future practice,” said Jones.

“It really gives us an opportunity for public speaking and also to learn what others have done,” Vanwynsberghe said. “In one day you learn a lot from various projects. It’s a wonderful learning experience.”

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