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May 08, 2013

New England's first Doctor of Occupational Therapy program to begin in June 2014

MGH Institute of Health Professions will launch the first Entry-Level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree program in New England beginning in June 2014, one of only nine such programs in the country.

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on April 30, 2013, approved the Boston graduate school’s application to grant the degree and launch the three-year professional doctoral program.

Building on its success over the last 36 years of preparing health care leaders, the MGH Institute created the OTD program to complement its existing suite of entry-level degree programs in physical therapy and speech-language pathology in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), as well as degree programs in the School of Nursing.

The full-time OTD program will prepare students with advanced skills and scholarly experience beyond current master’s degree programs in the field, specifically in such areas as leadership, health policy, health care delivery systems, and interprofessional teamwork.

“Our new Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree is designed for the person who wants to become a leader in occupational therapy, contributing to the future growth of the profession and the well-being of the public,” said SHRS Dean Leslie Portney, DPT, PhD, FAPTA.

OTD Program Director, Regina Doherty, OTD, MS, OTR/L, a clinician and educator with more than 20 years of experience in the field, noted, “This innovative and highly interprofessional curriculum will prepare graduates to think critically about occupational therapy practice, and provide them the skills needed to excel in today’s dynamic health care and education systems.”

Employment for occupational therapists, who improve quality of life for individuals with varying functional limitations and disabilities, is expected to grow by 33 percent from 2010 to 2020 – much faster than the average for all professions. According to the 2012 U.S. News and World Report ranking of the top 100 jobs, occupational therapy ranks eleventh.

Upon completing the program, graduates will be eligible to apply for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam, and become a licensed occupational therapist.

The Institute expects to admit 25 students to its first OTD class. The applicant pool is likely to be a mix of recent college graduates, as well as career changers from professions outside of health care.

The new program has been granted candidacy status by the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education, with a final report of accreditation status expected before the first class graduates in the spring of 2017.

For more information about the occupational therapy profession, please visit the American Occupational Therapy Association website. 


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