IHP Launches Online Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

January 22, 2020
Program director Sarah McKinnon in front of IHP logo
Dr. Sarah McKinnon is the program manager for the new PP-OTD.

Its interprofessional education model makes it the only post-professional OTD curriculum to include team-building skills in every course.

Collaborating interprofessionally and implementing innovative solutions to advance health care delivery are among the highlights of the MGH Institute of Health Profession’s new post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.

Each course of the online program will expand the knowledge and skills of practicing occupational therapists going well beyond improving how they currently treat patients, according to Sarah McKinnon, the program’s director.

“This program is a way for occupational therapists to understand the process of identifying problems, developing solutions, and implementing quality improvements that can truly make a difference where they work to improve patient care,” said Dr. McKinnon, who in addition to her role at the Institute, serves on the board of directors for the American Occupational Therapy Association Political Action Committee and is the government representative for the Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy. “It’s much more than learning how to become a better occupational therapist.”

Students, who will be individually mentored by a faculty-led team of peers, will work on and complete an innovation project during the five-semester curriculum, resulting in tangible solutions that can directly impact problems in practice and where they work. McKinnon said projects could include reducing the time it takes for a patient in the emergency room to be seen by an OT or creating more effective teaching methods.

McKinnon, who previously worked at Massachusetts General Hospital in a clinical role, noted the program will incorporate the Institute’s innovative interprofessional education model, making it the only post-professional curriculum to include team-building skills in every course. In addition, it’s the first post-professional OTD program to offer core coursework addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion for health professionals.

“As a former online post-professional student, I know firsthand the importance of linking new learning to clinical practice,” she said. “When these students graduate, they’ll be prepared to be exceptional interprofessional leaders.”

An informational webinar hosted by McKinnon will be held on Wednesday, February 12 at 12 p.m. She will outline the program’s interprofessional curriculum, explain the online format, and take questions. All webinar registrants will receive a recording.

The post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy program currently is accepting applications for the first cohort that begins in Fall 2020. OTs also can start the program in Spring 2021 and Summer 2021 semesters.