(Pronouns: she/her)

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What year did you start the program? 

What are your prior degrees and at which institutions? 
B.S. in Occupational Therapy, Xavier University

What was your favorite course in the program?
OH886 - Teaching and Learning in the Health Professions

What was your Innovation Project title? 
Building Strong Foundations in the NICU: Reducing Risk Factors of Postpartum Depression through Occupational Therapy

Tell us about your Innovation Project.
My Innovation project was a program evaluation to determine if the Strong Foundations support group, that I developed, was feasible and effective for the mothers in the NICU in which I practice. Strong Foundations is an occupation-based, support group that incorporated three classes: Infant-Care Techniques to facilitate self-efficacy in maternal role, Meditation and Gentle Movement to address stress levels and learn coping skills, and Creative Discussions to facilitate discussion within the group while participating in an art project to build a support network. The overall goal is to reduce risk factors of postpartum depression and facilitate a support network for the NICU mothers.

What do you think is special about the Post-Professional OTD program here at the MGH Institute?
MGH IHP PP-OTD program is special in my opinion because of three aspects. First, the combined classes of OTs and SLPs broadened the learning experience. Different professions bring a different perspective to an assignment and allowed innovative collaboration on projects. Second, most of the assignments/projects were opportunities to work on an issue or initiative for my workplace. My work was noticed by colleagues and leadership, which has led to more opportunities for collaboration on a variety of teams. Finally, Sarah McKinnon could not be more inspiring. She is a constant cheerleader and pushes you to reach your potential.

Why did you choose to come to this program? 
Having a 40-hour full time position and a family, I needed a flexible, online program. Having been out of school for 23 years, I needed support to bridge into the current technology of a modern educational program. Although I was anxious to start, I was reassured that I would be able to accomplish my goals. I am so glad that I took the plunge. It has been a life changing experience. 

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
First, I would love to expand my role at work into a clinical specialist/educator role for pediatric developmental care. While I continue my work in the NICU, I would like to provide workshops or courses for aspiring neonatal therapists. Next, I’d like to dip my toes into academia as well. Becoming an adjunct instructor at a local university OT program would be ideal.