When Therapy Adventures started its mission of bringing life-changing pediatric therapies to underserved communities outside the U.S., the initial focus was on sending long-term volunteers and arranging 1-week-trips for undergraduate students.
“However, based on overwhelming demand, we quickly started adding clinical education opportunities for graduate students in the fields of speech pathology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy,” says Quinn, one of the directors at Therapy Adventures.
The newest innovation, and something that has excited doctoral programs all over the United States, is the addition of international OT capstone experiences.
“This has resulted in a flood of inquiries with students from all over the country pouring in with requests to secure a spot,” Quinn reveals.
The occupational therapy capstone is a culminating experiential course that allows the doctoral student to enhance their skills in advanced clinical practice, scholarship, administration, leadership, advocacy, program and policy development, education, or theory development. It is meant to be self-guided and independent, under the supervision of a mentor.
Therapy Adventures has already started interviewing students who schedule capstone assignments one or two years out. “The response from doctoral students has been overwhelming in a good way,” says Quinn. “I have been extremely impressed with the candidates so far. They are smart, personable, and passionate about serving abroad. There could not be a better fit between Therapy Adventures and an OT capstone experience – it is a match made in heaven.”
One recent applicant shared that they love the idea of conducting their doctoral capstone abroad. Therapy Adventures arranges for the housing, partnership community organization they will serve, in-country transportation, and other logistics to allow the capstone assignment to run seamlessly.
“In the few short years that we started building partnerships, our global reach has just exploded,” says Idar, who serves as Therapy Adventures’ director of international partnerships. “The response from community organizations was incredible. We can now arrange OT capstone experiences in the UK, Ireland, Jamaica, Ecuador, Fiji, Singapore, Italy, Belize, India, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, and more. The breadth and depth of potential OT capstone experiences and the difference that can be made is just awe-inspiring.”
Entry-level occupational therapy doctoral (OTD) programs first started in 1998 but have grown since. There are now 240 programs applying for accreditation, in the process of accreditation, or accredited.
Idar sees the unlimited potential and promise of supporting OT capstone students in one of Therapy Adventures’ international sites. “This is going to be incredible for the doctoral OT students and for the international communities and organizations in which they serve,” says Idar. “The need is endless. We feel fortunate that we can direct and curate amazing capstone experiences for these students with communities who will welcome them with open arms.”