Two doctoral students in Belmont’s Occupational Therapy program recently completed their residency projects which provided wheelchairs and professional support to children and their families in San Carlos, Mexico. Claire Grecco and Tara Harper completed complimentary projects under the academic advisement of Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Dr. Teresa Plummer and with assistance from the faith-based charitable organization, Reach Out and Care Wheels (ROC Wheels), based in Bozeman, Montana.
For her project, Grecco piloted the creation of a local chapter of Youths Empowered with the Helper Spirit to Reach Out and Care at Nashville’s Ezell Harding Christian School. Through the program, students learned about the international need for wheelchairs and helped raise money to provide wheelchairs for children.
Both Grecco and Harper traveled to Mexico to distribute five custom-fitted wheelchairs provided by ROC Wheels and took photo and videos of the children receiving the wheelchairs so they could share the experience with those who helped raise necessary funds. While in San Carlos, Grecco and Harper also assisted local therapists in fitting over 60 adult and pediatric wheelchairs and provided education regarding their use to caregivers.
Harper’s project was to create a caregiver education manual to support the caregivers to the children who received the wheelchairs. The manual includes important health information regarding seating and mobility, as well as wheelchair maintenance and adjustment.
Doctoral candidates in occupational therapy each design a culminating project which requires 640 hours to advance their skills in the areas of clinical practice, research, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education and/or theory development.