Exploring journeys through the annual OT Knowledge Exchange

Story by Linda McDowell

Carolyn Baum

This year marked the 16th annual Knowledge Exchange hosted by Colorado State University’s Department of Occupational Therapy. Occupational therapy practitioners, faculty and CSU-OT students gathered for a full day of speakers and presentations at the event recently held in Fort Collins.

Keynote speaker Carolyn Baum

The department was honored to welcome Carolyn Baum as the morning’s keynote speaker. The Elias Michael executive director and professor in Occupational Therapy, Neurology and Social Work at Washington University, Baum is a scholar, researcher, and advocate for the occupational therapy profession. Her address, “Building a Translational and Interdisciplinary Program of Research: Linking Neuroscience to Everyday Life,” traced her research journey through the cognitive changes that occur after a stroke and how to use the knowledge gained from cognitive neuroscience to improve the lives of people with brain injury.

Awards, posters, round table discussions

After the keynote address, the department was pleased to present awards to individuals for their significant contributions in advancing occupational therapy on the CSU campus, in the community and providing educational opportunities for our students. Anne Hudgens, vice president for CSU Student Affairs and executive director of the CSU Health Network, was awarded “A Valued Friend of CSU-OT.” Marilyn Schock was honored as the “Distinguished CSU-OT Alumna.” The University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora was honored as the “Outstanding Collaboration to Educate Future Leaders of Occupational Therapy.”

The morning culminated with poster presentations from Ph.D. and M.S. students as well as posters created from second-year students during their fall semester’s Program Assessment and Development course. The poster session provided students with the opportunity to showcase their projects and for attendees to engage with presenters and learn about the extensive research being done at CSU-OT.

“Round table discussions during lunch provided a fantastic opportunity for CSU-OT students to connect and gain knowledge and insight from a variety of occupational therapy practitioners in the community. Each occupational therapist brought a unique perspective on their specific area of practice,” said Danielle Namour, second-year student and coordinator of the round tables. Topics ranged from the army, functional capacity evaluations, mental health, yoga and occupational therapy, community practice, school-based practice and more.

During the afternoon sessions, faculty and staff had an opportunity to present on their areas of expertise which continued on the theme of the event. Topics included occupational therapy and early childhood education, autism and sensory processing disorder, occupational therapy with veterans, yoga, drive safe screening tool and research with the Temple Grandin Equine Center.

Cathy Schelly retires after 30 years

After the afternoon sessions, Cathy Schelly shared about her 30-year journey and career at CSU. In her address she shared about the major developments in community practice and her involvement in this area providing personal insight into her incredible career at CSU. Attendees were privileged to hear about Schelly’s leadership in community practice not only in the CSU community but also regionally and nationally while the department’s director of the Center for Community Partnerships before retiring in early June.

Barb Hooper, academic program director, concluded this year’s event by summarizing the knowledge exchanged throughout the day and how to apply and integrate the vast array of knowledge into daily practice.

The Department of Occupational Therapy is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.