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Iona College Announces Innovative and Collaborative Occupational Therapy Program

Under the direction of Laurette Olson, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Iona's program has been granted candidacy status by the ACOTE and will commence in the Fall 2019 semester.


NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.— In keeping with its strategic goals of strengthening academic excellence and distinctiveness, creating more opportunities for student success, and acquiring the best and brightest faculty, Iona College has developed a new MS in Occupational Therapy. Under the direction of Laurette Olson, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, who has over 30 years-experience as a practicing occupational therapist and has written and presented extensively on the subject, Iona's program has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). This is a critical step in the path toward achieving full accreditation status from ACOTE.

Throughout the next few months, OT program faculty will be interviewing and admitting students for the Fall 2019 semester. Over the next two years, the program faculty and college administration will engage in a self-study process of the developing program, the next step toward accreditation. In December, Iona College also received notification that after a careful review of the program and its curriculum, the NYS Department of Education has registered this program to award an MS in Occupational Therapy.

According to AOTA, occupational therapy "helps people across the lifespan to do the thing they want and need to do through therapeutic use of daily activities. Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent –or live better with—injury, illness or disability."

Occupational Therapy faculty are building the program around the strengths of the College including the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Iona's focus on community engagement and service-learning. OT students will be active members of the community and will be engaged in learning and service in health care, education and community organizations in Westchester County and New York City. Throughout the graduate OT curriculum, students will also be involved in lectures, activities, and events at the Hynes Institute in order to grow their entrepreneurial mindset and skills for design thinking and innovation in the interest of persons with disabilities.

"With the speed of change in the world today, every field has to think about innovation, and having the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation on campus to help us think about and develop innovations in OT is very exciting," Olson said.

"We will also be collaborating with different departments that are also educating helping professionals across campus including the Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate program,” Olson added. The OT and CSD faculty are working to develop authentic interprofessional learning opportunities where students will collaborate around clinical activities and service. In addition, the occupational therapy program is proud to join with other Iona College allied health programs in launching a student allied health interdisciplinary scholarly journal.

In 2017, CNNMoney listed Occupational Therapist as #5 on their list of fastest-growing Jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 24 percent growth in the field over the next 10 years, which is much faster than average growth for other occupations.

Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., president of Iona College said, "Iona prepares its students for both service and success in the classroom and in life. Our OT program opens up new opportunities for our students to shine in their lives and in the lives of others."

Iona offers various programs in the health professions including pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-podiatry, pre-physician's assistant and pre-physical therapy, pre-veterinary, pre-pharmacy and pre-optometry. The College also has early acceptance programs with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York College of Podiatric Medicine and New York Chiropractic College.

An open house will be held for Iona's Occupational Therapy Program on Thursday, January 10, 2019, at 5:30 p.m., at the Admissions Welcome Center in McSpedon Hall. Faculty will share more details about the new program, as well as answer questions. GaelGuides will be offering tours of Iona College throughout the afternoon.

Founded in 1940, Iona College is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre campus is just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2020.” Iona College also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility.