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CCRI’s Rehab Health programs to hold open house
July 10, 2013
For students who are looking to join a growing field with diverse opportunities, the Community College of Rhode Island’s Newport County Campus might have just the ticket. The college’s Rehabilitative Health programs, which are based on the Newport campus, will be holding an information session and open house from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17.
According to Kimberly Crealey Rouillier, chairperson of the Rehabilitative Health Department, the open house will cover all four of the department’s programs in individual information sessions, each occurring once per hour, making it possible for a student to attend two sessions. In these open meetings, students can meet with program directors representing the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), Opticianry, Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), and Therapeutic Massage (certificate and associate degree) programs. Tours of the campus and labs will also be offered, so that “the students get to see all of the equipment they will be working with,” said Rouillier.
“We’ll also have a representative from enrollment services on hand in case any students want to get started. We try to make it a one-stop shop,” she said.
That having been said, Rouillier warned that the OTA and PTA programs are quite competitive, frequently garnering more applications than there are seats. In particular, the PTA program, now in its 20th year, is the oldest program the college has in the Rehabilitative Health Department. Both programs are very high performing, graduating most of the students in each class class on time and close to 100 percent passing the licensure/certification exams.
The PTA program, which offers an associate degree in the field, has always been a popular choice. In the field of rehabilitation, it is one of the more prominent disciplines, encompassing physical rehabilitation for those with orthopedic, neurological, and cardiopulmonary diseases and injuries resulting from trauma, sports, and aging. Rouillier indicated that Occupational Therapy, which plays a critical role in the rehabilitation process, has seen a great deal of growth over the last several years. In the OTA program, which also graduates its students with associate degrees, students learn techniques to help clients with cognitive and sensory deficits to improve functional abilities. “The OTA Program includes a lot more training in fine motor skills like holding a pencil, holding a toothbrush, or making a sandwich,” she said. PTAs and OTAs often work together in the clinical environment.
The Therapeutic Massage program offers two options: an associate degree and a certificate program, taken over two and one years, respectively. CCRI offers the only associate degree for therapeutic massage in Rhode Island. Despite the preconceptions that some may hold about massage therapy existing solely in the realm of luxury spas, Rouillier said that the benefits of massage are being recognized in fitness and healthcare settings. CCRI’s programs, in particular, are more aligned with the traditional medical model, encompassing the benefits brought to patients “in terms of healing, relaxation, pain management, and emotional stability,” she said, noting that many students and massage therapists take advantage of advanced courses offered through CCRI in oncology and emergency response-focused massage.
The Opticianry program is the newest program in the department. Beginning in 2009, it was the first online program offered by the college, meaning that apart from hands-on clinical components common to all of the department’s programs, students were able to complete their coursework entirely remotely. Though the flexibility of the online learning model remains at the heart of the program, Rouillier was excited to report that a new opticianry lab, constructed last spring and opened this summer, adds another dimension to the student clinical experience. “Instead of going out to a clinic and watching other people, they can now come to our own lab and grind lenses and prepare eyeglasses as they would do if they were working in a lab,” she said. Opticianry students completing the program earn an associate degree.
Rouillier said that, overall, all of the programs in the department are focused on providing the workforce with healthcare providers with technical training. “CCRI is the best for technical training. We’ve had the most experience with it; and the faculty are all leaders in the field,” she said.
Regarding rehabilitative medicine in particular, meeting the workforce demand is critical if we are to respond to the concerns of an aging population. As people continue to live longer, more active lives, rehabilitative health providers in these fields are needed to allow these patients to restore function and independence to their lives. But younger populations are also in need of these services, said Rouillier, who pointed out that pediatric diagnoses—from autism spectrum to attention deficit disorder to delays in physical development—are also on the rise. “Students who graduate from these programs can provide a valuable service,” she said.
For more information about the open house and the department, call 401-851-1672 or visit www.ccri.edu/rehabhealth.