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Head and shoulders image of a OTD Program Director John Patro

National Public Health Award for OTD Program Chair John Patro

John R. Patro Jr., OTD, OTR/L, associate professor and chair of the recently established Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program in the Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies, was part of the team that was named winner of the 2020 Public Health Excellence in Interprofessional Education Collaboration Award.

The national award, which was established by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), is presented annually to an interprofessional team of health professional students and/or faculty to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding multidisciplinary efforts to impact community health.

Patro’s team was recognized for their work on medical outreach trips to Jamaica and Guatemala organized through the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, with outcomes chronicled in their IPEC entry, “An Interprofessional Approach to International Outreach Experiences.”

“International service has always been a passion of mine since experiencing my first outreach trip as an undergraduate student,” Patro said. “It was my honor to bring together pharmacy and occupational therapy students to collaborate on a unique interprofessional outreach trip that resulted in the first offering of occupational therapy services to the community we served in Guatemala. I look forward to bringing such trips to Monmouth as I begin to build the new OTD program.”

In addition to Patro, the winning team included Jennifer N. Smith, PharmD, BCPS, University of the Sciences Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and Luzan Phillpotts, DO, MPH, Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine. The team will present the results of their collaborative efforts to IPEC members at a webinar in November.

“During these unprecedented and challenging times, the importance of collaboration across professional lines is critical now more than ever,” said Deborah E. Trautman, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, IPEC board chair, and president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “IPEC and USPHS commend the

faculty and students from University of the Sciences, Nova Southeastern University, and Monmouth University for the impact they are having on advancing global health. Their outreach experiences to Jamaica and Guatemala serve as a model for transformative and sustainable international partnerships that are important to improving public health outcomes.”

Patro has extensive experience both as program director and teaching faculty of OT programs in New York and Philadelphia, in addition to clinical experience working in the rehab setting and rehab administration. His work in occupational engagement and leadership in occupational therapy has been presented at numerus national and international conferences, including the American Occupational Therapy Association and World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Patro earned his OTD from Chatham University and his B.S. and M.S. in Occupational Therapy from The University of Scranton. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Philosophy in Education from Lesley University with a concentration in Adult Learning and Development.

About the Interprofessional Education Collaborative

IPEC’s mission is to ensure that new and current health professionals are proficient in the competencies essential for patient-centered, community- and population-oriented, interprofessional, collaborative practice. Eligible institutional members must be associations that represent and serve academic units at institutions of higher education that provide an educational program leading to the award of one or more academic degrees to students in one or more of the health professions that provide direct care to patients. For more information about IPEC, visit