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John Patro graduating from AOTA Academic Leadership Institute

OTD Program Shines at AOTA Inspire 2024 Conference

Faculty and students representing Monmouth University’s Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) program presented their research at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Inspire 2024 Conference, which took place from March 21-23 in Orlando, Florida. According to John R. Patro, OTD, OTR/L, program chair and associate professor, the event marks a milestone for the OTD program, as it prepares to graduate its inaugural class in May.

Under the guidance of faculty members Denise Crowley, OTD, OTR/L, BCG; Alysson Goodwin, Ph.D., MBA, OTR/L; Gabrielle Hackenberg, OTD, MS, OTR/L; Nicole Halliwell, DSc., OTR/L; and Patro, the Monmouth OTD program was represented through four poster presentations and a short course presented by Hackenberg, Crowley, and Halliwell. According to Patro, the presentations highlighted the program’s dedication to providing innovative educational experiences in occupational therapy.

Two doctoral students, Cristianna Cardinale and Francesca Storino, also participated in the poster presentations, sharing their contributions and research findings with conference attendees. Patro said their involvement underscores the program’s emphasis on student-led research and its role in shaping the future of occupational therapy.

Patro also noted that third-year OTD student Joseph Napolitano, who was previously selected as one of only 30 students nationwide to participate in the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Institute for Future Scientists, was able to engage with leading researchers and thinkers in occupational therapy at the conference.

Additionally, OTD student Monica Cassella represented the University at the Assembly of Student Delegates and also served as an intern for the Special Interest Section. Patro said that her involvement in the roles demonstrated the breadth of opportunities Monmouth students have to engage with the broader occupational therapy community and contribute to shaping the future of the profession.

The conference also marked Patro’s graduation from the 2023-2024 AOTA Academic Leadership Institute. Each year, AOTA selects candidates with a proven track record of excellence, innovation, and dedication to advancing the field of occupational therapy for the program. According to Patro, the achievement highlights his commitment to leadership in the field of occupational therapy and enhancing the prestige and depth of Monmouth’s OTD program.

Patro described the AOTA Inspire 2024 Conference as an important platform for Monmouth’s OTD program to showcase its innovative approach to occupational therapy education, especially through its strong representation at the conference, through both faculty and student participation. “As the program looks forward to graduating its first class in May 2024, its impact on the profession is already being felt, signaling a bright future for its graduates and the field of occupational therapy at large,” Patro said.

Gabrielle Hackenberg, Denise Crowley and Nicole Halliwell moderating their short course
Nicole Halliwell, Francesca Storino, and John Patro presenting their poster
Patro and Halliwell presenting their poster
Janice P. Burke, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA and Neil Harvison, Ph.D., OTR, FNAP, FAOTA (Chief Knowledge Officer, AOTA) present Patro with his Academic Leadership Institute Diploma
Halliwell and OTD student Cristianna Cardinale presenting their poster
Halliwell, OTD student Francesca Storino, Crowley, and Hackenberg presenting their poster
OTD student Joseph Napolitano was inducted into the AOTF Institute for Future Scientists