The University of Southern California (USC) is a privately funded university located across 2 campuses in central Los Angeles. Occupational Therapists (OTs) have been educated here since 1942 and many of the profession’s famous names are alumni e.g.Mary Reilly and Gary Kielhofner.
Mission and Vision
‘The mission of the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is to maximize the potential of people to construct healthy, satisfying and productive lives by generating knowledge of value to society, advancing the profession and educating generations of practitioners, researchers and leaders.
We envision the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy as a hub of innovation and leadership where we study participation in daily activities defined in the discipline as “occupation” and its relationship to healthy living over the lifespan. We aim to establish occupation as an essential component in health and well-being. We promote this perspective by educating a global community of researchers and practitioners and advancing practice models about occupation that are science-driven and address health and societal needs.’
(Division website at http://ot.usc.edu/)
In addition to the two University owned hospitals, close links are maintained with clinical partners at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Centre, Children’s Hospital and others. A global network of contacts including Ghana, Hong Kong & Romania is well established.
There are 3 main ‘arms’ of the Division’s work:
· Research- the Division is currently operating with a research ‘portfolio’ of over $8 million. The studies in progress have potentially powerful implications for OT practice and range from community based lifestyle interventions to neuro-imaging following stroke to improve rehabilitation methods. Numerous peer reviewed publications have contributed to the aim of generating ‘rigorous science with clinical relevance’
· Clinical Practice/Care Services- clinical OT staff work within the USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice and Keck Medical Center at USC Hospital. Lifestyle Redesign® forms the basis for the Faculty Practice programmes. In addition to meeting patient needs, the clinical practitioners are closely involved with the teaching and research ‘arms’.
· Training/Education- the entry-level Masters programme has recently been remodeled and includes foundations and essential core studies, practice ‘immersions’ (Paediatrics, Mental Health & Adult Physical Rehabilitation/Geriatrics), academic fieldwork, leadership development and specialty focused elective placements.
During my visit I had the opportunity for involvement in all three areas and was able to gain an appreciation of how closely interwoven they are and how Lifestyle Redesign® is applied in many different situations.
The opportunity to have this in depth experience was made possible by a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust travel award (more about this when we reach W). The purpose of my visit was to investigate how Lifestyle Redesign® could be used to improve the hospital/home interface for older people. This blog began as a record of my experiences during the visit and now continues as a reflection and record of progress since my return to the UK.