Two doctoral students in the Occupational Therapy program at Belmont recently completed their residency projects, which together provided wheelchairs and professional support to children and their families in San Carlos, Mexico. Claire Grecco and Tara Harper completed complimentary projects under the academic advisement of Dr. Teresa Plummer, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, and with assistance from the faith-based charitable organization, Reach Out and Care Wheels (ROC Wheels), based in Bozeman, Montana.
For her project, Grecco piloted the creation of a local chapter of Youths Empowered with the Helper Spirit to Reach Out and Care at Ezell Harding Christian School in Nashville. Through the program, students learned about the international need for wheelchairs and helped raise money to provide wheelchairs for children in need.
Both Grecco and Harper travelled to Mexico to distribute five custom-fitted wheelchairs provided by ROC Wheels, capturing in photos and videos the children receiving the wheelchairs so they could share the experience with the students who helped raise the necessary funds.
Harper’s project was to create a caregiver education manual to support those who provide care to the children who were the recipients of the wheelchairs. The manual includes important health information regarding seating and mobility as well as how to maintain and adjust the pediatric wheelchair for growth.
While in San Carlos, Grecco and Harper also assisted local Mexican therapists in fitting over 60 adult and pediatric wheelchairs and provided education regarding their use to caregivers.
Doctoral candidates in occupational therapy each design a culminating project which requires 640 hours to advance their skills in the areas of clinical practice, research, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education and/or theory development.