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Master of Occupational Therapy Program to Expand to Meridian

February 25, 2021

Idaho State University is expanding its Master of Occupational Therapy program to its Meridian campus in Fall 2022, and has recently welcomed a new program director.  
 
The expansion has been planned since the Doctor of Physical Therapy program expanded to Meridian in 2018. Idaho State included plans for the Master of Occupational Therapy program to expand there as well, ensuring a full kitchen, driving simulator, overhead track system, and more were installed in preparation. All classrooms will also be equipped with distance learning equipment.
 
“We have great staff, strong and experienced faculty, an enthusiastic new director, and excellent support from the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences and Kasiska Division of Health Sciences at ISU,” said Carla Green, administrative assistant for the Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy. “Our next steps are to find new faculty to join our team and begin enrolling students.”
 
Dr. Barbara Kornblau was named the director of the Master of Occupational Therapy program in August.  Kornblau is an attorney, an occupational therapist, a certified case manager, a certified disability management specialist, and a person with a disability.
 
Kornblau is a former Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in the U.S. Senate, where she worked on disability issues. She is a past president of the American Occupational Therapy Association and a past chair of the AOTA Commission on Standards and Ethics. She is the current Advocacy and Policy Coordinator of AOTA’s Rehabilitation and Disability Special Interest Section.
 
Kornblau says that, even with the unique challenges of the pandemic, progress continues to be made in the education of occupational therapists. She is currently revising the third edition of her ethics textbook, as The American Occupational Therapy Association revised its Code of Ethics.
 
The expansion of this program comes just as the Master of Occupational Therapy program is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021. As the program has continued to grow, it has helped provide the community with greater access to occupational therapists across Idaho, and the expansion will continue that growth.
 
“From children with learning-related needs in the schools to older adults who want to stay in their homes to live independently as long as possible, all will have more access to highly trained, highly competent occupational therapy professionals,” Kornblau said.
 
While starting any new program can be daunting, Kornblau and the rest of the faculty and staff are prepared and excited to meet the challenges head-on. 
 
“Our students graduate prepared to be independent occupational therapists, who can meet the unique needs of Idaho's population, from rural to urban,” Kornblau said.
 
The program will start in the Fall 2022 semester with 20 students. The program will hire a faculty member in the spring of 2021, a second in the fall, and a third in 2022 to have a strong presence by the time students arrive on campus. 
 
As there is strong competition to get into the program, successful candidates will have strong GPAs and GRE scores, among other attributes. In general, students should be highly motivated, independent learners, comfortable with technology, and ready to assume the professional responsibility of serving the public as occupational therapists.
 
“Students that meet or exceed all of our admissions criteria by our priority deadline have the best chance of being offered a seat at one of our campuses,” Green said. “We receive many applications that don’t meet our requirements, and those candidates, unfortunately, will not be considered.”
 
The Master of Occupational Therapy program has a record of 100 percent job placement, and class sizes are usually smaller, enabling more hands-on learning.