Pilot project addresses Alaska's health provider shortage

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

The University of Alaska Anchorage College of Health & Social Welfare and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska are coming together to launch a distance-learning program aimed at addressing Alaska's critical shortage of occupational therapists. The inaugural group of eight students will gather at UAA for the first time on Monday, Aug. 11 for a four-day orientation with faculty, staff and advisers. Students will be issued white lab coats at a Professionalism Ceremony and Reception on Tuesday, Aug. 12 to celebrate the beginning of their nine-semester journey to doctoral degrees in occupational therapy.

In Alaska, students must attend out-of-state schools to earn degrees in occupational therapy, physical therapy or pharmacy. Many students leave Alaska in search of these programs and oftentimes don't return. This program addresses the lack of these specialized opportunities in hopes of keeping more graduates in Alaska, and also allows the University to be more responsive to Alaska's health care needs.

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