2014 Serving the Community

Improving the quality of life

Anjali Nigam and Sarah Kay Hendred, both graduate students in the Program in Occupational Therapy at the School of Medicine, have volunteered their skills to help people from other countries improve their quality of life.

Sarah Kay Hendred

Sarah Kay Hendred, who will receive her master’s degree in occupational therapy, sits with children from Friendship Village in Hanoi, Vietnam, where she volunteered.

Anjali Nigam

Anjali Nigam, who will receive her doctorate in occupational therapy, stands outside the Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center in Chicago, where she worked with refugees and survivors of torture.

What did your volunteer work involve?

Nigam: I completed fieldwork at the Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center (pictured above right) where I worked with survivors of torture from around the world, most of whom are seeking or have received asylum in the United States.

Hendred: I designed activities that allowed children to work on their deficit areas, such as variations of catch to work on gross-motor coordination or Play-Doh to improve fine-motor coordination (pictured above left). To work on cognition and memory, we did puzzles or played card-matching games.

How do you think this experience will shape your future plans?

Nigam: After that experience, I chose to devote much of my third year to developing my practice model — a framework that guides interaction with a specific population — for occupational therapists working with survivors of torture. I intend to implement my practice model during my apprenticeship with the Center for Survivors of Torture in San Jose, Calif., this fall.

Hendred: This trip reaffirmed my desire to practice OT in other countries one day and gave me much needed confidence going into my first Level II fieldwork experience, an occupational therapist’s version of clinical rotations.

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