Collaborative learning and teaching was the theme of the day when occupational therapy and physician assistant students from Quinnipiac University conducted an oral/dental health education program with a preschool class of 3- and 4-year-olds from the M.L. Keefe Community Center in Hamden on Oct. 7.
“This was a great interprofessional experience,” said Tracy Van Oss, clinical associate professor of occupational therapy. “In the School of Health Sciences, we try to give students as many opportunities as we can to work with peers from other health science programs. These kinds of interprofessional programs let students learn and work with each other and make new friends.”
The children began the day at Quinnipiac’s North Haven Campus. The occupational therapy students spent the morning evaluating the children, which gave them the chance to learn in a hands-on environment what a 3- and 4-year-old can do developmentally.
During the afternoon, physician assistant students joined their peers at the Keefe Community Center. The students engaged the children in fun, activity-based programs designed to teach proper dental hygiene and oral health. The children learned about taking care of their teeth, cavities, flossing and more.
In the past, the physician assistant program has conducted similar oral health programs with children as a community service, but this was the first time that occupational therapy and physician assistant students worked collaboratively on the program.
“Health science students will work in health care teams in the future so learning about other health care professions now is imperative,” Van Oss said.
The occupational therapy students who participated were: Matt Bolton, of Hamden; Laura Cataldo, of Melrose, Mass.; Rachael Chiulli, of Middlebury; Carly Gamer, of Glastonbury; Peiluen Kuo, of Overland Park, Kan.; Kelly Meara, of New City, N.Y.; and Kerrin Walsh, of Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
The physician assistant students were: Kerin Berger, of Hamden; Eric Black, of Haddon Heights, N.J.; Chelsea Byrd, of Warwick, R.I.; Arielle Curzman, of Branchburg, N.J.; Patrick Duffy, of Somers; Ian Gillman, of Hamden; Haleh Golafshani, of Stamford; Bethany Hrica, of Middletown; Kathleen Kelley, of Branford; Tim Lincoln, of Berlin; Matt Masiello, of Massapequa, N.Y.; Liz Murray, of Shrewsbury, Mass.; and Meghan Sprague, of North Yarmouth, Maine.
Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 6,400 full-time undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students in 58 undergraduate and more than 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business and Engineering, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac consistently ranks among the top regional universities in the North in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges issue. The 2014 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges named Quinnipiac as the top up-and-coming school with master’s programs in the Northern Region. Quinnipiac also is recognized in Princeton Review’s “The Best 377 Colleges.” The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Quinnipiac among the “Great Colleges to Work For.” For more information, please visit www.quinnipiac.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Facebook at www.facebook.com/quinnipiacuniversity and follow Quinnipiac on Twitter @QuinnipiacU.