Clinical Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy (CHHS) ~ Uganda
As Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and member of the International Committee for the Occupational Therapy Department, I was awarded a Global Education Center faculty international development grant. I had the opportunity to travel to Uganda in March 2017 with the primary focus of exploring international fieldwork with Hope of Children and Women (HOCW), a non-profit organization that provides support and new opportunities to refugees who have fled their homes due to hardships they have endured. During my visit to Uganda, I was also able to visit various medical, social and educational institutions including Mulago Hospital, Occupational Therapy School, Institute of Allied Health and Management Services-Mulago, Uganda Association of Occupational Therapists, Zanta Clinic and Sense International.
During my stay at HOCW, I met with Bolingo Ntahira, Executive Director, his staff and volunteers to develop a better sense of their culture, current programming and community needs. I observed various programs and services including tailoring, hairdressing, English classes, agriculture, computer training, business training, day care, home visits and youth sports such as soccer and dancing. Through individual and group meetings, I was able to develop a deeper understanding of the community; provided education on the role of occupational therapy; and worked collaboratively with staff and volunteers to identify areas of need that could serve as future student projects.
In addition, I met with several influential occupational therapists in Uganda including, Kalanda Emmanuel, Secretary of Uganda Association of Occupational Therapist, Odoch Richard, Treasurer of Uganda Association of Occupational Therapist, and Ekwan Francis, President of Uganda Association of Occupational Therapist, Andrew Mubangizi, Head master of the Occupational Therapy Program in Kampala, Uganda and Nalbuega Claire, OT with Zanta Clinic and Sense International. During these initial meetings, the possibility of fieldwork students was discussed as well as other opportunities for enhancing faculty and student learning through various educational activities potentially in person or via tele-education. Many of them will be attending WFOT at Cape Town and I am hoping UNH faculty who will also be in attendance will continue conversations with these individuals regarding future partnerships.
Numerous opportunities for clinical education, research or service learning activities for occupational therapy students and faculty exist in Uganda through the various medical, social and educational institutions that were visited. Potential collaboration may exist for other departments in College of Health and Human Services, but also with other UNH colleges including College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and College of Liberal Arts. Since returning home, I’ve maintained connections with many of the individuals in Uganda and two recent OT graduates are interested in embarking on a 4-week service-learning trip which will help strengthen our relationships for future students and faculty.
Thank you to Global Education Center for making this possible!