New scholarship supports OT, PT students
By Mina Radman
A Florida non-profit organization’s generosity will help University of Florida students achieve their dreams.
The College of Public Health and Health Professions has received a generous gift from Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services to establish an endowed scholarship for physical therapy and occupational therapy students.
The Florida Elks provide in-home therapy services to children who may not be able to access similar services elsewhere. For more than 12 years, the charity has provided OT and PT students with pediatric and in-home therapy internships. The association’s therapists also have turned to UF professors for help with difficult cases and educational training.
“I thought the scholarship was a great way to extend the relationship we have,” said Ben Brown, program administrator for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. “We get the satisfaction of knowing this endowment will assist a student. We’re very proud to be associated with a great institution like UF and impact a student’s life and career.”
Joanne Foss, Ph.D., the program director of the master’s in occupational therapy program and an associate dean for the College of Public Health and Health Professions, said the scholarship is the latest way the Elks have helped UF students. Last fall, the Elks program funded a home-makeover project created by Lindsey Dhans, a master’s in occupational therapy student. Titled “Project Accessibility,” Dhans and several other OT students made a local family’s home wheelchair-accessible. With the help of a local contractor and a master’s student from the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning, they expanded the hallway so the wheelchair could fit through and added a ramp outside the driveway to make the family’s mobility easier.
“I would like to see more of our students work in the type of therapy and services they provide,” Foss said. “The Elks provide students with opportunities that don’t come up very often.”
She said the scholarship helps attract students to the programs because the university can provide greater financial support.
“There are programs that are able to offer full scholarships and, because we’re a public university that’s not easy for us to do,” Foss said. “I definitely think this will help make the University of Florida more attractive.”