East Tennessee State University has kicked off a $4 million renovation project that will transform 14,000 square feet of space into a state-of-the-art physical rehabilitative sciences hub for the university’s new Master of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics (MSOP) program and the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program.
The programs will be housed on the first floor of Charles Allen Hall (Building 2) on the VA campus. Currently, Building 2 is home to ETSU’s Physical Therapy Program, located on the second floor. The addition of the two new programs will create an interprofessional learning environment for students in these three rehabilitative sciences programs.
University leaders, faculty, and students gathered to celebrate the start of the renovations, which began this month and are expected to be completed by late spring 2022, in time for the inaugural cohorts of students to begin their programs of study in May 2022.
“This summer, we officially began accepting applications for our new orthotics and prosthetics and occupational therapy programs,” said Dr. Don Samples, dean of the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences. “New and exciting initiatives like these require dedicated, state-of-the-art space for them to flourish. This renovation will give our faculty, students and staff the clinical, lab, and educational space they need to grow these in-demand programs.”
Building 2 was a natural location for occupational therapy and orthotics and prosthetics. Named in honor of the late Dr. Charles Ed Allen, a prominent Johnson City physician who dedicated many years to leading the effort to bring a medical school to Johnson City and to ETSU, Building 2 has served as the home of the Physical Therapy since 1996.
“These three programs will bring so much to our region individually. However, I am most excited about what it means to bring them together here, under one roof,” said Dr. Jeff Snodgrass, chair of the Department of Rehabilitative Sciences. “With our proximity to ETSU’s InterprofessionalEducation and Research Center at Bishop Hall, Quillen College of Medicine, Gatton College of Pharmacy, and the VA, we are literally surrounded by opportunities for interprofessional education to prepare health care professionals who are truly prepared for team-based care.”
ETSU’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) will prepare graduates as generalists to help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
The Master of Science (M.S.) in Orthotics and Prosthetics will prepare graduates for this specialized health care profession that combines a unique blend of clinical abilities, technical design and the integration of material and computer technologies as a therapeutic treatment for patients who have neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders and/or clients who have partial or total absence of a limb.