You’ve Been SpOTlighted

Stanton Swanson, MS, OTR/L, CAPS

Stanton Swanson with Amy Lamb, President, American Occupational Therapy Association at the GOTA conference in Jekyll Island

Where were you born and raised?
Atlanta, GA

What is your education background?
I attended Subiaco Academy for three years of high school. After high school, I received a Bachelor of Science in Philosophy in 2010, Bachelor of Science in Health Science with an emphasis in Occupational Therapy in 2012, and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2015 all from the University of Central Arkansas.

Any certifications, etc?
I am a Certified Age-in-Place Specialist (CAPS). This certification is offered through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and is recognized by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Any honors and/or awards?
I was the first Atlanta recipient of the “You Make a Difference” award given by the CEO of Brookdale Senior Living.

Brief job history:
I started my career in older adult outpatient therapy (Medicare Part B). Working in assisted living provided me a unique balance of mentorship and autonomy when learning about the home environment and Medicare documentation guidelines. Once I felt comfortable working in the assisted living environment and documenting for Medicare, I transitioned to the home care setting (Medicare Part A). I am currently a home health therapist who primarily works in the low resource areas of Atlanta, GA.

Professional Organization Involvement:
I am the Atlanta Region Chairperson for the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association (GOTA). I have the privilege of collaborating with members of GOTA to provide relevant organizational value in hopes of growing our presence on the state and national level. Because of the wonderful people I am able to work with, we have monthly regional meetings at Shepherd Center.

At the Atlanta United game!

Current job title and role:
I am a home health occupational therapist and I have started a business that focuses on skilled home care service quality.

What do you like about your job and being an occupational therapist?
I enjoy my job because it allows me to actively think about public health issues and to fully apply the tenets of the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process (3rd Edition). I also think the Occupational Therapy profession is distinctively positioned to be a leader in the emerging environment of value based healthcare.

Tell us about your research and your peer-reviewed publications/presentations.
I presented a poster on incorporating systems management theory in the home care setting at the most recent National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) Conference held in Grapevine, Texas.

I have also lectured on home health’s role in Parkinson’s disease process management at the Emory Brain Health Center.

Hobbies?
I enjoy being with my family, cycling, running, and thinking about ways to optimize home based healthcare!

Anything else you wish to share?
I am always interested in collaborating with others who are interested in healthcare quality and safety. I wish Dr. Mosley knew that she inspired me to be interested in older adult healthcare and public health.

Jessica Krug, MS, OTR/L

Jessica Krug with husband Brian and daughters Mattie and Sophie.

Born and raised:
I was born and raised in Batesville, Arkansas.

Education background:
I graduated from Batesville High School in 2004. Following graduation, I enrolled at the University of Central Arkansas, where I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Health Science in 2008 and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2010. I also graduated from the Arkansas College of Massage in 2006 and was licensed as a massage therapist until 2010.

Brief job history:
I entered the workforce providing occupational therapy services in various long-term care facilities in NEA. My oldest daughter, Sophie, completed chemotherapy treatments in 2010, just as I was beginning my career as an OT. My early experiences with her multidisciplinary team of therapists ultimately led me to shift my focus to pediatrics. I remember thinking, “I need to become the therapist I would want for my child,” and with that, a dream was born and a goal was set. I began my pediatric career in early intervention but ultimately found my calling to be school-based therapy.

Current job title and role:
I am currently employed by the Concord School District.

What do you like about your job and being an occupational therapist?
There is not much I don’t like about my job. I suppose I love the challenge, both personally and professionally. I want each of my students to leave school each day feeling confident in their abilities, inspired to challenge themselves, and most of all, I want them to feel included. I love being able to support the wonderful educators I work alongside while also encouraging them to think outside the box. I believe as an OT, I have the means to reach the unreached and provide hope to those who are struggling to find their way.

Hobbies:
I love the outdoors and living the tourist life, locally, with my husband, Brian, and daughters, Sophie (9) and Mattie (2). My family enjoys spending time on Greers Ferry Lake and the White River engaging in various water sports such as surfing, slalom skiing, and stand-up paddle boarding. As a coaches wife, I enjoy supporting our local athletic teams and watching baseball.

Anything else you wish to share?
My parents have always encouraged me to leave things better than I found them. I am thankful for a career that allows me the opportunity to do this on a daily basis. I can honestly say that I look forward to going to work each and every day.

I would also like to thank everyone who has supported and challenged me along the way. I have worked alongside some of the best.

Whitney Garrison, MS, OTR/L

Whitney Garrison, MS, OTR/L

Born and raised:
Lewisville, Arkansas

Education background:
Proud UCA Alum:
2006 Bachelors in Science with an emphasis in Occupational Therapy
2008 Master’s of Occupational Therapy

UCA campus involvement included: Delta Zeta sorority, Student Orientation staff, UCA Ambassador’s and The Bear’s Den.

Certifications, etc:
I have been able to participate in many professional education training and certifications including: Interactive Metronome, Kinesio Taping- Clinical Concepts and Advanced Taping Methods, Food Chaining methods for picky eaters, MNRI Dynamic and Postural Reflex Pattern Integration, Teaming up: Building Partnerships for Children with Autism in Arkansas, Constraint Induced Movement Therapy Training, Assistive Technology in Schools, Fieldwork Education Program Workshop, Vision’s Impact on Learning, Exploring Challenging Behaviors.

Honors and/or awards:
Marion Ross Outstanding Student Award: Awarded for the demonstration of professional commitment, integrity, leadership, and professional promise.
Arkansas Academic Fieldwork Education Council 2012-2014

Brief job history:
During my UCA OT fieldwork, I had the opportunity to complete a pediatric placement in Northwest Arkansas. Not only did I come away having fallen in love with working in pediatrics, but I also developed an affinity for the beauty of the Northwest Arkansas community itself.

As a licensed therapist, I enthusiastically accepted an opportunity to join Children’s Therapy TEAM. I was thrilled to have a chance to join a company considered by many to be the leading provider in Northwest Arkansas. It was a dream job for me and the Northwest Arkansas setting made the offer even sweeter. Now a decade later, I can say with confidence that it has been a wonderful journey filled with countless opportunities to meet amazing families and co-workers.

I have a strong passion for developing programs geared towards expanding opportunities for children with special needs. As the coordinator of a program called ‘TEAM Talent;’ I have seen first hand the positive impact that opportunities to access to the arts have on children.

In my role as Children’s Therapy TEAM’s OT Education Coordinator, I have been able to pursue another passion of mine. This passion is in guiding the future of our OT profession in my work with student practitioners. I love working with students! It has been a great honor to be part of building Children’s Therapy TEAM’s fieldwork program into a nationally recognized pediatric OT fieldwork site.

While I may have arrived at a point in my career when references to being a ‘veteran therapist’ fit, I’m still learning new things every day. I glean insights from each child I work with. Similarly, working with graduate students is an education for me as much as it is for the students. I’m grateful for being part of a profession and a company that fosters countless opportunities for me to learn and grow alongside those I’m serving.

Current job title and role:
Occupational Therapist and Fieldwork Education Coordinator

What do you like about your job and being an occupational therapist?
It is always so fun to see what people think an occupational therapist really is! Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote an overall healthy lifestyle, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. I can’t think of a more fulfilling daily opportunity than to help someone see their abilities in a world that sometimes focuses on their limitations. I am refreshed and encouraged personally and professionally everyday by some of the most amazing families and therapists. These people’s lives are the purest example of grit and determination to achieve some of life’s biggest rewards through hard work and dedication to success.

Research and peer-reviewed publications/presentations:
Research is critical to our profession in order to identify facts and new methods of treatment or ways of thinking. Research also helps us to educate and best advocate for our clients and their families. Every person is unique and my “bag of tricks” will not always translate person-to-person which really emphasizes our professions unique ability to provide current client-centered treatment in our ever evolving field.

Hobbies:
I love to spend time with my husband, Clay & kiddos: Avery (6) and twin boys Bentley and Brooks (2). I am a lover of anything that involves being outside and playing! When not participating in activities with my family, I also enjoy painting, sewing, fishing, dancing, photography, and cooking.

Anything else you wish to share?
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”- Maya Angelou

To get where you want to be in any profession takes luck, some great people, and a lot of hard work. I am thankful to have been surrounded by incredible mentors and students throughout my career that have helped support and challenge me to become the best person and occupational therapist I can become. I am blessed to do something that helps people, that also allows me to thrive with passion, compassion, and some fun along the way.

Jordan Mays, MS, OTR/L

Jordan and Travis Mays

Born and raised:
I’m an Air Force brat, so I was born in Anchorage, Alaska, lived in a couple other states before landing in Fayetteville, AR in 2000 until I came to UCA.

Education background:
Completed by Bachelor’s in Health Science at UCA in 2011 and my Master’s of Occupational Therapy at UCA in 2013.

Certifications, etc:
Not currently. I’d love to pursue my certified hand therapist designation once I have enough hours in outpatient.

Brief job history:
My first job was in inpatient rehabilitation at Unity Health in Searcy, AR. I worked there for 3 1/2 years before taking a job in acute care at Conway Regional. I eventually was floated over to outpatient to help cover some staffing changes and ended up really like outpatient! So, now I work in outpatient full time.

Current job title and role:
Outpatient occupational therapist

What do you like about your job and being an occupational therapist?
Building relationships with my patients and being able to celebrate their progress as they return to their daily tasks is what energizes me about being an occupational therapist. I love when they have that moment of realizing their able to do something they haven’t been able to for a while. Or when they’re finally pain free after suffering. Working in outpatient has been a fun new challenge and I find myself learning and growing as a therapist every day in ways I haven’t before.

Hobbies:
I love to spend time with my husband, Travis, and our two dogs, Penny and Chevy. I enjoy scouring flea markets and thrift stores, as well as any kind of crafting I can attempt. My husband and I have been renovating a 1970s house on 10 acres for most of the last year, so I enjoy seeing the progress on that as well as finding creative and thrifty ways to make it ours.

Anything else you wish to share?
Having observation and fieldwork students is one of my favorite parts of my job. I love being able to share my enthusiasm for OT and introduce them to a day-to-day look into our profession. Their excitement for their future re- energizes me in those times that I need encouragement.

Mandy Yelvington, MS, OTR/L, BCPR

Mandy Yelvington, MS, OTR/L, BCPR AOTA Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation Clinical Research Coordinator, Rehabilitation Services Department of Rehabilitation, Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Born and raised:
South Arkansas – a little town called Fountain Hill

Education background:
I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with internships at the North Little Rock VA, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. After working for several years, I decided to work towards my post-professional MS in OT at UCA.

Certifications, etc:
I currently have a board certification from AOTA in Physical Rehabilitation and specialty certifications in Research and am a Certified Traumatic Brain Injury Specialist.

Honors and/or awards:
In 2015 I received the “Care, Love and Hope” Award from Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I have been honored to be a part of a team that has twice been awarded my hospital’s “Teamwork Award”.  I am also thankful to have been nominated three times for the Cynthia B. Cole Outstanding Fieldwork Educator Award.

Brief job history:
I have devoted my entire career to working at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I have worked in every area and with every population at ACH. During my time here, I developed a deep love for working with the Burn Survivor population as well as a strong interest in research.

Current job title and role:
Clinical Research Coordinator for the Department of Rehabilitation and staff therapist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital

What do you like about your job and being an occupational therapist?
I have always asked the question “Why?” I have never been satisfied just knowing how to do something; I want to know the reasoning behind every theory or technique. There is no better way to answer the “Why?” question than evidence based practice. My current job allows me to remain active with patient care with the population I am passionate about (Burns) but still pursue my research interests and focus on evidence-based practice. I am fortunate to be able to serve on the American Burn Association’s Rehabilitation Committee which helps to influence the practice of OT throughout the country. I believe OT is a unique profession that allows us to directly impact the quality of life of every patient we work with. OT is not just about making someone better, it is about helping them return to a life that they are excited to live. This unique, person-centered perspective that my OT education and practice have helped me develop is a huge advantage in my work as an advocate for my patients and the profession as a whole.

Tell us about your research and your peer-reviewed publications/presentations.
I am interested in research on many topics but my most published or presented topic is burn scar management and prevention.  I have been published in the Journal of Burn Care and Research, Burns and in Pediatric Physical Therapy. I am author or co-author on 4 manuscripts currently in development or pre-publication. I have presented more than 10 platform presentations and over 20 posters at National and State Conferences and speak regularly as an invited lecturer on Burn Rehabilitation topics and on Research Education. I have been an invited speaker or leader at workshops dedicated to the progression of burn therapy knowledge.

I have multiple research projects currently in progress, including a multicenter trial related to burn contracture range of motion measurement and a facility-based project to improve therapist competency and consistently with the “tools of our trade”. My current manuscripts involve review and data analysis from a national database to answer questions related to disease progression and long-term follow-up needs.

Hobbies:
I am an avid photographer and enjoy yoga and paddleboarding in my free time. I love to travel and enjoy running and am involved in my church. I also volunteer with the Burn Survivor programs including Camp Sunshine for pediatric burn survivors, the Young Adult Retreat and the Arkansas SOAR Retreat for adult burn survivors.

Anything else you wish to share?
I am lucky enough to have had several great mentors throughout my life. From my family to OT faculty, fieldwork instructors, coworkers, physicians, nurses and multidisciplinary team members; many people have helped me develop the love I have for my profession and for my job. As much as I have learned from these people, I have learned just as much or more from every patient, family member or student I have ever had the chance to work with. They are what keep me not just coming back to my job every day, but looking forward to each new challenge and opportunity.

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