OTD Residency: Turning a One-Time Project into a Lasting Impact

Occupational therapists have many opportunities after their courses and this was one exciting option for Martin.

By: Bailey Gerber & Jake Hreha

When Hailey Martin enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program, she never expected to add “entrepreneur” to her résumé – but her residency experience is shaping her into exactly that. The occupational therapy program prepared Martin with the knowledge and experience she needs to be successful. What she did not expect was to take on a role that went beyond her occupational therapy education. Occupational therapists have many opportunities after their courses and this was one exciting option for Martin.

Above & Beyond Her Doctorate Occupational Therapy Courses

“We have a pediatric occupational therapist in our faculty who’s always wanted to offer pro bono services,” says Martin. “It wasn’t doable for her to balance a clinic with her workload, but she thought it would be a great residency project for someone to start.”

Grant County’s first pro bono occupational therapy clinic opened in the summer of 2021, with Austin Thompson (’21)building the groundwork, getting the word out, and running treatment sessions for her residency program. When she graduated that fall, the door opened for someone else to pick up the torch – but Martin didn’t think it was going to be her.

“I’m originally from Cincinnati, so I thought I wanted to do my residency closer to home,” Martin says. “But Dr. Timmons, our residency coordinator, mentioned a need for someone to continue the pro bono clinic – so I asked her what it would look like if I did it, and we developed my project from there.”

The clinic offers a valuable opportunity to begin occupational therapy practice for doctoral students. An occupational therapist administered pro bono clinic also provides benefits for the community. The occupational therapy practitioners that work in the clinic are grateful to be working toward their occupational therapy doctorate degree while helping the community.

(An occupational therapist works with a patient.)

Moving Forward as an Entrepreneur and Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Now, as Martin leads the clinic into its second year, she has one goal: sustainability. “Austin got the word out and built a good foundation for us, and now I want to turn this into more than just a residency program,” says Martin. “We want this to be a dependable resource for the people of Grant County, so we need to build an organizational structure that allows it to continue even outside of a residency.”

While many students prepare for the national certification examination, Martin takes a different approach to her education. A generous and forward thinking approach. The American Occupational Therapy Association states that occupational therapy enables people of all ages to participate in daily living. Martin has taken this to heart and understands there are groups of people needing support who may not have the same opportunities as others. This program has helped develop Martin in health sciences, been a large step in her successful completion of the doctorate program, and has demonstrated her professional development in many areas.

To find support and get ideas for building a successful business model, Martin has attended various conferences and visited area pro bono clinics to evaluate their processes. She recently visited a student-led clinic in Indianapolis, where students studying a health-related discipline, such as physical therapy or social work, provide care for low-income, underserved populations. First-year students learn under second-year students in a cyclical format, enabling the clinic to operate sustainably.

In addition to her research, Martin is also the sole care provider for the pro bono clinic. With Dr. Timmons as her supervising OT, Martin does evaluations, assessments, care plans, and scheduling. She runs her sessions weekly out of the Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing on IWU-Marion’s campus. Austin Thompson, the clinic’s founder, had a pediatric focus, but Martin wants to widen the reach of the clinic to “anyone and everyone.”

As she prepares for graduation in the coming months, Martin hopes to use her residency to equip the pro bono clinic to thrive as a student-run non-profit organization. “I’m so excited to get more students on board,” she says. “I’ve met with them, and I’ve had one student come shadow me. I really want to see this continue beyond my residency. I think it could turn into something really exciting for Grant County.”

The clinic is open every Wednesday by appointment only. To learn more, reach out to Hailey Martin via email or visit the clinic’s official Facebook page.

Bailey Gerber

Content Creator, IWU-National and Global

Bailey Gerber is a vocabulary geek and grammar enthusiast at IWU – National and Global, so she spends most of her time reviewing webpages, video scripts, flyers, and – of course – blog articles. She loves all things involving words, and in her spare time you’ll find her buried in a book (probably with a cup of coffee in hand).

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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Celebrating the Achievement of Occupational Therapy Doctorate Graduates

Indiana Wesleyan University Celebrates the Achievements of Occupational Therapy Doctorate Graduates

Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) is proud to announce recent accomplishments of three occupational therapy doctorate program graduates, highlighting their impactful capstone projects and contributions to the field of occupational therapy. Under the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Rachel Timmons, Doctoral Capstone Coordinator and various faculty mentors, these graduates have demonstrated