Texas AgrAbility Highlighted at American Occupational Therapy Association Conference

Occupational Therapy doctoral students have collaborated with Texas AgrAbility to address the issue of limited continuing education and resources for rural health practitioners working with the agriculture population. Meghan Skidmore, OTD OTR/L and Maggie Mencer, OTD OTR/L served with Texas AgrAbility as interns during their capstone projects. During their time as interns, Dr. Skidmore and Dr. Mencer received hands-on experience working with farmers and ranchers with disabilities. They each traveled to farms of individuals with various types of disabilities to conduct farm and ranch assessments and provide recommendations related to ergonomics, lifting, and task modification.

Dr. Skidmore, Dr. Mencer, and Dr. Mary Smith, their OTD advisor, were selected to present their work at the American Occupational Therapy Association conference in Kansas City, Missouri. This event is the premiere occupational therapy conference in the nation where thousands of occupational therapists around the country meet to gain resources and continuing education.

Dr. Mencer, Dr. Skidmore, and Dr. Smith presented their project and research findings which included creating and evaluating a course for Occupational Therapists and rural health practitioners to better serve farmers and ranchers with a disability.  Modules cover assessment, agriculture tasks, hazard safety, common conditions, ergonomics, assistive technology, modifications, and resources. Six occupational therapy continuing education hours are offered through the Texas Occupational Therapy Association for completion of the course. Dr. Skidmore developed the course objectives and content with input from Dr. Mary Smith and the Texas AgrAbility staff, while Dr. Mencer evaluated the effectiveness of the training. Thirty-nine occupational therapists and rural health practitioners have enrolled in the course since 2021. Results show that individuals who have completed the course increased their knowledge 31.5%.

For more information about the course and how to enroll, visit click here



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