Assistive Technology Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program
The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital Assistive Technology Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program is dedicated to advancing the knowledge and skills of an occupational therapy practitioner pursuing specialty certification in the area of assistive technology.
Why choose our fellowship program?
The Assistive Technology Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program will expose the fellow to targeted clinical environments that align with the areas of practice covered on assistive technology specialty certification. The majority of the fellow’s experience will be spent with the primary mentor in the Occupational Therapy Assistive Technology clinic. There will also be several, shorter observational interdisciplinary rotations throughout the year in a variety of specialized settings including driver training/rehabilitation, seating & mobility, adaptive sports, speech/ language assistive technology, and SCI homecare/telehealth. During the interdisciplinary rotations, the fellow will focus on advancing knowledge in that specialized area. Higher level clinical performance and reasoning skills will also be addressed during the experience through ongoing mentorship from the primary occupational therapy mentor. Curriculum specific to OT service delivery will promote advanced practice though experiential activities, clinical caseload assignments, and targeted mentorship.. Reflective learning assignments and purposeful mentorship sessions will support the program’s teaching/learning philosophy.
We believe in the development of occupational therapists into highly skilled practitioners through exposure to educational processes with a balance between didactic/academic and experiential/clinical environments.
To provide occupational therapists with the knowledge and abilities to progress their clinical and professional skills in assistive technology occupational therapy in order to become an advanced practitioners by:
- Using evidence-based practice when evaluating and providing interventions
- Effectively evaluating the outcomes of services delivered
- Participating in scholarly activities/opportunities
- Engaging in collaborative inter-professional and cross sectoral partnerships
- Increasing awareness of the unique occupational needs of veterans and active duty Service Members.
Clinical training consists of managing a diverse caseload of patients with assistive technology needs and one-on-one mentoring sessions with highly experienced clinical staff.. Fellows will have opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary patient rounds, journal clubs, staff in-service presentations, and assistive technology device reviews.
The JAHVH Assistive Technology Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program will focus on the fellow’s development of knowledge, competency, and advanced practice skills in the following core areas:
- Advanced Knowledge
- Reasoning and Performance Skills
- Ethical Practice
- Interpersonal Skills
- Scholarly and/or Professional Activities
Goals of the Program
To educate and train a post professional Occupational Therapy graduates to:
1. Meet the needs of veterans and active duty Service Members by becoming advanced OT practitioners in the area of assistive technology OT.
2. Demonstrate the use of evidence-based outcome measures and advanced clinical reasoning skills by critically assessing and appraising the current literature to guide evaluation and plan of care development that facilitates occupational participation.
3. Demonstrate understanding of the 2020 AOTA ethical principles and specialty specific ethical standards, and their implication into practice.
4. Demonstrate the ability to access and establish collaborative partnerships with stakeholders to maximize the occupational participation of clients.
5. Participate in scholarly activities such as a quality improvement project and case study development/presentation, that promote lifelong learning.
6. Exhibit the highest standards of professionalism.
Program Co-Coordinator/Director: Katherine Litman, MOT, OTR/L
Program Co-Coordinator and Primary Mentor: Ursula Draper, OTR/L, ATP,
Program Mentor: Brighid Rebolledo, OTD, OTR/L
*This program is currently under “provisional” approval status with AOTA for the next two years, pending an in-person site visit.
** Health Professions Trainees (HPTs) are appointed as temporary employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, HPTs are subject to laws, policies, and guidelines posted for VA staff members. There are infrequent times in which this guidance can change during a training year which may create new requirements or responsibilities for HPTs. If employment requirements change during the course of a training year, HPTs will be notified of the change and impact as soon as possible and options provided. The VA Training Director for your profession will provide you with the information you need to understand the requirement and reasons for the requirement in timely manner.
How to Apply
How to apply:
To apply please email Katherine.Litman@va.gov the following documents by April 30th
- Completed Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program Application (see link below)
- One-page essay explaining why a fellowship is important to you and why you chose the VA as a fellowship site
- Two letters of reference (may be included in your electronic application submission and do not need to be sent separately)
Copy of Valid OT license (temporary licenses not accepted) and NBCOT certificate OR proof of expected graduation date and proof of confirmed/scheduled NBCOT testing date that will allow for results to be received prior to June 30th.
Fellows are employed full-time by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital for the year-long program. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen that are a graduate of an ACOTE accredited occupational therapy (OT) program and possess a current OT license (any state)/certification prior to the program start date.
Applicants should be AOTA members and be committed to pursuing Board or Specialty Certification in the specialized area of practice.
The Fellowship will be a paid position and the fellow will be eligible for health benefits, earn annual leave and sick leave, and have paid federal holidays. There are no tuition fees associated with this fellowship.
Interviews will be conducted during the month of May. The Fellowship Program is scheduled to start in late August and end one year later.
Download the informational brochure below.
Download an Occupational Therapy Fellowship Application
See Frequently Asked Questions below.
FAQ’s about JAHVH Fellowship Experiences
- Why should I do a fellowship rather than just find a job I’m interested in?
A fellowship will provide post-professional training in a specialized area of practice. Participation in a fellowship will give the fellow specific experience and allow him/her to gain confidence delivering specialized OT services. It will combine didactic curriculum, mentorship, and clinical practice in the specialty area in order to progress the fellow towards becoming an advanced-level clinician. This can increase professional marketability in the future.
- What experience is needed to apply for a fellowship?
No experience is needed. Experience will be gained through participation in the fellowship program. Applicants should have strong interest in the program’s specialty area and plan on applying for board or specialty certification after completion of the program .
- Can I apply for more than one occupational therapy fellowship program at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital?
No, applicants are only allowed to apply to one program per year. We encourage applicants to reflect on which program aligns most closely with his/her/their professional interests and goals and apply only to that program. Applicants can re-apply for the same program or apply to a different program the following year, if they were not selected when they previously applied.
- Do I have to be a new grad to apply for a fellowship?
No. Any licensed occupational therapist can apply for a fellowship experience. While some applicants are newly licensed OTs, others have some basic experience, or are wanting to change practice areas. Most fellows typically have 0-5 years of experience.
- What if my license is in another state?
The specific state you are licensed in does not matter as long as you meet criteria to apply.
- What happens after the year-long fellowship?
The fellow will be considered an experienced clinician in that specialty practice area. This will help when applying for jobs in a specialized practice area that requires experience. The fellow will also be eligible to apply for AOTA Board Certification after 2 years of practice rather than the 3 years that is required for non-fellowship participants.
- Can I apply if I am not yet licensed or have not graduated OT school?
If you are not already licensed, you will need to have a license before you are able to begin the fellowship experience. You do not need to have a license to apply for the fellowship experience, however, you must have proof of confirmed/scheduled NBCOT testing date that will allow for the test results to be received prior to June 30th. If selected, acceptance will be contingent upon obtaining a license (temporary license not accepted).
- Will the fellow get a salary/benefits during the fellowship experience?
Yes, the fellow will receive a stipend and health benefits, as well as, accrue paid time off and have paid federal holidays. The fellow’s base pay is $47,061 and including the employer share of FICA and benefits the total to the occupational therapy fellow is $55,305. The fellow’s pay is not negotiable.
- Will the didactic work required for the fellowship be completed while at work or in the evenings/weekends after the work day?
There is time built into the fellow’s weekly schedule to complete didactic work. However, there may be work that must be completed outside of regular working hours.
- Is housing provided?
No, housing is not provided We will gladly provide information about the surrounding areas, if requested, however, fellows are responsible for finding their own housing.
- What population will the fellow be working with?
The fellow will be working with a mix of active duty service members and veterans with a variety of differing diagnoses. All clients will have assistive technology needs. Ages of the population generally range from 20-80 and the primary diagnosis will be ALS and SCI. Other diagnosis may include Polytrauma, Parkinson, TBI, CVA, and amputations.
- What will the fellow be doing with the clients?
In the Occupational Therapy Assistive Technology Clinic, the fellow will primarily provide individual treatments, to include evaluation. ordering, issuing, and training of equipment. Initial evaluations will consist of computer access, EADL’s, emergency call systems, mounting, access to communication devices. Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary collaboration to meet clients’ AT needs.
The fellow will also be exposed to many other areas of Assistive Technology through observation of other interdisciplinary team members. These areas include seating and mobility, adapted sports, drivers rehabilitation, home/community, and augmentative and alternative communication.