Neurorehabilitation Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program
The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital Neurorehabilitation Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program is dedicated to advancing the knowledge and skills of an occupational therapy practitioner pursuing a Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation.
Why choose our fellowship program?
The Neurorehabilitation Occupational Therapy fellowship program at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital includes experiences in the Polytrauma Inpatient Rehabilitation Program, the Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitations Program, the Spinal Cord Injury Inpatient Rehabilitation Program, and the Spinal Cord Injury Home Care/ Outpatient Program. These settings hold CARF accreditation for a diverse group of programs including, Brain Injury Specialty Program Inpatient, Post-Deployment Rehabilitation and Evaluation Program, Brain Injury Specialty Program Outpatient, Brain Injury Specialty Residential Rehabilitation Programs, Assistive Technology Supports/Services, SCI Acute Inpatient Rehab, SCI Outpatient Rehab, and SCI Home Care. This provides the fellow with a unique opportunity to learn from experienced mentors in an exciting and challenging environment that is held to the highest standards of accreditation in the nation. The fellow will work directly with on-site faculty with designations of Assistive Technology Professional and Certified Brain Injury Specialist, with many years of experience.
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 advance their skills in the practice area of physical rehabilitation to become an advanced practitioner in this practice setting by:
- Using evidence-based practice when evaluating and providing interventions to clients
- Effectively evaluating the outcomes of services delivered
- The use of 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 caseload of patients with neurological involvement and one-on-one mentoring sessions with highly experienced clinical staff. Fellows may have opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary patient rounds, journal clubs, staff in-service presentations, national work groups, and mentoring OT masters/doctoral students.
The JAHVH Neurorehabilitation Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program will focus on the fellow’s development of knowledge, competency, and advanced practice skills in the following core elements:
- Advanced Knowledge
- Interpersonal Skills
- Ethical Practice
- Scholarly Practice
Goals of the Program
To educate and train a post professional Occupational Therapy graduate to:
1. Meet the rehabilitation needs of veterans and active-duty service members by becoming advanced practitioners of Physical Rehabilitation OT.
2. Critically assess and appraise the current literature, integrating the latest relevant evidence into advanced practice to improve a client’s occupation-based outcomes.
3. Demonstrate the use of evidence-based outcome measures tools to evaluate and guide
occupation-based interventions, treatment and plan of care development that is client-centered and holistic (physical, emotional, and psychosocial skills).
4. Demonstrate understanding of the 2020 AOTA ethical principles and their implication into practice such as with client-centered services, fiscal, regulatory and systems.
5. Demonstrate the ability to access and establish collaborative partnerships with stakeholders to maximize the occupational participation of clients in physical rehabilitation.
6. Participate in scholarly activities such as performance or quality improvement project, case study development/presentation, and manuscript development.
7. Exhibit the highest standards of professionalism.
Program Coordinator/Director: Katherine Litman, MOT, OTR/L
Primary Mentor: Kerri Martin, OTR/L, CBIS
Primary Mentor: Justin Kampff, OTR/L, ATP
*This program is an AOTA accredited fellowship Program.
** 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
To apply, please email Katherine.Litman@va.gov the following documents by April 30th
- Completed Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program Application (see 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 (these may be included in your e-mail application submission and do not need to be sent separately)
- Copy of Valid OT license and NBCOT certificate OR proof of expected graduation date and plan for NBCOT testing and state licensing prior to the start of the program.
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.
FAQs 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 professional interests and goals and apply 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, acceptance will be contingent upon obtaining a license prior to the fellowship start date. In your application, you will need to provide proof of expected graduation date and plan for NBCOT testing and state licensing.
- 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 fellows 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. Ages of the population generally range from 18 - 90. The fellow will see clients with a variety of neurological diagnoses to include traumatic brain injury, stroke, emerging consciousness, spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS and many other co-occurring conditions.
A vast majority of the clients will be in an inpatient SCI and Polytrauma programs. However, the fellows will spend 2 months working in a SCI Home Care/ Outpatient setting and 2 months working in a brain injury community reintegration program. Clients will range from low to high level of functioning from a physical & cognitive standpoint.
- What will the fellow be doing with the clients?
The fellow will be providing the majority of their treatment in individual session however, will also conduct some group treatments. Individual treatments, will focus on addressing physical and cognitive barriers to function starting with ADLs/IADLs and progressing to social participation, recreation/leisure, community mobility etc. Group treatments will vary based on the client’s needs and the patient population in the program.