OT Department Teams With Vivalon For Healthy Aging Program

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The Occupational Therapy program at Dominican University of California is partnering with San Rafael nonprofit Vivalon to launch Vitality@Vivalon, a free Healthy Aging Program designed to give older adults a baseline assessment of their current health, then provide information, tools, and support to encourage a shift toward new skills, habits, and routines that can improve overall health and promote healthy aging.

The collaboration of the creation of this program is led by Assistant Professor Dr. Gina Tucker-Roghi, who last year was awarded a Geriatric Academic Career Award from the Health Resource Service Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This four-year grant supports Tucker-Roghi’s work to improve the quality of life and health care for older adults by expanding the reach of OT services and by providing educational resources for older adults and the healthcare workforce.

“Occupational therapy maximizes health, well-being, and quality of life for older adults through the identification of effective solutions that facilitate participation in everyday living,” says Tucker-Roghi, citing the American Occupational Therapy Association, 2017. “According to the World Federation of Occupational Therapy, occupations are everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. Occupations include things people need to, want to and are expected to do. Interventions to support occupational engagement, productive-aging, and the management of chronic conditions are supported by strong evidence and have demonstrated efficacy.”

Dominican’s graduate occupational therapy program offers classroom and clinical education in all aspects of practice. Students learn how to develop treatment plans, provide individual interventions, conduct research, design community-based programs, develop management and leadership skills, and implement occupationally-focused education for wellness and health promotion. Dominican’s OT program in the School of Health and Natural Sciences has established multiple partnerships with local senior agencies over the years with its community outreach.

The partnership with Dominican and Vivalon began in 2019 with a team of OT students who built on the initial concept for Vivalon’s Healthy Aging Program (HAP) established by Wells Whitney of the Buck Institute, which partners with Dominican to offer a Master of Science degree program in biological sciences.  In 2020, Dominican nursing students partnered with a new team of OT students and Vivalon staff to refine the program and pilot the materials with Vivalon members. The program was enhanced, based on member feedback from the pilot implementation, and Vitality@Vivalon was established.

Graduate student Lucy Chen ’21 (pictured above), who interned with Vivalon after the OT Community Program Development class was completed, will be working under the supervision of Tucker-Roghi to facilitate the initial eight-week Vitality@Vivalon program, which includes group and individual OT wellness interventions. Beginning July 22, the weekly group sessions will be held each Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. Sessions will be held in-person at Vivalon’s Healthy Aging Center located at 930 Tamalpais Ave. in San Rafael. At this time, participants must be fully vaccinated to attend.

To register, please call (415) 456-9062, or for more information, please contact Jenn Mangosong-Shankle at jmangosong@vivalon.org. 

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