RT Blog

Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Friday, September 28, 2007

RTI Fundraising for ATRA Medicare Project

Members of the Hoosier ATRA Chapter,the Recreation Therapists of Indiana (RTI)are fundraising in support of ATRA's Medicare project. This seems like a great idea. I wonder if other ATRA chapters are conducting such fundraising efforts in behalf of ATRA's Medicare project?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Exercise as Good as Drugs in Releaving Depression

Research by a Duke University psychologist has shown that exercise can decrease depression as effectively as an antidepressant.

"Exercise and Pharmacotherapy in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder" appeared in the September issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. The lead author was James A. Blumenthal. The abstract from the article follows:

Objective: To assess whether patients receiving aerobic exercise training performed either at home or in a supervised group setting achieve reductions in depression comparable to standard antidepressant medication (sertraline) and greater reductions in depression compared to placebo controls. Methods: Between October 2000 and November 2005, we performed a prospective, randomized controlled trial (SMILE study) with allocation concealment and blinded outcome assessment in a tertiary care teaching hospital. A total of 202 adults (153 women; 49 men) diagnosed with major depression were assigned randomly to one of four conditions: supervised exercise in a group setting; home-based exercise; antidepressant medication (sertraline, 50–200 mg daily); or placebo pill for 16 weeks. Patients underwent the structured clinical interview for depression and completed the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D). Results: After 4 months of treatment, 41% of the participants achieved remission, defined as no longer meeting the criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD) and a HAM-D score of <8. Patients receiving active treatments tended to have higher remission rates than the placebo controls: supervised exercise = 45%; home-based exercise = 40%; medication = 47%; placebo = 31% (p = .057). All treatment groups had lower HAM-D scores after treatment; scores for the active treatment groups were not significantly different from the placebo group (p = .23). Conclusions: The efficacy of exercise in patients seems generally comparable with patients receiving antidepressant medication and both tend to be better than the placebo in patients with MDD. Placebo response rates were high, suggesting that a considerable portion of the therapeutic response is determined by patient expectations, ongoing symptom monitoring, attention, and other nonspecific factors.

Monday, September 24, 2007

RT Professor Opening at East Carolina

The following was sent out by Professor Richard Williams:

Richard Williams, Ed.D., TRS/CTRS
Search Committee Chair
Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353




A nine month, tenure track position in the Recreational Therapy program of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies within the College of Health and Human Performance effective August 18, 2008.


Teach in the graduate and undergraduate Recreational Therapy degree programs, distance education courses, and in the professional core. Contribute to the advancement and promotion of Recreational Therapy degree programs, supervise Recreational Therapy student field experiences, advise students on academic procedures and career goals, and assist in maintaining ties with therapeutic and rehabilitation agencies. Contribute a program of externally funded scholarly research to support the continued development of the masters in RT and planned interdisciplinary Ph.D. program. Participate in research/creative activity and scholarly publication. Provide service to the university, community, and profession.


Doctoral degree required with at least one degree in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy. Strong professional practitioner experience and NCTRC certification as CTRS required. Applicant must obtain licensure as a Licensed Recreational Therapist in North Carolina upon employment. Demonstrated record of teaching effectiveness, research, and publication required. The ideal candidate will complement at least one program area including: aquatic therapy, psychophysiology, gerontology, mental health, adapted sports, or youth development.


Rank and salary commensurate with professional background and experience.


One of three departments within the College of Health and Human Performance, The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies is comprised of fifteen full-time faculty members including seven Licensed Recreational Therapists/Certified TR Specialists. The NRPA/AALR accredited curriculum has approximately 230 undergraduate majors within the Recreational Therapy and Management of Recreation Facilities and Services degree programs. The masters program offers degrees in Recreational Therapy Administration and Recreation and Leisure Facilities and Services Administration. Please visit www.ecu.edu/rcls.


East Carolina University, the third largest institution in the University of North Carolina System, is located in Greenville, approximately 90 miles east of the Research Triangle Park and 60 miles west of the Outer Banks and coastal resorts. A faculty of over 1,300 guide approximately 25,000 students enrolled in 105 Bachelor, 74 Master, 16 Doctoral, and 1 Medical Professional degree tracks. It is a Carnegie Doctoral Research Intensive university and consists of 12 professional schools, including the recognized Brody School of Medicine.


Application screening begins November 5, 2007 and will continue until the position is filled. Send application letter, vita, three letters of recommendation specific to the position, and copies of transcripts to: Ms. Eileen McInerney, Budget Administrator, Belk Annex 1, Room 108, Greenville, NC 27858, (252) 737-1374, mcinerneye@ecu.edu,

For specific questions concerning the position, contact Dr. Richard Williams, Search Chair, (252)328-0019; williamsri@ecu.edu.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mental Health Parity Bill Passes

Mental Health America recently announced: Senate Passes Mental Health Parity

The US Senate by a unanimous vote has passed the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (S. 558). This critical legislation will ensure that Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance and their families receive mental health care coverage at the same level as coverage for general health problems.

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) has advocated for this legislation in recent years.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

RT Jobs Available in VA

ATRA Board Member and Clemson Professor Judi Voelkl recently sent out a list of RT job openings in VA facilities. I counted more than 35 RT position openings in NH, MA, CA, GA, PA, NY, OH, SD, and NV. The VA RT positons also seemed to pay well.

The web address Dr. Voelkl listed was USAJOBS at http://usajobs.opm.gov

The USAJOBS is the official job site of the US Federal government.

I went to the USAJOBS site where I found some VA RT jobs but not all that Dr. Voelkl had listed. So I tried to find the RT jobs on the VA web site. This search produced nothing but frustration for me. My first thought was that no wonder the VA had so many openings -- nobody can locate the information to apply!

Perhaps I just didn't know how to locate jobs from the VA website. If someone can come up with an address for RT jobs on the VA websites please let us know.

While searching I did run across a website named indeed that had 61 RT jobs listed. I don't know anything about indeed but if you want to check it out the address is: http://www.indeed.com

We sometimes hear that there are relatively few RT job openings -- but this just doesn't seem to be true. Perhaps the problem is letting potential applicants know of the openings. Any suggestions to get the word out on RT openings?


Dean of the School of Health and Human Performance

Nominations and applications are invited for the position of Dean of the School of Health and Human Performance. This senior-level position reports to the Provost. The position is available July 1, 2008. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Application Process: Send electronic application to kwanders@uncg.edu, consisting of the following: letter of application, vitae, and the names and contact information of four references. For further questions, contact: Dr. Allan H. Goldfarb, Search Committee Chair, Phone: 336-334-3029, E-mail: ahgoldfa@uncg.edu. Initial review of applications will begin October 15, 2007 and continue until the position is filled. For more information; please visit the UNCG Faculty Vacancy listing:
http://provost.uncg.edu/Academic/EPA_Personnel/JobLists/Detail Page.asp?s=14249?

Information on this position was supplied by:
Charlsena F. Stone, Ph.D., LRT/CTRS
Associate Professor
Dept. of Recreation, Tourism, & Hospitality Management
P.O. Box 26170
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
(336) 334-4481 (office)
(336) 334-3238 (fax)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Quote on Taking Unpopular Positions

The other day I was working on getting my office cleaned up when I found a quote that is perhaps worth sharing. Adlai Stevenson once said:

"All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Chair Opening at San Jose State

From TR Professor Gonzaga da Gama comes an announcment for the Chair's position in his department:

The department of Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism Management (HRTM) at
San Jose State University, located in the southern part of the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, CA is seeking applicants for the position of
Chair. HRTM was created as a result of the merger of the departments of Recreation and Leisure Studies and Hospitality Management.

Application Deadline: Position will remain open until filled. Review of Applications will begin October 15, 2007.

Application Procedures: Send letter of application; vita; statement of interest including a summary of administrative experience, teaching interests/philosophy and research; and at least three original letters of reference with contact information to:

Personnel Committee Chair
Department of Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism Management
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192 - 0060
(408) 924-3197
Please include Job Opening ID (JOID) of 013022 in all correspondence.

This is the department that houses the degree in Therapeutic Recreationat San Jose State University. There has been a long, rich tradition of TR at SJSU.

For further questions about the position, feel free to contact TR Professor Gonzaga da Gama at Gonzaga@casa.sjsu.edu and phone: 408-924-3009 or Dr.Bethany Shifflet, Interim Chairperson (HRTM) atBethany.Shifflet@sjsu.edu

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Your View on ATRA Name Change

To the recent post regarding the possibility of changing ATRA to ARTA there was a comment that read: "I have always believed this (RT) captures the essence of our field."

Do others concur with the comment that RT best captures the essence of our field? Please comment on this post if you have a view to share.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Calvin College Position Opening

Position Vacancy Notice
Calvin College

Required: Master’s degree in Recreation with a specialization or experience in Therapeutic Recreation and a proven record or demonstration of excellence in teaching and active scholarship. The candidate should also possess the kind of interpersonal skills that are needed to work effectively and collaboratively with faculty and students in her or his role as a colleague and advisor. Applicants must conduct their work and lives as Christian role models, congruent with the teachings and practice of our sponsoring faith community, the Christian Reformed Church and be able to articulate how their faith interfaces with their professional discipline.
Preferred: Doctorate degree in Recreation or Therapeutic Recreation with professional experience in therapeutic recreation and evidence of involvement with professional organizations.

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience

Proposed Starting Date: September 2008

Application Procedure: Screening of applicants will begin October 15, 2007 and will continue until an acceptable candidate is selected. Applications from North American minorities are strongly encouraged. Send letter of application that addresses the requirements and responsibilities of the position and the religious commitment of the college, curriculum vitae, most recent transcript, three current letters of reference which speak to your qualifications for the position and one letter of reference from a pastor who can speak to your Christian faith and commitment to:

Dr. Don De Graaf, Chairperson Phone: 616-526-6225
Department of HPERDS FAX: 616-957-6060
Calvin College E-mail: ddegraaf@calvin.edu
3195 Knight Way SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

RT Kathy Kroll Featured in Article

Patient Credits Music, Caregivers with his Recovery from Serious Brain Injury
August 21, 2007

“The Heart of Health Care” is a recurring series that looks inside hospitals for the human hearts that keep them beating.

Listening to Ted Brackett sing and play guitar, it’s hard to imagine that less than two years ago he was in a hospital fighting for his life. Brackett, who was a special education teacher at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, ME, fell several feet off a ladder while painting his house.

He was taken to the Maine Medical Center’s emergency department, where he was diagnosed with life- threatening injuries: a severe brain injury and multiple rib fractures. He had poor comprehension, insomnia and developed aspiration pneumonia. Therapy gradually helped to stabilize his condition.

Seventeen days after the injury, Brackett transferred to New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland where he took the first steps toward recovery. For the next month, he received intense inpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Brackett can only recall the last two weeks of his stay at New England Rehabilitation. He cites the dedication of his nurses, the care exhibited by a volunteer who sat with him during his sleepless nights and the speech language pathologist who helped him eat every day during his lunch.

When Brackett was discharged in October 2005, he was able to walk with supervision, and was eating full meals. He still needed supervision and occasional assistance with many activities of daily living, but he was home. The next step was to participate in New England Rehabilitation Hospital’s outpatient therapy programs.

Hindered by mood changes, agitation, memory lapses and a loss of attention, he realized that he would not be able to teach in a classroom and it was devastating for him. “The lowest, lowest point in my life was when I was told I could never teach in a classroom again,” Brackett said.

Over the next 14 months he worked very hard with his physical, occupational and speech therapists to help develop the ability to retain and organize information. He learned to tap into the skills that he needs to help him function today from his educational background. “I explain to people that all my knowledge is still in my brain, but it has to by-pass the areas that were damaged,” Brackett said. “My short term memory is starting to grow as I learn methods of retention.”

The challenges can be depressing. “If I could educate other brain injury patients about one thing, it would be about depression and that multi-disciplined therapy is the only answer,” he said. “The therapists at New England Rehab taught me, worked with me and pushed me to go that extra step. As hard as some sessions were, when I left New England Rehab, I would say, ‘thank you!’”

His recreational therapist, Kathy Kroll, also played a big role in helping him deal with his depression. “Some days she and I would just talk,” Brackett said. “I could scream with frustration and anger. I could be sad. She was always there for me and listened.”

The hospital recently presented Kroll with its “Caregiver of the Year” award for her contributions to patient care. Hospital CEO Amy Morse called Kroll an “integral part of our inpatient and outpatient programs.”

During one of their sessions, Kroll discovered Beckett’s love of music. He sang with the Downeasters Barbershop Chorus for 25 years and in his church choir. He played guitar in his college days and was in a folk music group.

Brackett dusted off the guitar that sat untouched in the family room for the last 20 years and started music lessons with his therapist. He began singing folk songs and playing guitar in one of the outpatient therapy rooms.

Brackett recently "graduated" from New England Rehab’s physical, occupational and speech language pathology programs. He is a member of New England Rehab’s own "Mariachi Singers," who sing to patients during the holidays. He drives a car now, and plans to learn how to kayak. Brackett manages his day's activities with the guidance and support of his wife Carol. And he’s teaching again, volunteering to tutor patients at New England Rehab.

This article is excerpted from the “success stories” section of the New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland’s Web site, http://www.nerhp.org,/ and is reprinted with the hospital’s permission.
This article 1st appeared in the August 20, 2007 issue of AHA News

Monday, September 03, 2007

ARTA ??????????????????????

ATRA is exploring the possibility of a name change to ARTA. What do you think?

On Thursday of this week, there will be an ATRA past presidents committee meeting to discuss the issue. So any comments will be very welcome.

Why Aren't RT Students Trained in Physical Activity?

From HealthDay News, August 27th: More and more Americans are sliding into obesity, a clear signal that this national health problem is getting worse.

Can RTs help clients deal with obesity? I think so. Yet, most RTs have little training in the area of physical activity.

I would call on RT educators to demand that RT students take at least one course on the theory and practice of physical activity. NCTRC should also emphasize physical activity as one component in RT preparation.