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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the RT Blog! Hope you have a great 2009!

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

On DisabilityInfo.gov I just saw a page that includes links to scholarship applications for students with various disabilities for graduate and undergraduate studies.

This information could be helpful to university RT faculty or students.

The information on scholarships has recently been updated, and can be accessed by visiting this link:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Hoosier RT!

Numbers of Persons with Disabilities Reported

In a report issued in the December 2008 Current Population Reports the U.S. Census Bureau reported that of the 291.1 million people in the 2005 population of the United States, 54.4 million, or 18.7 percent, reported some level of disability, and 35 million (12.0 percent of all people) reported a severe disability.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

GT Thompson to be Sworn In January 6th

Glenn "GT" Thompson, M.S., CTRS, will be sworn in January 6th as the Congressman from Pennsylvania's Fifth District. The fact that "one of our own" will be in Congress is exciting!

I recently inquired about GTs anticipated support for the Medicare Bill that ATRA has proposed. He replied in an email that "I am looking forward to continuing my support for this very important legislation!" This is great news and what we have come to expect from GT.

In case you wish to contact GT, his address will be:
124 Cannon H.O.B., Washington, DC, 20515.

Best of success GT!!!

Research Announced on the Effect of Arts Program

From Linda Levine Madori comes this announcement that I'd like to pass on to you:

Dear Collegues,
I would like to share with you that Cornell University and Weil Medical College Evaluation Services for Alzheimer's Disease has fully funded the pilot research study entitled "A Pilot Study to Determine the Effect of Therapeutic Thematic Arts Programming (TTAP©) on Cognitive Function in Patient’s Affected by Mild Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type."

The pilot will run for 28 weeks from January 2009 through June, and we hope to secure a NIH grant on the data results. If you are interested in learning more about the TTAP Method and or would like to create a research study from protocols that have been developed please visit my web site at www.levinemadoriphd.com . You will find new video's on the TTAP Method with TR Internship students, TTAP method with Alzheimers Disease and more. The TTAP is a multi-modal approach which can be replicated and therefore is simple to create clinical structured studies. If you are interested in any or all, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thanks RT Blog Reader!

Dear RT Blog Reader,

As we approach the end of 2008, I want to personally thank you for your continued interest in RT and the RT Blog.

While only a few comment on posts on the RT Blog, I hear often from a number of you through emails or in person. I want to thank you for the great ideas and suggestions for the RT Blog. As we enter 2009, I will continue to try to share information and ideas with you on the RT Blog.

Have a safe and happy holiday season and a happy new year.

Best regards,
Hoosier RT

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quality Ratings of Nursing Homes

Just yesterday, I heard that a new rating system for nursing homes was being instituted by CMS. Today I received this information:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released quality ratings for each of the nation's 15,800 nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid. Facilities are assigned star ratings from a low of one star to a high of five stars based on health inspection surveys, staffing information and quality of care measures. The search system allows users to simply input their Zip Code to get star ratings of nursing homes in their area.

I would like to learn more about the rating system. I wonder if it includes the recreational therapy/activity program at each nursing home. If anyone has information please comment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm Excited to See My New Book!

One of the most exciting days in the lives of authors is the day they see their work in print. Yesterday was an exciting day for me as I received my personal copies of the 6th edition of my book, Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques.

The first thing that I noticed was what Sagamore Publishing had done with the cover of the book. The cover is cream and crimson -- which happen to be the colors of Indiana University! It really has a nice look to it.

Then I noticed the length of the new edition. It is 546 pages in length. This exceeds the last edition by 20 pages. I am happy to be able to increase the length of the book in order to include more information. Many publishers try to make authors shorten books to keep down production and distribution costs. I am thankful to Sagamore Publishing for not making an issue of the increased length of the 6th edition.

Those are a couple of my first impressions. I am reading through the book now and will plan to report other features in later posts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beck & Melcher New NCTRC Board Members

I just received an announcement from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification titled "NCTRC Welcomes Two New Board Members."

The announcement read:

As a result of the recently conducted Board election, NCTRC is proud to announce the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors. Dr. Teresa Beck, CTRS and Ms. Suzanne Melcher, CTRS will officially join the NCTRC Board in April 2009 and will each serve a three-year term from 2009-2012.

Teresa M. Beck, PhD., CTRS resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Teresa earned her BS degree in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Indiana University, a MS in Leisure Services with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Florida State University and her PhD in Higher Education Administration with a minor in Leisure Studies from the University of North Texas. She is currently Associate Professor and Director of Therapeutic Recreation and Health Professions Programs as well as the Faculty Director for Freshman Orientation at Grand Valley State University. More

Suzanne Melcher, MA, LRT /CTRS, LBMT resides in Clemmons, North Carolina. Suzanne earned her BS in Recreation and Leisure Services with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Radford University and her Master of Arts and Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She also has a Certificate in Therapeutic Massage from Forsyth Technical Community College.

I would like to add just a bit to the information on Teresa and Suzanne. First, I am proud that Teresa was a student of mine at Indiana University when she completed her B.S. degree. Susan works at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC, on psych units. She has also been a member of the ATRA Board of Directors. It so happens that our daughter is on faculty in the Medical School at Wake Forest and I share the psych background and service to ATRA with Susan. Small world isn't it!

2009 Accessible America Competition

From DisabilityInfo.gov comes this announcement on the 2009 Accessible America Competition:

A $25,000 award competition open to all cities and towns across the nation. Its purpose is to recognize and promote replication of exemplary practices that communities use to facilitate the comprehensive involvement of citizens with disabilities in community life. Application deadline is December 31, 2008.

I couldn't access the site with application information. But I assume you can go to DisabilityInfo.gov to locate it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Navar Teaching at EWU

I just heard from long-time RT/TR Professor Nancy Navar from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. Nancy has done a great job of building the TR curriculum at La Crosse, while providing national leadership for our profession.

Nancy told me that she will soon be heading to Eastern Washington University to teach there during the winter and spring quarters. She will return to La Crosse in the summer.

Top Affordable Colleges with RT/TR

I just read an article from Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine titled "The 50 Best Values in Public Colleges."

The article listed 50 colleges and universities that offer the best education at the best price. If you know someone looking for an affordable college with an RT/TR curriculum, there are five best choices according to the Kiplinger article.

These are the University of North Carolina Wilmington (ranked 25th), Clemson University (34th), Penn State University (35th), the University of Wisconsin La Crosse (38th), and Indiana University Bloomington (40th).

Note that the ranking following the university is the ranking for the overall value of the institution in terms of value for the dollar -- not the quality of the RT/TR curriculum at that university. All of the RT/TR programs at these five universities, however, do enjoy fine reputations.

I was particularly pleased that my old institution, Indiana University, was listed as one of the best universities in terms of value. I know that IU offers a strong TR curriculum and that the faculty at IU is tops.

I thought this was an interesting list in terms of our profession and opportunities for study RT/TR at fine universities with good academic reputations. Any thoughts?

Mental Health America Celebrates 100 Years

I recently received the announcement from Mental Health America indicating the organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Mental Health America is a national advocacy and support organization for mental health founded in 1909 by Clifford Beers. It has over 300 affiliates nationwide.

Monday, December 15, 2008

ATRA Definition? Anything Happening?

The Summer Issue of the ATRA Newsletter contained an article, "ATRA Definition Statement Being Reviewed." In the article, Mary Ann Keogh Hoss asked members to respond to her regarding their views on the definition at mhoss@mail.ewu.edu

I haven't seen anything on this since. Can anyone provide an update?

I certainly am in favor of making improvements in the current ATRA Definition Statement and would like to know if there is any action toward making changes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rehab Training Grants from OSERS

I just saw the following announcment. Too bad the deadline is coming up so soon as I think universities could make a strong case to gain funding to support Ph.D. study in RT. Here is the announcement:

Rehabilitation Long-Term Training Grants, U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
Application Deadlines: January 15, 2009

The Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program provides financial assistance for (1) Projects that provide basic or advanced training leading to an academic degree in areas of personnel shortages in rehabilitation; (2) Projects that provide a specified series of courses or program of study leading to the award of a certificate in areas of personnel shortages in rehabilitation; and (3) Projects that provide support for medical residents enrolled in residency training programs in the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Job Development And Job Placement Services to Individuals With Disabilities
Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Mentally Ill
Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Blind or Have Vision Impairments
Vocational Evaluation and Work Adjustment
Rehabilitation Counseling
Comprehensive System of Personnel Development

For more information, go to http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html or http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-27191.pdf.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques

I just received a call from Sagamore Publishing that the 6th edition of my book, Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques, did in fact arrive from the printer today.

Reminder to RT/TR Faculty

RT/TR faculty should take a few minutes in class during the final weeks of the semester to remind their students not to sell their RT/TR textbooks since students need to build their professional libraries.

I know that I posted a similar reminder a couple of days ago but I also know from personal experience that faculty need reminders! :-)

TR Processes and Techniques Delivered Today

The 6th edition of Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques is scheduled to be delivered by the printer to Sagamore Publishing today. Several professors have told me that they have requested desk copies and are anxious to receive them. If the printer maintains the agreed upon schedule it should not be too long before copies are sent out by Sagamore.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Persons with MI Die Young: RTs Should Intervene!

Gena Bell is a Ph.D. student at Clemson. I had the pleasure of meeting Gena when I spoke in Judi Voelkl’s class earlier this fall.

Gena recently sent me an interesting article from Time titled “Why Do the Mentally Ill Die Younger?” (by K. Torgovnick,December 3,2003)that was based on a study published by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

The original study was titled Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness. The research analyzed data from 16 states. It found that persons with severe mental illness died 25 years earlier than the general population.

A related article stated that “Schizophrenia has been described as a ‘life-shortening disease,’ and there is growing evidence to support this claim.” (p.67, Lambert, T.J.R. et al,(2003).Medical comorbidity in schizophrenia. Medical Journal of Australia,178(9), 67-70)

In sum, research has found persons with serious mental illness experience physical illnesses that lead to shortened lives.

The Time article discussed that because those with serious mental illness tend to be smokers, smoking probably contributed to the findings. Obesity however is also a large risk factor.

The Time article also discussed what has become a popular program developed by NAMI in New York City after reading the morbidity and mortality report. This program is called “Six Weeks to Wellness” and “teaches everything from nutrition to controlling anxiety through yoga and meditation.” The article did not indicate this program was run by RTs but it certainly could be.

I found an article, “Integrating Physical Activity Into Mental Health Services for Persons with Serious Mental Illness,” that reviewed evidence that supported the need for interventions to promote physical activity with persons with serious mental illness. The article states: “Mental health service providers can provide effective, evidence-based physical activity interventions for individuals with serious mental illness.” (p. 324,Richardson, C.R. et al, Psychiatry Services, 56(3), 324-331, March 2005).

I would like to thank Gena for calling this shocking situation to our attention. It is clear that those with serious mental illness need interventions to help improve their physical health. It seems obvious to me that RTs should step forward to make this problem known and to initiate interventions that will enhance the health of persons with serious mental illness. Do you agree?

Monday, December 08, 2008

America's Healthiest and Unhealthiest States

A recent article authored by David Sutton for Forbes.com listed the healthiest and unhealthiest states.

The article was based on the report, America's Health Rankings. The study (which compiled and analyzed 22 health measures, both determinants and outcomes)was a collaboration between United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention. Data for the study was provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Center for Education Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Environmental Protection Agency, American Medical Association, Dartmouth Atlas Project and Trust for America's Health.

What were the results? Which states were the unhealthiest? Louisiana was the most unhealthy state, followed at the bottom by Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Which were the healthiest? Vermont was the healthiest state for the second consecutive year. Hawaii, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Utah round out the top five healthiest states.

It is hard to say what these results mean for RT. Any ideas?

Reminder to Students: Save RT Books

I just realized that the end of the fall term is nearing. This is a time when many university students sell their textbooks for cash.

A friendly reminder...Keep your books from your RT/TR courses. You will find that over your college years that you will build a professional library by retaining your books from your RT/TR courses.

Of course, sell your books from other courses...but hold on to your RT/TR books as they will become good references for you in your internship and as a professional.

RT/TR faculty should take a few minutes in class during the final weeks of the semester to remind their students of the need to build their professional libraries.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Translational Research Grants Available

The following research funding opportunity was recently announced:

Building Translational Research in Integrative Behavioral Science (R01) URL for more info http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-07-155.html

Sponsor Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Abstract This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is intended to encourage the development of collaborative partnerships between scientists who study basic behavioral processes and those who study the etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and behavioral disorders (including drug abuse and addiction) and the delivery of services to those suffering from those disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse are issuing this FOA as part of a major long-term commitment to (1) encourage the systematic translation of basic behavioral theory, methods, and findings into research designed to reduce the burden of mental illness and behavioral disorders (including drug abuse and addiction), and (2) encourage basic behavioral scientists to seek a further understanding of behavioral processes through an exploration of how those processes are altered by mental and behavioral disorders.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Shinseki to be VA Secretary

President-elect Barack Obama has selected retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs Secretary.

Obama will announce the selection of Shinseki, the first Army four-star general of Japanese-American ancestry, at a news conference Sunday in Chicago.

Lekotek Promotes Play for Children with Disabilities

I just ran across an organization named Lekotek that is devoted to play and learning for children with disabilities. I don't have any first hand information about the organization but it may be a resource for RTs working with children with disabilities. Below is information from the Lekotek home page.

LEKOTEK...What is Lekotek?

Our Mission: Lekotek uses interactive play experiences, and the learning that results, to promote the inclusion of children with special needs into family and community life.

Lekotek is about kids - kids with special needs. Like all kids, children with special needs love to play. Lekotek makes the world of play accessible to children with all types of disabilities through special play and learning centers where they can have fun with traditional toys, adapted toys, books and computers. And while they are playing, Lekotek kids are learning new skills that build the base for literacy, mathematical reasoning and computer use.

Lekotek recognizes that raising a child with special needs is a family affair that puts demands on parents, siblings, caregivers, and extended family members. At Lekotek, families learn fun, creative and healthy ways to play together and to include their children into family and community activities. Children borrow adapted and traditional toys, books and software from Lekotek toy lending libraries for use at home.

Nationwide, there are 32 Lekotek sites that offer family play sessions, toy lending libraries, Compuplay family computer centers, and other innovative community-specific programming. With the focus on what the child with disabilities can do, and with attention to the needs of the entire family system that supports the child, Lekotek plays an important role in helping children with disabilities reach their full potential.

Disability Research and Fellowship Grants

From DisabilityInfo.gov comes an announcement of new research and fellowship grants:

Department of Education Notice Inviting Applications: Disability & Rehabilitation Research Field Initiated Projects New!

The purpose of this program is to develop methods, procedures and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially those with the most severe disabilities. Application Deadline: January 27, 2009.

Department of Education Notice Inviting Applications: National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research Fellowships Program New!

The purpose of this program is to build research capacity by providing support to enable highly qualified individuals, including those with disabilities, to conduct research on the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. Application Deadline: January 27, 2009.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Chair Opening at ECU

From an old friend, Susan A. McGhee, Ph.D, LRT/CTRS, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Health and Human Performance at East Carolina University comes the announcment of the opening of the Chair's position in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studeies has 19 faculty, 2 undergraduate and 2 graduate degrees, in Recreational Therapy Administration and Recreation & Park Management. Application screening begins January 12th.

Dr. McGhee is chairing the search committee for the Chair's position. Her contact information is:
Dr. Susan A. McGhee
Associate Professor and Associate Dean
College of Health and Human Performance
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353

Phone: 252-328-0022
Fax: 252-328-4655
Email: mcghees@ecu.edu

Monday, December 01, 2008

Faculty Position at Illinois State University

From Sandra Wolf Klitzing, Ph.D., CTRS:

The School of Kinesiology and Recreation at Illinois State University is pleased to announce a nine-month, tenure-track position in therapeutic recreation.

Assistant or Associate Professor in Therapeutic Recreation-9 month tenure-track appointment.

Available: August 16, 2009

Responsibilities: Provide quality instruction in the professional core and Therapeutic Recreation sequence of the Recreation and Park Administration (RPA) program. Supervise student internships. Teach graduate courses in the Recreation Administration sequence and core courses. Pursue a focused area of scholarship that culminates in nationally refereed publications and professional presentations, and submit grant proposals. Serve on School, College, and University Committees, and contribute to professional and community organizations.

Required: Doctoral degree required in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy, or a commensurate field. Applicants with expected completion of the doctoral degree before March 1, 2010 will be considered. NCTRC certification preferred. Applicants with prior college teaching experience, experience supervising therapeutic recreation internships, and/or strong professional practitioner experience will receive preference. Initial review of applications will begin December 12, 2008 and will continue until filled.

To assure full consideration, submit letter of application, vita, and three letters reference to: Gale Wheatley, 5120 School of Kinesiology and Recreation, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-5120 or e-mail gdwheat@ilstu.edu. See http://www.kinrec.ilstu.edu/ for full information.

Mental Health Problems Among College-Aged

I just ran across an interesting article titled "Mental Health of College Students and Their Non–College-Attending Peers:Results From the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions," published this month in the Archieves of General Psychiatry, Vol. 65, No. 12, pp. 1429 - 1437.

Researchers for the study were: Carlos Blanco, MD, PhD; Mayumi Okuda, MD; Crystal Wright, BS; Deborah S. Hasin, PhD; Bridget F. Grant, PhD, PhD; Shang-Min Liu, MS; Mark Olfson, MD, MPH.

Results: Results from the survey research study revealed that approximately one-half of college-aged individuals had a psychiatric disorder during the prior year. The overall rate of psychiatric disorders was not different between college-attending individuals and their non–college-attending peers. The rate of alcohol use disorders was significantly greater for college students than for their non–college-attending peers.

Conclusions: Among the conclusions of the study were that psychiatric disorders (particularly alcohol use disorders) are common in the college-aged population and fewer than 25% of individuals with a mental disorder sought treatment in the year prior to the survey. These findings underscore the importance of treatment and prevention interventions among college-aged individuals.

These findings were a surprise to me. First, I had no idea that such a large percentage of individuals of college-age had psychiatric disorders...and that so few received treatment.

The study and treatment of college students with mental health problems would seem to be a obvious area of research for university RT faculty because potential participants (i.e., college students) are so close at hand. Also intervention studies with college students might be done -- with RT students helping to conduct the interventions.

Assistantship Available at SIU

From our friend, Professor Marjorie Malkin, comes an announcement of a graduate assistantship in TR for 2009-10 at Southern Illinois University (SIU).

The assistanship pays $1,426.00 per month plus a tuition waiver (for 9 months).

SIU has been known for its TR program for many years. SIU TR Professors Marjorie Malkin and Heewon Yang are both highly regarded. So this is a great opportunity for someone wanting to complete a master's degree.

Those interested are encouraged to contact Professor Malkin at mmalkin@siu.edu