Experts + Experience = Exceptional Education

Patricia Henton, OTD, OTR/L, ICA, CEIM
Enrich your occupational therapy education through experts and experience

Learning to become an occupational therapy practitioner is a process, and experts and experience are your best guides in the process. A Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy (OTD program) is ready to prepare you for a rewarding occupational therapy (OT) career through: 

  1. Experienced Faculty. Faculty of OTD programs have experience in a variety of traditional and emerging OT practice environments, including hand therapy, acute care, neurology, rehabilitation, school-based practice, early intervention, travel therapy, and more! Faculty invest time in research and scholarship with students to advance the OT profession, present at state and national conferences, and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals. OTD students have multiple opportunities to develop their research skills and engage in collaborative projects with experienced faculty. Experienced faculty enrich your learning and encourage your professional growth as you prepare for an exciting and rewarding OT career! 

  1. Experts to Equip You! Have you considered the value of an OT education that brings experts into the classroom? OTD students have many opportunities to gain experience from OT experts in specialty practice areas such as the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU); feeding, eating, and swallowing; assistive technology (AT); ergonomics; neurology; and hand therapy. Hands-on learning helps students build confidence in evidence-based practice and client-centered care. Extracurricular learning activities may include national and international OT speakers that provide quality professional development on topics such as pediatric feeding, sensory integration, ergonomics, and advanced orthotics. Experts and extracurricular learning activities enrich your OT education and build advanced skills for future OT practice! 

  1. Mentoring Opportunities. An outstanding feature of an OTD program includes mentoring opportunities. First-year students can benefit from a mentor to help them transition to a doctoral-level program and get acclimated to their community. Student OT associations (SOTAs) may provide special mentoring programs for incoming students. Advanced practice mentoring experiences are also available after graduation! American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) fellowships are available at many locations throughout the United States and often include specialty practice areas, like the OT Dysphagia Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. Mentoring within a caring and supportive community enriches your experience as an OT student and prepares you for future mentoring experiences beyond your OTD program! 

  1. Specialty Pathways and Special Interest Groups. One of the most interactive ways to enrich your OT education involves extracurricular activities in specialty areas of OT practice. Depending on students’ interests, faculty may advise a student-led special interest group such as a hand therapy club, a NICU/early intervention club, or an older adult/neurology club. Educational activities may include professional development courses, journal article review, the pursuit of a specialty certification, and hands-on trainings to develop advanced practice skills. Specialty pathways and student-led clubs promote high-quality learning activities to enrich your doctoral experience! 

  1. Experiential Service-Learning in the Community and Abroad. OTD programs may invest in Christ-honoring service as a part of their curriculum. Some of the most rewarding hands-on student experiences include serving women and children at a domestic violence shelter and providing mobility for people with disabilities in other countries. Faculty and OT mentors dedicate their time and resources, lead through example, and serve alongside the OTD students to show the love of Jesus throughout the world. Service-learning experiences enrich your OT education as you compassionately serve others! 

Dr. Patricia Henton serves at Huntington University’s OTD program in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as an associate professor and faculty advisor of Huntington University Student Occupational Therapy Association, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit/Early Intervention Club, and the Christian Fellowship WORD Bible Club. She enjoys serving alongside of students locally and abroad. Learn about Huntington University’s OTD program distinctives and more at

Written by
Patricia Henton, OTD, OTR/L, ICA, CEIM