Seven students pursuing rheumatology-related careers will head to San Francisco in November on a Student and Resident ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting Scholarship—awards that are open to students and residents from states that are underserved by rheumatology professionals.
The Rheumatology Research Foundation has awarded the students $750–1,500 toward travel expenses and registration for the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, along with a year of ACR or ARHP membership.
Hazel Breland, PhD, assistant professor of occupational therapy at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), supported the applications of five of the winners. She said she thought it was important to make students aware of the chance to learn more about the rheumatology field.
“In an ongoing effort to introduce students to the field of rheumatology, as well as increase the number of health professions students interested in rheumatology practice and research, this July, I shared several rheumatology funding opportunities for health professional students with several divisions,” Dr. Breland says.
She describes a high level of enthusiasm for the students she supported, using phrases like “rhapsodic for learning” and “tremendous work ethic” to describe them. Several of the winners have personal experiences with rheumatic conditions.
Sherridan Bigg, occupational therapy student at MUSC—Ms. Bigg says her interest in rheumatology was sparked in part by her work with a nonprofit camp for children with chronic diseases, where some had rheumatic conditions. She says she is interested in learning about studies on performance of daily activities with Sjögren’s syndrome and pain and function in total knee replacement.
“As an aspiring occupational therapist, [I recognize] an incredible variability in the cohorts of the clients that we will be seeing,” she says. “Attending the conference will give me the ability to learn more about how I can best provide care for someone with a [rheumatic] condition.”
Kierstin Bockelman, occupational therapy student at MUSC—Ms. Bockelman says she feels that her first year as an occupational therapy student is a crucial molding point for her career, so she is seeking out new knowledge and experiences.
She says she is interested in the smaller Meet the Professor sessions because of the chance for interaction, and is looking forward to a lecture on improving long-term outcomes. She hopes it will give her insight into how to tie therapeutic treatment into a long-term approach.