Tagged: Sargent College

Boston University Sargent College Ergonomic Expert asks Students ‘What’s in your Backpack?’

September 7th, 2012 in Karen Jacobs, News Releases, Sargent College 0 comments

Contact: Stephanie Rotondo, (617) 353-7476, rotondos@bu.edu

(Boston) — In honor of National School Backpack Awareness Day™ on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, Dr. Karen Jacobs, a Boston University Sargent College occupational therapy professor and former president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), will be conducting “weigh-ins” at a Boston area school to ensure that the weight of kids’ backpacks exceeds no more than 10% of their body weight. This annual event helps educate children, parents, school administrators, teachers, and the community about the serious health problems associated with wearing a backpack incorrectly.

Jacobs and graduate OT students from Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College will be at the Jackson Mann School in Brighton, MA from 9:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. on September 19th and at St. Mary of the Assumption Rectory School in Brookline, MA at 1:15 p.m.  Jacobs and her graduate students will weigh the backpacks of elementary school students and offer guidance on the best way to wear a backpack. Carrying too much weight in a pack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to aching back and shoulders, weakened muscles, and stooped posture.

“More than 72 million American school children will be wearing a backpack to and from school every day this academic year. And as OT’s, we’re concerned about the increasingly serious problem posed by improper school backpack use,” says Jacobs.  “We risk doing long-term damage to our kids’ growing bodies by remaining silent on this public health issue.”

Jacobs advises minimizing long-term health problems by loading the heaviest items closest to the child’s back and arranging books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.

Jacobs supports the effectiveness of backpack education. In a study, almost 8 out of 10 middle school children who had been educated on backpack safety subsequently changed how they loaded their backpacks and ultimately, reported less pain and strain in their backs, necks, and shoulders.

Dr. Karen Jacobs is a sought after ergonomics expert who champions backpack and computer safety for children and teens. She conducts research, writes, and speaks about these topics regularly. She is a clinical professor of occupational therapy at Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, the former president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and a recent winner of the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Award, the highest academic honor given by the AOTA.  Jacobs is the recent author of the children’s book How Full is Sophia’s Backpack which integrates tips on proper backpack usage into its imaginative story.

Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College is an institution of higher education, which fosters critical and innovative thinking to best serve the health care needs of society through academics, research, and clinical practice. As reported by U.S. News and World Report, its graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Physical Therapy are ranked in the top 8% of all programs while Occupational Therapy is #2 in the nation.  For more information and to learn about degree programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech, language and hearing sciences, health science, athletic training, human physiology, behavior and health, and nutrition, visit bu.edu/sargent.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 32,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 16 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

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Boston University supports Davis Phinney Foundation in launching new resource to encourage living well with Parkinson’s Disease

July 23rd, 2012 in News Releases, Uncategorized 0 comments

Contact: Stephanie Rotondo, (617) 353-7476, rotondos@bu.edu

(Boston) – Imagine you are one of the 60,000 new U.S. cases of Parkinson’s disease diagnosed each year. Where can you turn for accurate information? How can you learn what to expect and how to make things easier? Recognizing the need to provide a roadmap for people of all ages and at all stages of Parkinson’s, Boston University’s College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College has collaborated with The Davis Phinney Foundation and other renowned research institutions to launch the Foundation’s Every Victory Counts® manual’s second edition.  This manual uniquely gives people living with Parkinson’s – and their care partners and family members – the tools they need to take a proactive approach to self-care from diagnosis through advanced stages of the disease, including the latest information for the recently diagnosed, expanded content specifically for care partners and guidance for living with young-onset Parkinson’s. Boston University is among leading Parkinson’s research centers with contributors to the manual’s content.

The Every Victory Counts manual, which is endorsed by the American Academy of Physician Assistants, offers rich, interactive content including a chapter by Boston University’s Terry Ellis, PT, Ph.D., who also served as an advisor for the book. The manual includes worksheets, medication logs and questionnaires, all designed to help people monitor their health, create action plans and facilitate communication with healthcare professionals and care partners. The Every Victory Counts manual also addresses key topics, such as: talking to family and coworkers about the disease, exercise, nutrition, emotional health, deep brain stimulation, medical, surgical and behavioral therapies, intimacy, care partner issues and the importance of staying engaged.

“I’m honored to have worked with The Davis Phinney Foundation on developing a manual that offers individuals and their families a positive resource for living with Parkinson’s disease,” said contributor Terry Ellis, PT, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at the Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, and director of the National Resource Center for Rehabilitation established by Boston University and the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA).  “Our goal is to empower individuals with Parkinson’s to live life to the fullest and to take an active role in their own care. Using this manual, they can learn unique strategies and techniques to help manage all aspects of the disease.”

Some of the most powerful content in the manual is provided by more than 50 people with Parkinson’s who share compelling and inspiring insights on topics such as exercise, diet and intimacy. These heartfelt and often humorous testimonials offer wisdom on daily living with Parkinson’s and help create a sense of community for readers.

“The Davis Phinney Foundation is proud to provide this expanded resource to the Parkinson’s community,” said Polly Dawkins, executive director, the Davis Phinney Foundation. “Since launching the Every Victory Counts program more than two years ago, we have been encouraged and touched by the positive responses and valuable feedback, which shaped the direction and content for the second edition. We’ve added a primer for the recently diagnosed, extensive material for care partners and new worksheets and graphical references.”

Readers can complement the manual with online worksheets, the Living Well Challenge webinars (http://davisphinneyfoundation.org/living-pd/webinar/), expert Q&A videos (http://davisphinneyfoundation.org/living-pd/live/exercise/updates/) and tools like the Top 10 Tips for Exercising with Parkinson’s (http://davisphinneyfoundation.org/living-pd/tools-today/).”

“Having competed successfully in the Olympics, Tour de France and countless other grueling professional cycling events, I know firsthand that attitude, focus and engagement can lead to victory in difficult, demanding circumstances,” said Davis Phinney, founder of the Davis Phinney Foundation and the winningest cyclist in US history. “For people like me who face the challenges of Parkinson’s each day, it’s critical we apply this same approach to our journey with Parkinson’s. With the expanded Every Victory Counts manual, we are empowering people to take control and motivating them to find and savor their moments of victory.”

The Every Victory Counts program manual is available for a donation of $27.00 and can be ordered at http://davisphinneyfoundation.org/living-pd/victory-counts/getyourcopy/ or by calling 1-855-PHINNEY. All manual proceeds will support Davis Phinney Foundation-funded Parkinson’s research and education programs.

Davis Phinney Foundation

The Davis Phinney Foundation was created in 2004 and is dedicated to helping people with Parkinson’s disease to live well today. The Foundation’s major initiatives include: the Every Victory Counts® manual, developed by movement disorder experts to provide practical ways to live well with Parkinson’s; The Victory Summit® symposia series, which brings leading experts into communities to share advances in science, care and to inspire those affected by the disease to celebrate their daily moments of victory; the Living Well Challenge™ educational webinar series; and, the funding of research focused on exercise, speech and other quality of life therapies. Visit the website: www.davisphinneyfoundation.org.

Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College is an institution of higher education, which fosters critical and innovative thinking to best serve the health care needs of society through academics, research, and clinical practice. As reported by U.S. News and World Report, its graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Physical Therapy are ranked in the top 8% of all programs while Occupational Therapy is #2 in the nation.  For more information and to learn about degree programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech, language and hearing sciences, health science, athletic training, human physiology and nutrition, visit http://www.bu.edu/sargent.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 16 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

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BU Sargent College researcher awarded $2.7M NIMH Grant, aims to improve employment opportunities for those with severe mental illness

July 23rd, 2012 in News Releases 0 comments

Contact: Stephanie Rotondo, (617) 353-7476, rotondos@bu.edu

(Boston) — Boston University researchers at Sargent College and the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (CPR) in partnership with the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center (Dartmouth PRC) have received a $2.7 million grant over five years from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study the effect of cognitive skills enhancement technology on the existing supported employment model. The goal of this project is to increase the ability of individuals with severe mental illness to secure and maintain employment by participation in a cognitive remediation program, Thinking Skills for Work (TSW), which is integrated with supported employment.

Developed by faculty at the Dartmouth PRC, the Individual Placement and Support model of supported employment is a client-centered approach that helps individuals with severe mental illnesses find competitive jobs in the community that match their own interests. While many individuals with severe mental illness benefit from supported employment, others experience challenges due to cognitive impairments, including difficulties sustaining attention, learning and remembering information, and solving problems.

In order to address the cognitive obstacles to achieving employment goals, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at BU Sargent College and senior researcher at BU’s CPR, Susan McGurk along with her team, developed TSW, which integrates supportive employment services with “strategy coaching” from a cognitive specialist who provides:

  • Assessment of cognitive impairments interfering with getting or keeping a job
    • Computer-based cognitive drill and practice exercises and teaching coping/ compensatory skills
  • Assistance in job search planning
  • Ongoing consultation to address cognitive challenges

The research team – headed by McGurk, in collaboration with co-investigators Dr. Kim Mueser, Executive Director of CPR, and Dr. Robert Drake and Deborah Becker, researchers from the Dartmouth PRC – will evaluate whether the computer-based drill and practice exercises increase the efficacy of the TSW program at improving cognition and work. One randomized controlled trial has demonstrated that TSW was more effective than usual supportive employment services alone at improving cognitive functioning and competitive work in those with severe mental illness, and a second recently completed two-site study has shown that TSW was more effective than enhanced supported employment services for individuals who had failed to benefit from usual supportive employment services.

“People with severe mental illness have high rates of unemployment despite wanting to work,” says McGurk. “One of the most significant barriers to work is this cognitive difficulty common in mental illnesses like schizophrenia, which can get in the way of their search for, and retention of, jobs.”

The study aims to lift these barriers by teaching strategies for workplace success, including improving cognitive skills by utilizing the COGPACK software and teaching people strategies for handling cognitive challenges more effectively.  For example, in someone with memory problems, the cognitive specialist might teach the individual strategies to help remember people’s names, such as repeating the person’s name back immediately after they have heard it, using mnemonics, or just writing the person’s name down.  Additionally, the cognitive specialist works with the vocational team to enhance their ability to detect cognitive impairments and arm them with the skills to respond.

“The cognitive specialist sets the stage for work,” says McGurk.  “Many people we work with have tried and failed at work and have not had a job in a while. The cognitive training lab provides the opportunity to practice useful work skills, such as asking for direction in tasks, and accepting suggestions and feedback, in addition to the practice of cognitive skills. Our primary focus is improving employment so participants are receiving work services while they complete the cognitive practice. Every aspect of the intervention is geared towards achieving participants’ work goals.”

Set to begin this summer, the research will be a step towards improving competitive work in individuals with severe mental illness by examining how a cognitive remediation program that improves outcomes in supported employment works, and determining whether a more efficient version of the program produces similar benefits. The two-site study with a planned enrollment of 244 participants, will take place at Thresholds in Chicago, IL, and The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, NH, both comprehensive outpatient mental health agencies that provide the full range of psychiatric and rehabilitative services. The effects of the program on cognitive functioning, employment, and other areas of functioning will be evaluated over a two year study period for each participant.

“Those with severe mental illness often have complex problems in a range of areas of functioning.  So we approach improving employment with a variety of strategies,” says McGurk. “We are integrating the TSW with a ‘place and train’ model – we don’t impose pre-vocational training on participants because there’s little evidence to support that approach. Through a structured, monitored intervention, we help the person to be as independent as possible.”

Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College is an institution of higher education, which fosters critical and innovative thinking to best serve the health care needs of society through academics, research, and clinical practice. As reported by U.S. News and World Report, its graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Physical Therapy are ranked in the top 8% of all programs while Occupational Therapy is #2 in the nation.  For more information and to learn about degree programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech, language and hearing sciences, health science, athletic training, human physiology and nutrition, visit http://www.bu.edu/sargent.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 16 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

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Trim the Sides to Trim the Calories

November 22nd, 2010 in Nutrition 0 comments

Gearing up for that big Thanksgiving feast, but looking for ways to avoid those dreaded holiday pounds?  Joan Salge Blake, Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, explains how to trim down some of your favorite side dishes without sacrificing taste and tradition.  Be sure to check out Joan’s blog for all the tasty recipes.

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Trying the Twinkie diet? Not so fast…

November 9th, 2010 in Nutrition 1 comment

As a registered dietitian and nutrition professor at Boston University, I have known for decades, that when it comes to weight loss, the magic two words are:  Calories Count.

If you consume less calories than you need, you will lose weight.

When overweight individuals lose weight, short term health indicators often improve.  For example, a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol may decrease to a healthier range.  However, if the weight reducing diet was mainly from sweets and treats, you are robbing your body of nutrients, such as antioxidants that are anti-aging and good for long term health.  A better bet would be to consume a calorie reducing, plant-based well-balanced diet that not only is kind to your waist but also you heart, mind, and soul. – SAR Clinical Associate Professor Joan Salge Blake

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SAR professor enhances lives of Parkinson’s patients

November 4th, 2010 in Health 0 comments

Sargent College Clinical Associate Professor Terry Ellis is working to further develop Every Victory Counts, in conjunction with the Davis Phinney Foundation, helping patients with Parkinson’s Disease live better for longer.  Terry’s research is focusing on observing Parkinson’s patients to better understand how their lives change as the disease progresses and what treatments sustain or help eliminate symptoms. Here’s a bit more on Every Victory Counts:

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From Joan Salge Blake:

September 27th, 2010 in Nutrition 0 comments

pbapplesAccording from the latest CDC report, we are not spending enough time shopping in the produce aisle, as over 75% of Americans are not eating the minimum recommended 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables daily. This dietary shortfall may partially explain why over 65% of Americans are overweight.

Snacking on low calorie, high fiber, fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce your weight as Mother Nature’s finest will “fill you up before they fill you out”. In other words, you’ll likely get full on produce before you have a chance to overeat. In contrast, higher calorie, less filling snacks such as chips, crackers, and bagels are so easy to overeat that they can quickly fill you out in the wrong places.

If you are falling short of a quota of 4.5 cups fruits and veggies daily, make produce your only snack of choice and the best choice to trim your waist.  Here are 5 easy fruit and veggie snack ideas

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National Backpack Awareness Day

September 15th, 2010 in Education Issues, Health 0 comments

Backpack-Logo-web

Today, September 15th, marks the 10th Anniversary of National Backpack Awareness Day sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) . Professor Karen Jacobs of Sargent College is commemorating this occasion with a family style initiative from 12:30-2 PM, at St. Mary of the Assumption Rectory School, in Brookline. There, along with 49 BU entry-level occupational therapy students, Jacobs will host educational programs and outreach activities geared toward backpack safety for the entire family. Professor Karen Jacobs is available for comment on the topic of backpack safety and can be reached at (617) 353-7516 or at kjacobs@bu.edu.

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Joan Salge Blake and Hardin Coleman talk about health & nutrition education and healthy school lunches

September 1st, 2010 in Education Issues, Health, Nutrition 0 comments

Registered Dietitian and Sargent Clinical Associate Professor Joan Salge Blake and School of Education Dean Hardin Coleman joined us this morning on UStream for a live chat about the importance of healthy school lunches. They also talked about the importance of health and nutrition education. You can view the full chat below:

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I want to eat Scooby-Doo!

June 21st, 2010 in Health 0 comments

A new study from Yale University published in the journal Pediatrics has found that popular cartoon and other characters can influence children’s food choices, and even preference, for the taste of a food.  According to thesd research, “children significantly prefer the taste of junk foods branded with licensed cartoon characters on the packaging, compared with the same foods without characters.”

Joan Salge Blake, Clinical Associate Professor of Nutrition at BU’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, says these findings support recent moves to limit or restrict the use of licensed characters on children’s snacks:

“In this study involving 40 children, ages 4 to 6 years old, researchers asked each child to taste, and then rate, identical packages of pairs of graham crackers, gummy fruit snacks, and carrots.  The only difference between the pairs of snack items was that one of packages had a sticker of a licensed character stuck on the front of the label.  The results showed that the kiddies significantly preferred the snack with the cartoon character on the label, as compared to the same food without the sticker.   The stickers also had an influence over the perceived taste of the food, as the children were significantly more likely to rate the taste of the graham crackers and gummy fruit snacks with the licensed character higher than the exact same, paired equivalent.”

“Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that these influential licensed characters should be restricted on unhealthy junk foods marketed to kids.”

“Ironically, last month, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity made a similar suggestion in their Report to the President. The Task Force recommended that all media companies limit the licensing of these child-friendly characters to only healthy foods and beverages.”

“Could licensed characters help improve children’s diets?  We only have to look to the very successful, Got Milk? Campaign to see how Hollywood influences consumer choices.  When the dairy industry noted a decline in milk consumption among Americans in the 1990’s, they painted milk mustaches on celebrities and milk sales increased.  If licensed characters were removed from the less healthy foods, and only plastered on Mother Nature’s finest in the produce aisle, perhaps kiddies would be screaming for Pooh Bear bananas.  It would be music to America’s ears.  It’s worth a shot as long as the consumer doesn’t have to pay extra for the sticker.”

Contact: Joan Salge Blake, 617-353-7470, salge@bu.edu

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