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Research Project Receives Positive Feedback At National Conference

Places for People’s Tim McKay and graduates of Maryville University’s Master of Occupational Therapy program presented a new assessment to help people living with severe mental illness and substance use disorders at a national conference last weekend.

McKay and four graduates of Maryville University’s Master of Occupational Therapy program presented a poster about a Social Participation and Community Integration (SPCI) assessment that was developed in the spring of 2018. The presentation was made on Saturday at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

“The experience was very rewarding,” McKay said. “You never know what to expect at a conference and how people will react to your work.”

The collaborative project last spring between six Maryville University students (Erica Brown, Courtney Busken, Abby Dold, Emily Elmendorf, Morgan Lambert and Brittany Simpson) and Places for People produced the new assessment that might one day be used worldwide to help people living with mental illness improve social participation and community integration. McKay, an Occupational Therapist who is an adjunct professor at Maryville and a team leader at Places for People, served as project mentor.

“The feedback we received was very positive,” McKay said. “We were told by multiple attendees that the assessment we created was very needed within the population that we work with.”

The group found a potential research partner, and also received an offer to buy the instrument.

“The group did an amazing job interacting with other professionals and explaining the focus of our project,” McKay said. “It was really great to be a part of this group. They worked really hard and to have such positive feedback validated that effort.”