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New class enrolls in occupational therapy program (5/19/97)

Eighteen students -- 11 of them from the Rio Grande Valley -- have been accepted in the second class of the occupational therapy degree program at The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.

The program began in May 1996 with support from the South Texas/Border Region Health Education Initiative, a special legislative program to expand health-care education in the region. The inaugural class has 15 students who will graduate in December 1998. The new class begins May 27.

"We are very pleased with the increase in the number of students, particularly those from the Rio Grande Valley," said Judy Bowen, associate professor and program coordinator.

Occupational therapists are in high demand in the Rio Grande Valley, and the program is the first in the Valley to provide a bachelor's degree in the field. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, which directs the South Texas/Border Region initiative, shares its instructional program with UT-Pan Am.

"Over the past year, the program has become more widely known both on campus and in the community. The first class of students deserves to be commended for their considerable effort in helping shape the new program, and I know they are looking forward to having the new students join them," Bowen said.

Occupational therapists provide care that prevents or corrects physical, developmental, or emotional problems. They work in a variety of settings including rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, public schools, psychiatric hospitals, day care facilities, community agencies, and industrial sites.

Contact: Jim Barrett (210) 567-2570