University receives grant to assist severely mentally ill

New program to aid community, provide field experience for occupational therapy students | February 10, 2004

The University has received a $24,171 grant from The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati to create a community program to assist the chronically mentally ill. In addition to offering a service to the community, the program also is providing field service opportunities for Xavier's occupational therapy students.

Heather A. Gallew, assistant professor for occupational therapy, is project director for the two-year grant, which begins in June 2004. The program is titled "A Community and Academic Collaboration to Restore Health and Occupation in Individuals with Chronic Mental Illness."

The program's purpose is to improve the health and productivity of people with severe mental illness who attend the Queen City/Mitchell Center (QC/M). The grant is funding occupational therapy intervention programs, including modules on healthy lifestyles and a job club.

The QC/M Center is a non-profit agency funded through the Hamilton County Community Mental Health Board that serves about 200 mentally ill individuals who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or other personality disorders. The new program aims to help clients acquire healthy habits and routines that can provide stability and quality of life, to develop feelings of self-efficacy and mental well being, and to acquire employment (paid or volunteer) in the local community.

The modules will constitute intensive fieldwork placement experiences for Xavier occupational therapy students, providing an innovative means of incorporating learning, research and client intervention into the curriculum. Xavier's department of occupational therapy has 34 undergraduate majors and 10 graduate students. In the fall of 2004, it is becoming an exclusively graduate-level program in response to new licensing requirements.

The grant was awarded through the Severe Mental Illness focus area of The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, an independent social welfare organization dedicated to improving community health. The foundation awards grants to non-profit and government organizations for programs and activities to improve health in Cincinnati and 20 surrounding counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.