Company Assets: Home-Grown Occupational Therapists With Clinical Doctorate Degrees

Today we are honored to feature another Filipino therapist on our website. Below is an article written and submitted to us by Iris Luanne De La Calzada, OTR/L who is based in Texas, USA.

By: Iris Luanne De La Calzada, OTR/L

Reviewing the literature of health professions related to workforce and market forces identified three key themes: changing demographics, cultural diversity, and a shrinking workforce whose members are not representative of the U.S. society. The changing U.S demographics predict an increasingly multicultural population that is aging, with a shrinking workforce, whose members will likely benefit from occupational therapy services (Coppard, Berthelette, Gaffney, Muir, Reitz, & Slater, 2009). The projected demand for an increased number of occupational therapists “who are more representative of the diverse global population who has a variety of skill levels” supports continuing the option to advance education to a doctorate level (Coppard, et al., 2009). The doctoral degree offers additional curricular content focusing on research skills, leadership, program and policy development, and advocacy, as well as “the doctoral experiential component with developing occupational therapists with advanced skills (those that are beyond a generalist level). There is also an increasing need for qualified occupational therapists as clinicians, faculty members, researchers, policy advocates, scientists, and innovative developers of services in urban and rural areas. However, research into the current U.S. workforce in occupational therapy reveals that the areas in dire need of education about the benefits of occupational therapy are in the healthcare facilities where the majority of the workforce is employed. A large percentage of this workforce is internationally trained therapists whose education levels are baccalaureate degrees that are deemed equivalent to an entry-level master’s degree. U.S. schools are not graduating enough occupational therapy students to address the need and this country will continue to recruit foreign-trained therapists internationally until this need is satisfied.

The key here is to educate the new recruits, especially internationally trained therapists, and new occupational therapy graduates about existing policies, the societal needs of this community, the current trends of practice, and to work together, growing professionally together while bringing in the special skills of both local and international training to advance the level of care for our communities through the creation of innovative programs and researching new possibilities of addressing our society’s needs.

Enhancing the education of working and practicing occupational therapists will better allow employers to recruit the practitioners of tomorrow who will serve our clients and profession well, ethically and professionally, and thus assist this country in addressing the severe shortage in the skilled workforce in this field.

Coppard, B., Berthelette, M., Gaffney, D., Muir, S., Reitz, S.M., and Slater, D.Y. (2009). Why Continue Two Points of Entry Education for Occupational Therapists? OT Practice. March 9, 2009 Issue. 10-14.

About the Author
Iris Luanne De La Calzada, OTR/LIris Luanne De La Calzada is a Staff Occupational Therapist at Valley Regional Medical Center, a 200-bed acute medical hospital in Brownsville, TX. She was recently promoted to the position of Clinical Manager of the Therapeutic Services Department. She received her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Cebu Velez College, Cebu City, Philippines in 2000.

Iris is a licensed OT in the Philippines. In 2004, she immigrated to the US, where she is an OTR in the states of Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and New Jersey. She has wide and varied experience in adult and pediatric physical dysfunction both in the Philippines and in the United States. Her chosen areas of specialty is in upper extremity adult physical dysfunction and occupational rehabilitation. Her occupational balance are long drives in the country, travelling, networking, blogging and shopping.

Occupational Therapy Accommodations for the Classroom

This has been posted at Theraconcepts but we would also like to share this valuable publication to the Angtherapist family.

We are pleased to present to you this handbook titled “Occupational Therapy Accommodations for the Classroom.” As written in the introduction, this handbook was originally developed for by the Ventura County SELPA OT Network as the Tool Chest and further expanded by the occupational therapists of the Pleasant Valley School District for use by OTs, student study team and IEP team members. One of the contributing staff from Pleasant Valley School District is no other than Dahlia Dosdos-Saavedra, a Filipino occupational therapist.

Occupational Therapy Accommodations for the Classroom

Click here for more publications.

To our dear friend Dahlia, many thanks! We are so proud of you!

Are you a Filipino therapist and would like to share any publications that you co-authored? Just contact us and send in a link or copy of your publication so we may share it with the rest of our colleagues.

Integrated Neuromuscular Taping Therapy

The following is an article submitted to us by another Filipino physical therapist colleague of ours. His contribution deserves custom picture framing and should be rightfully recognized.

Integrated Neuromuscular Taping Therapy
by Valentin C. Dones III, MSPT, PTRP, COMT, DMS, MP, AT

Functional movements are usually limited secondary to pain experienced by the patient. The pain may be due to neurological or musculoskeletal disorder. A lot of patients encountered in the physical therapy setting include those with low back pain, bicipital tendonitis, patellofemoral pain syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome or adhesive capsulitis among others. The physical therapy techniques which are usually used are hotpacks, therapeutic currents, ultrasound, stretching and exercises. Taping is seldom used. If utilized, it usually limits range of motion. More often, the physical therapist would ask the patient to limit his/her functional activities so as to wait healing of tissues and prevent exacerbation of soft tissue dysfunctions.

Taping techniques are also seldom, if not, used in frozen shoulder. Limiting the movement will further promote tightening of the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint. Patients are usually limited by pain. They avoid movements, such as getting objects overhead. These may cause sharp pain at the root of the shoulder. There are also instances wherein a patient with an ankle sprain is being asked to restrict an activity. This may be of significant interest to those who need to dance or run or engage in a particular type of sport. The conventional taping technique may cause severe restriction in the range of motion.

The Integrated Neuromuscular Taping Therapy (INMTT) is designed to promote motion in the functional pain free range. It uses tapes which are locally available. It has been proven in various case studies that it helps relieve pain and improve range of motion in patients with musculoskeletal syndrome. It relies on simple yet effective manual therapy techniques with use of tape to promote improvement.

A patient suffering from low back pain was asked to bend forward. He would complain of pain and paresthesia running down his thigh and leg. Upon application of INMTT, the patient immediately reported pain relief and absence of paresthesia. His Oswestry Functional Disability Index (a questionnaire for low back pain) after 5 applications demonstrated a clinically significant decrease in the scores which indicate functional improvement.

Another patient with scoliosis and low back pain scored 16 from the initial 31 in the Modified Oswestry Disability Index. This was after applying the INMTT in one session. The patient reported elimination of pain in the back.

Patient 2: Scoliosis with Low Back Pain

A patient with brachioradialis pain reported significant decrease in discomfort and pain after a single application of the INMTT.

This is a taping therapy. It involves use of tape after application of specific manual therapy techniques. The INMTT may be of significant value in the clinical practice of physical therapy in the future. Its easy to learn method yet scientific approach had been proven beneficial in cases of musculoskeletal complaints.

About the Author
Valentin C. Dones III, MSPT, PTRP, COMT, DMS is a certified manual therapist. He took up his Master’s Degree in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in the University of Santo Tomas in Collaboration with the University of South Australia. He is currently working as an instructor in the University of Santo Tomas – College of Rehabilitation Sciences. He is the integrated manual physical therapist of Clinica Sparoma and clinical supervisor of San Martin De Porres Rehabilitation and Medical Center. His main interest is manual therapy in orthopedics. If you have any inquiries, you may email Mr. Dones at or contact (63) 919-4077701.

If you would also like to submit articles to our website, please feel free to do so by clicking on the “Contact Us” link.

Water Shiatsu 1: A Physical Therapist’s Perspective

The What To Do With Your Differently-Abled Child Conference was recently held last November 19 to 24 in Quezon City, Philippines.

Our physical therapist colleague, Rev Cruz, gives us an interesting account on his blog, Perelandran Chronicles, of his first-hand experience when he attended the Water Shiatsu Course 1 Training, which was part of the said conference. Included in his blog entry are video clips and picture slideshows to give you better idea of what this technique is all about. Here is an excerpt of his article:

I have always been passionate about Watsu® ever since I received a basic introduction to it when I took a certification course in Sports for Physically Disabled Individuals in Tokyo, Japan (JICA sponsored). Ever since my professor lent me a training video, I’ve been integrating it if possible in my aquatherapy sessions, and demonstrating it in Aquatherapy classes. After receiving a Watsu® session, I’m convinced that this is something I could (actually, should) share to others. I saw it’s potentials as a therapeutic modality among patients especially those suffering from pain, spasticity and other conditions. And since then, I’ve been looking for opportunities to further my knowledge and skills in Watsu®, but was only limited by my lack of resources (The courses offered in Harbin Springs, California are quite expensive not to mention, I have to travel there first. The nearest I’ve found was in India last September, but I couldn’t leave my work in CAMP). It was providential that Quality Life Discoveries, per my recommendation, brought in the experts instead.

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Rev CruzRev Cruz is a physical therapist and ergonomist based in Cainta, Philippines who also works as a freelance graphic artist in his spare time. He is also a lecturer/professor for the UP Manila Community Health and Development Program.

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