Clinical Research Track Experiences: Elizabeth Pesch, MSOT/S ‘16

Elizabeth Pesch, MSOT/S ‘16
Clinical Research Track: Family Caregiving Laboratory

Why did you choose WUOT for your occupational therapy education?

I chose WUOT because of the faculty here. Not only are they some of the brightest out there, but they are also the kindest! They are willing to take the time to help you grow in your knowledge and succeed as a student and future therapist.

Why did you choose the clinical research track option for your degree?

I chose the clinical research track option for my degree because I knew I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in a strong research-based institution to further my knowledge in topics that are interesting and exciting to me, and also relevant to practice.

Briefly describe the research lab you chose.

I am a part of the Family Caregiving Laboratory, which recognizes that when an individual’s health is impacted by a disability, their families are often impacted as well, and their needs must be addressed.

What project have you been involved with in your lab?

I have been involved in a qualitative research project that explores the intimacy and sexuality of spousal caregivers of individuals with stroke.

How does the clinical research experience contribute (beyond the rest of the set curriculum) to your overall skill and preparation as a generalist practitioner?

The research lab I’m a part of focuses on the caregiver. With the burden of care shifting to informal and family caregiving as adults are living longer and the baby boomer generation starts to age, it helps me prepare for looking at family members as clients too, and not simply the person I am treating.

What kind of guidance is provided by your faculty mentor?

My mentor, Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, instilled confidence in me to work through a lot of my project independently, but was always there to step in when I needed help. We met in her office, talked often, and exchanged emails. Help was always available.

How would you describe this experience to prospective students who may be interested in clinical research?

This was a wonderful opportunity for me to engage in qualitative research to examine a topic that is often left unaddressed by health-care providers.

How will this clinical research experience contribute to your career?

Clinical research was never something I thought I’d be a part of. However, knowing what I do now, moving forward I will be able to incorporate the knowledge I’ve gained to treat the client and their family as a single unit, and recognize the family member’s contributions to their loved one’s care.

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