Clinical Research Track Experiences: Gina Spiewak, MSOT/S ‘14

Gina Spiewak, MSOT/S ‘14
Clinical Research Track: Disability and Community Participation Research Office

Why did you choose WUOT for your occupational therapy education?
I chose WUOT because I was interested in the breadth of the education that I knew I would receive in this Program. Over my past two years, I have learned about OT in pediatrics, hand therapy, geriatrics, rehabilitation, mental health, community settings, and everything in between.

Why did you choose the clinical research track option for your degree?
I knew that Dr. Gray has done research on community participation, and I was very interested in that topic.

Briefly describe the clinical research lab you chose.
Dr. Gray’s Disability and Community Participation Research Office lab focuses on community participation. Some of his projects include measures for usability of community sites, work participation, and parenting. The Gray lab is in the process of creating a Google map that lists accessibility and usability information for various community sites.

What project/s are you involved with in your lab?
I was involved in a project that created a hotel usability assessment.

How does the clinical research experience contribute (beyond the rest of the set curriculum) to your overall skill and preparation as a generalist practitioner?
I believe that my research has given me a significantly greater understanding of the environmental barriers and facilitators in the community. I will be able to show the Google map to my future clients who have mobility limitations so they know which restaurants, stores, and hotels best fit their needs.

What kind of guidance is provided by your faculty mentor?
Dr. Gray has been very helpful in this process. As a mentor, he expects students to be rather independent, but he is there if you ever need help or have questions.

How would you describe this experience to prospective students who may be interested in clinical research?
There was definitely a lot of work with my project, but I felt that it was manageable. I appreciate that the measure that I helped create will be usable and can provide information for people with disabilities to make decisions about where they go and what they do.

How will this clinical research experience contribute to your career?
This research has given me inspiration for my career. My project has helped me to realize the breadth of OT. In my practice and interactions with clients, I will focus on every aspect of their lives from their time in OT and beyond into the community.

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