Koob Moua, OTD/S ‘17
Clinical Research Track: Health and Disability Research Laboratory
Why did you choose WUOT for your occupational therapy education?
I initially chose WUOT for my occupational therapy education because of its ranking in OT education. The more I was exposed to WUOT, the more I began to understand why WUOT distinguishes itself from other programs. They provide us with professionalism, clinical skills, research opportunities, and most importantly - a friendly faculty staff. The latter portion of this list means a lot to me and I think this has made the biggest difference.
Why did you choose the clinical research track option for your degree?
After receiving insight from my lab mentor and other faculty, I decided the clinical research track was a great fit for me. The biggest reason I chose the clinical research track was because I knew that I wasn’t going to be given such a great opportunity elsewhere had I chosen a different school. Looking at the bigger picture and where AOTA’s Centennial Vision is heading, I wanted to be a part of this movement of how evidence-based practice will influence how OTs will practice in the future. I wanted to capitalize on all of my opportunities here at WUOT. In addition, I knew I was going to regret my decision in the future if I didn’t take the opportunity now to pursue the clinical research track.
Briefly describe the research lab you chose.
I am working with the wonderful Dr. Alex Wong, and we’re looking to develop a patient-reported outcome (PRO) assessment for cancer survivors. I was incredibly lucky with how everything played out. The cancer survivor population appealed to me, and so was being able to develop my research skills. I considered Dr. Wong and Dr. Allison King when selecting lab mentors; it just so happens that they were working together.
What project/s are you involved with in your lab?
My current project is to develop a formal PRO assessment for cancer survivors measuring productivity.
How does the clinical research experience contribute (beyond the rest of the set curriculum) to your overall skill and preparation as a generalist practitioner?
It will provide me with a tremendous amount of knowledge with the specific population that I am working with in my lab. Aside from this, learning how to look for new literature about a specific population and what is the most efficacious intervention to implement as a practitioner will prepare me for my clinical experience.
What kind of guidance is provided by your faculty mentor?
If I listed everything about Dr. Wong's guidance, this would turn into an essay. To put it simply, he is wonderful at all corners. He provides me with direction and guidance but not too much. He lets me make my mistakes, challenges me to manage my own time, and is available at all times to help when you need it. Couldn’t ask for a better mentor.
How would you describe this experience to prospective students who may be interested in clinical research?
It’s a very rewarding experience. I’m starting a project from scratch and I wouldn’t have been given this opportunity elsewhere. The more you look around the WUOT facility, the more you will realize how integrated we are with other health-care professionals. Take that for what it’s worth and capitalize on opportunities with your time here at WUOT.
How will this clinical research experience contribute to your career?
It’s much more than developing a project. You get an opportunity to develop your professional skills and share your opinion. Time management becomes a skill. You learn to manage your invested time in research in alignment with the school load and your personal life. It all essentially ties into occupational balance and how learning it early on will only translate and prepare you as a future professional.
In addition, a lot more opportunities have opened up to me that would not have if I didn’t take the clinical research track. Currently, my experiences in research will guide my way into securing a postdoc position.
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Current, future, and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion, followed by a tour that’s led by one of our current occupational therapy students.
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