Occupational Therapy students receive scholarships to pursue Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

The Hilda Fine Endowed Gerontology Scholarship Fund provides support for students pursuing the University's graduate certificate program for healthcare professionals.

Pacific University School of Occupational Therapy students Chris Beard and Man Wa Shing are the initial award recipients from a newly established scholarship fund for those pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology at Pacific. 

The Hilda Fine Endowed Gerontology Scholarship Fund is named after the grandmother of Gerontology program director and occupational therapy professor Linda Hunt.

Beard and Shing are expected to earn the certificate on their way to earning a master of occupational therapy degree. Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the fund.

A native of Lithuania, Fine immigrated to the United States with her two young children to avoid persecution. 

She cared deeply for Hunt and cultivated Hunt's compassion for others as they age.

Upon Fine's death, Hunt sought out older adults for their company and developed a love for the elderly population.

The focus of Pacific's Graduate Certificate in Gerontology program is to educate healthcare professionals to best provide humane care to their aging patients or clients.

Distributions from the scholarship fund are awarded to healthcare professionals who make significant contributions to the quality of life for older adults.

Beard has forged friendships with several senior citizens and hopes to work with older adults when she begins her career in occupational therapy. 

Thus far, she has developed education materials for an older man with Parkinson's Disease, led in-service education on the interconnectedness of pain and cognition for therapists at a hospital and edited publications for an outpatient clinic. 

Additionally, Beard and her husband have cared for several older adults by providing transportation, performing home improvement tasks, grocery shopping and hosting them for holiday gatherings. 

She is actively involved in the Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon and its student counterpart.

"After graduation, I plan to proactively search out evidence in best practice and follow my instinct to ensure compassionate care for the most vulnerable among us," Beard said.

Shing said she naturally has gravitated toward working with older adults, as it is a strong value within her Chinese heritage.

"In addition to reshaping my career interest from disease prevention to health promotion, the gerontology courses I have taken at Pacific thus far have encouraged me to apply what I learn and create small changes that matter."

Like Beard, Shing has revised publications for a facility she conducts fieldwork at, and developed a pain management through relaxation plan for an in-service group at the facility.

"One of the patients said she truly enjoyed the exercises," Shing said. "It was very satisfying to witness improvements in patient services and positive outcomes as a result of my efforts." 

For more information on how to support the Hilda Fine Endowed Gerontology Scholarship Fund, please call (503) 352-7354.

Posted by Joe Lang (jlang@pacificu.edu) on Jun 8, 2012 at 5:41 PM

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