Accreditation heightens professionalism

Monday, June 25, 2018

ARLINGTON, Va. – The RESNA Committee on Accreditation, in conjunction with the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program, has accredited the first group of universities with assistive technology programs that meet certain standards.

The accreditation process includes an application, a self-study and an onsite review, says Roger Smith, Ph.D., OT, FAOTA, RESNA Fellow, the president of RESNA and a professor in the Department of Occupational Science & Technology in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“We find that professionalism becomes a real thing in the field when there are universities that have accredited training programs,” he said.

The accreditation, which costs $4,000, focuses on assistive technology but is broad enough that it crosses many different areas, and diseases and diagnoses, Smith said.

RESNA is now working to spread the word about the accreditation and emphasize its flexibility, says Mary Ellen Bunning, president-elect of RESNA and a retired occupational therapist that specialized primarily in wheelchair seating and mobility.

“It works for a post-secondary education setting, for a graduate program, for an associate program,” she said. “Even if a university is just developing an AT program, they could go through the process and establish the program or built it or structure it so it meets the criteria.”