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Susan Blanton: Beyond science

Susan Blanton: Beyond science

ATLANTA - It's not unusual for OTs and PTs to go through their undergraduate education with little to no exposure to liberal arts and humanities. That's a problem, says Sarah Blanton, the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, a free, peer-reviewed online journal “to raise the consciousness and deepen the intellect of the humanistic relationship in the rehabilitation sciences.” Here's what Blanton, also an assistant professor in the Division of Physical Therapy at Emory University School of Medicine, had to say about how OT and PT is more than just science, especially when it comes to people with disabilities.

HME News: Why should OTs and PTs have exposure to liberal arts and humanities?

Sarah Blanton: Most students come into our program with a background in exercise science, so they have no background in liberal arts and humanities. The liberal arts and humanities provide a lens for us to view our work that fosters a sense of reflexivity to be better able to look at different perspectives and use creative problem solving.

HME: How does that view have an impact day-to-day?

Blanton: When thinking about a new wheelchair, for example, if I understand the concepts of visual design, then I can think on a deeper level about technology and the perspectives of the person using it. Without that, we're losing sight of why we're here: truly helping other people, as cliché as that sounds.

HME: How does the journal help inform the liberal arts and humanities side of rehabilitation?

Blanton: What's unique about rehab is it's very interdisciplinary. It's about OTs and PTs working with medical equipment companies and ATPs and others. So it brings them all together and gets them to hear each others' voices.

HME: Have you been getting an adequate number of submissions to sustain the journal?

Blanton: That part has been coming along nicely. It's a steady flow. We're more restricted in that we don't have enough staff to publish more frequently. Right now, we're biyearly and we'd like to at least get up to quarterly.

HME: How are you looking into publishling more frequently?

Blanton: Our sole sponsor since we started publishing in 2015 has been Emory and they have been great. We're experimenting with a corporate sponsor page, but we want to make sure that their intentions are aligned with ours. We're in unchartered territory.


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