Winter 2023 Newsletter
By Darshon Reed, Ph.D. & Kalista Pettus
College of Health and Behavioral Sciences
University of Central Arkansas
The students in the College of Health & Behavioral Sciences at UCA are making a difference in the lives of Central Arkansans at risk for or diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD), as well as their caregivers through the Interprofessional Therapeutic Activity Program (I-TAP). The I-TAP consists of four sub-programs including the Student-Led Therapeutic Activity Program (S-TAP), Student-Led Dementia Caregiver Coaching Program (S-DCCP), Resilient Care Support Group, and the Student-Led Wellness Screening Clinic (S-WSC). With these four sub-programs, I-TAP meets the needs of older Central Arkansans that are at risk or already diagnosed with dementia or related diseases and their caregivers. These programs aim to improve quality of life for the participants as well as provide support and resources to the caregivers, which has been identified as a critical need in Central Arkansas. The I-TAP program is unique and innovative as all of its sub-programs utilize interprofessional collaboration of undergraduate and graduate students who are under the supervision of licensed clinicians. It is meant to increase access and quality of care as well as to provide educational resources to both those affected with such diseases and the public.
The Student-Led Therapeutic Activity Program (S-TAP) will run during the spring 2023 semester. During this time, over 75 students from Exercise Science, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy will provide wellness education, physical activity, cognitive engagement, and risk assessment to improve quality of life, while providing respite and support for caregivers. Sessions for this program will be held one to two times a month. Each session will be approximately an hour to an hour and a half with part being individual activities and the other part being group focused activities.
The Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Arkansas State Plan 2021-2025 prioritizes the need for accessible services for ADRD including: 1) public awareness and education, 2) access and quality of care, 3) family caregiver support, & 4) dementia training and workforce development. The I-TAP addresses all four of these priority issues by engaging health professions students to perform interventions that provide education, physical activity, cognitive engagement, caregiver respite and support, and risk assessment. Involvement of students bolsters workforce development by increasing healthcare professionals’ knowledge regarding the complex needs of those with ADRD and their caregivers. Further, I-TAP programs are free of charge to all participants, which allows access despite financial resources. Financial support for the program has been generously provided through a recent grant from the Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas in the amount of $51,801.00 which will fund the program for the entirety of 2023. Dr. Kerry Jordan and Dr. Melissa Allen received this grant from the Blue and You Foundation to continue to meet the needs of Central Arkansas while simultaneously providing training opportunities for students.