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OT students accepted to Vanderbilt’s LEND program

MILLIGAN — Two Milligan University Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) students, Kelsie Gustason and Makenzie Holtermann, have been selected as trainees for the 2020-21 Vanderbilt University Consortium Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment and Related Disabilities (LEND) program.
Vanderbilt’s LEND program is an intensive 300-hour training program that prepares professionals in a variety of specialties to provide culturally sensitive, patient- and family-centered care to children and youth with special healthcare needs. The program is competitive, selecting only 15 trainees each year.
“The LEND Program allows our OT students the opportunity to learn from and interact with faculty and students from a wide range of professions as they deepen their knowledge of neurodevelopmental disabilities,” said Dr. Christy Isbell, Milligan’s OT program director and area chair. “LEND training guides our students in the development of leadership skills and practical skills they will carry for years to come. This is one more piece in their efforts to becoming servant-leaders in the field of occupational therapy.”
Gustason, of Blairsville, Ga., first became interested in occupational therapy while volunteering with her father at an annual fishing derby for students enrolled in special education. When applying to OT programs, Milligan was her first choice because of its strong community and focus on servant-leadership. As she prepares for her career, she is grateful for the ability to participate in programs like LEND for additional professional development.
“It is a privilege to work through LEND’s learning modules alongside students and faculty in areas such as medicine, physical therapy, speech therapy, genetic counseling, special education, public health and more,” said Gustason. “In this program, I am already learning so much about these professions and how working together allows us to provide the best quality of care to those we serve.”
Holtermann, of Clovis, Calif., plans to work as an occupational therapist in a pediatric setting. Her participation in the LEND program is teaching her more about various neurodevelopmental disorders she will likely treat throughout her profession.
Holtermann is also proud to represent and share the strengths of Milligan’s OT program among students and faculty from other universities.
“I’m pretty far from home, but I’ve been able to make a new family with my classmates and teachers here at Milligan,” said Holtermann. “I’m thankful to have the opportunity to learn from teachers that genuinely care about my learning, as well as me as a person. It’s also refreshing to learn from teachers that are still practicing occupational therapy.”
Milligan’s OT program prepares professionals to assist people of all ages to live life to its fullest by promoting health and reducing illness, injury or disability. 
For more information on Milligan’s OT program, visit milligan.edu/msot.