Amma Perozo featured in Michigan Occupational Therapy Association Student Member Spotlight

This article originally appeared in the Michigan Occupational Therapy Association newsletter. 

 Amma Perozo is a second-year student in the Master of Occupational Therapy program at Wayne State University's Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She decided to pursue occupational therapy (OT) as a career after completing a bachelor's in psychology and a master of arts in teaching English as a second language. Her bilingual skills in English and Spanish, culturally diverse upbringing in an immigrant family from Ghana, and international experiences on mission trips sensitize her to the needs of diverse population groups.

Her OT advocacy efforts include speaking to high school students, particularly racial/ ethnic minorities underrepresented in health care professions. As the preprofessional representative of the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) board. On a monthly basis she schedules student volunteers to interact with prospective OT students. She has developed and created a presentation in Spanish explaining the role of OT in health care and has also shared it with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). She believes that these outreach efforts will increase the visibility of occupational therapy not just among the local Latino community but also globally.

Amma exceeds the expectations as a typical MOT student by successfully managing a full-time workload as an occupational therapy student with a high GPA while working part-time as a clinician and researcher. Her academic acumen caused her to be selected as a volunteer teaching assistant for the foundational course in neuroanatomy and physiology in fall 2020. Outside of the classroom she volunteers time to improve the quality of life of people with neurocognitive challenges. For example, in fall 2019, she worked at a local art fair hosted by a sheltered workshop for people recovering from traumatic brain injury. She facilitated their skills to modulate the sensory stimuli during the cash transactions at this event. On a state and national level, she makes time to participate as a student member of MiOTA and AOTA.

Amma’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of people with disabilities is exemplified by her participation in an interdisciplinary one-year training in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND). Amma was the first MOT student from WSU to be selected to participate in the LEND, which is a federally funded consortium between eight universities in Michigan. Amma is clearly an emerging leader in Michigan committed to improving the lives of people with atypical developmental trajectories. 

Amma has provided care to people with disabilities for the past 10 years. Her roles as a formal and informal caregiver challenges her to modify the environment to increase adaptive skills and functional independence of her care-recipients. Her varsity experiences as a volleyball student athlete sparked her interest to work as a research assistant on a federally funded project aimed at improving the physical activity and health of children with developmental disabilities. As a rehabilitation technician she is never shy to get involved (in-person or virtually) with her clients when they try to complete physically demanding exercise routines. Thus, she will make an excellent occupational therapist who is culturally sensitive and empathetic to their diverse needs.

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