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GroupshotThe 2013 International Innovation Project (IIP) took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, at Metropolitan University College from August 19 through September 27. Students from Seton Hall's School of Health and Medical Sciences (SHMS) joined with their peers from Metropolitan as well as Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland, and MGH Institute for Health Professions in Boston, Massachusetts, for the annual collaboration.  

For the first time, participants were recruited across SHMS' professional programs, and five graduate students accepted the challenge: Lauren Dover and Rachel Sellers from the M.S. in Occupational Therapy program, Paulette Stone and Joseph Selimo from the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program and Emily Balint from the M.S. in Physician Assistant program.

The working life site was Sundholm, a homeless shelter in Copenhagen. The challenge was to better use the outdoor facilities. Interviews and interactions with the users (both staff and clients) suggested a variety of needs to be met. Among the projects were:

  • Glade Meritähti (Happy Starfish): the creation of a safe space for all the users in this location with availability of outdoor sports

  • Vores Fokus (Our Focus): a project involving the homeless with photography (and a space to display and sell work)

  • Sundspiral: a landscaping effort to make the outdoor space more weather resistant, with more seating areas and noise reduction

  • Hot Spots: included both user-generated energy from a stationary bike and photovoltaic cells to light and heat the outdoor area

  • The Pod: a portable mini-shelter for individuals who cannot be accommodated by the main shelter (project is currently pursuing patents and licensing)

Stone, a DPT student from SHMS, says she feels lucky to have taken part in the IIP experience. "By collaborating with students from various disciplines and countries, I was pushed to think 'outside the box' in order to bring positive and effective change for those in need. In addition to sharing my own ideals and knowledge, I learned about unique aspects of diverse governmental and healthcare systems, thus furthering my global understanding as a future healthcare professional." Stone says she would "highly recommend" the IIP program to others. "These tools are everlasting," she says.   

At the conclusion of the IIP experience, "Vores Fokus (Our Focus)" received the "Best Project Award." Dr. Leslie Gross Portney, Professor and Dean at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the MGH Institute, noted that the presentations were "a wonderful finale to this remarkable experience!" She said to the students: "You are all impressive leaders."   

Next year, the MGH Institute will host the IIP 2014 in Boston from August 7 to September 12.

Read more about the IIP in the Fall 2012 and Fall 2013 issues of Insights magazine, published annually by SHMS.

For more information please contact:
Elizabeth M. Torcivia, PhD, OTR
(973) 275-2920


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