Dr. Fred Sammons, an occupational therapist who received national and international recognition as a highly accomplished clinician, inventor, and philanthropist, has established an endowment to support the Sammons Center for Innovation and Research in Occupation Based Technology.
This center is under the co-direction of Dr. Ben Atchison, chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, and Dr. Sammons, along with a skilled group of board members who have been instrumental in shaping the mission, philosophy, and direction of the center.
"The philosophy of the Sammons Center is that the ability to participate and engage in everyday occupation is a fundamental goal and basic right for all persons," said Dr. Atchison. "We believe that innovation and research in technology must be transformative so that the outcome enables a better way to live, with or without a disability."
The center's mission is to provide a platform for visionaries to promote progress in occupation through technology. This is accomplished by bringing together an interprofessional team of people and organizations with the interest and expertise to support visionaries to create, design, develop, disseminate, and evaluate specific products to enable better occupation through technology.
The center accepts proposals from innovators with ideas for designs for occupation-based technology to help people participate more effectively or independently. Interested parties simply complete a Request for proposals form and submit it to the center. Deadlines are Feb. 1, June 1 and Oct. 1 each year.
To date, three grants have been awarded:
- Carolyn Sithong - The Home for Life Home Assessment app is being used by 10 universities and about 50 individual users since it launched at AOTA last year. It is being piloted at Mary Free Bed in their home and community practice. An online training system is being refined and a psychometric study for the validity and reliability of the app is underway.
- Ann Chapleau - GAS App will be in app stores by January 2017. The project represents the second interprofessional collaboration between the CHHS and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences - a model for advancing healthcare through technology. Dr. Chapleau is currently establishing external beta testing sites for fall semester, both clinical and academic, to assist in further app refinement prior to commercial release.
- Delana Honaker - KidLife Apps - The grant will support video recording costs for an inter-rater reliability study, which should take place June 2016. Since receiving the award from the Sammons Center, Dr. Honaker has also applied for two federal Small Business Innovations Research Phase I grants which have previously awarded funds for mobile apps that benefit education and pediatric services.
More information about the Sammons Center can be found on the center's website: wmich.edu/occupationtechnologycenter.