Burn Survivor Shares True Value of OT with WCU Cohort

Not all lessons come from a textbook.

Berenice Monarrez, a burn survivor with Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, visited West Coast University’s Center for Graduate Studies last month to speak with MSOT students about the true value of rehabilitation.

WCU Assistant Professor Erin Murray, OTD, OTR/L worked to facilitate the dialogue between Monarrez and the cohort, so students could learn about her experience with pressure garments, therapy and understand her process to recovery.

“They loved it,” Murray said. “It’s a good chance for them to see some of the real meaning and role of OT and how it gets people back to their daily living.”

In January 2013, Monarrez was in a fire accident and had to be placed in a medically induced coma for three months. When she came out of her coma, she spent the next six months undergoing physical rehabilitation, mental health counseling and doing community outreach.

“She talked about the value of OT and what it means for burn survivors. She got them all psyched up and told them how important their job is,” Murray said. “Then she talked about some of the psychological healing, about how she wouldn’t leave the house for a while. (The MSOT students) were really engaged.”

The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for burn survivors and promote burn prevention education in California.

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