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Press Release  
Release Date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 1:47 PM
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Media Contact:
Sholnn Freeman
Communications Specialist
Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology Students Participate in Dominican Republic Service-Learning Projects

Team of 10 Howard graduate students served more than 100 children and their families.

WASHINGTON (Aug. 1, 2013) – Howard University graduate students from the departments of Occupational Therapy and Communication Sciences and Disorders Speech-Language Pathology completed a service-learning fieldwork and clinical practicum in theDominican Republic from June 23 to July 7.

The team of 10 students served more than 100 children and their families and visited local hospitals and rehabilitation clinics. The students were accompanied by Felecia M. Banks, Ph.D., OT/L, chairperson of the Department of Occupational Therapy; Martine Elie, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, director of the Speech and Hearing Clinic at Howard; and Sertia Poindexter, M.S., OTR/L, an occupational therapy clinical instructor.

 “This was a great opportunity for our students to engage in an inter-professional educational experience and contribute to an international community service-learning project as a part of a health-care team,” Dr. Banks said. “The Dominican people have many health-care needs, and rehabilitation is an important aspect of their care.”

Dr. Elie said the service-learning experience gave students an opportunity to both observe and provide collaborative speech language pathology and occupational therapy services. 

“The students realized the major need for their services in both the medical and education settings as well as issues surrounding social justice and health among various people in the Dominican Republic,” Dr. Elie said.

Howard speech-language pathology students who traveled to the Dominican Republic were Quintina Briscoe, Brittani Hightower, Alicia Thompson, and Kierra Villines. The occupational therapy students were Kimberly Hagwood, Erika Haley, Brittany Muse, Shardae Portee , Lanita Sumpter and Sara Westmore.


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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