Introducing the 2023 Rebuilding Together Howard University Fellows

January 31, 2023
by Shivanti Kariyawasam, Senior Manager, Programs, Research & Impact at Rebuilding Together National

Rebuilding Together has partnered with Howard University for a second year to offer occupational therapy students research fellowship opportunities in conjunction with developing the Rural Capacity Building (RCB) program for eight Rural Housing Development Organizations (RHDOs) throughout the United States. 

In this program, occupational therapy student fellows will continue to help RHDOs establish a strong foundation to deliver home repair/modification services in rural communities in a cost-effective and impactful manner. Students will work with Howard faculty to provide tailored technical assistance and training using a variety of occupational therapy approaches to ensure that the delivered home modifications will improve the functionality and increase independence of the neighbors receiving these services. Howard University was the first HBCU (Historically Black Colleges/Universities) to offer an occupational therapy program, and is ranked among the Top 100 Best Occupational Therapy graduate programs according to the US World and News Report. Among its talented and renowned faculty, the occupational therapy department includes eight faculty members who are certified aging in place specialists.

The fellowship program was originally launched last year in January 2022 with a positive response from the fellows and affiliates who participated. Affiliates reported that the fellows helped their program delivery perspective to become more person-centered and increased their understanding of accessibility and occupational therapy approaches. Fellows conveyed how their participation in the fellowship program increased their confidence and leadership skills, their understanding of the connection of housing, community and health and their desire to provide home modification recommendations and aging in place solutions in their future careers. 

This year, fellows will be working with Rebuilding Together affiliates serving communities in Josephine County, OR, Cottonwood County, MN, Levy County, FL and Green County, NC. While more than half of the 2023 fellows reported having some previous experience with home repair projects, all of them expressed an interest in growing their knowledge of nonprofit organizations and occupational therapy’s role in home repairs and modifications. Fellows reported feeling excited and thankful to participate in the fellowship program during their orientation. Stay tuned this spring to hear from fellows directly about their work with host affiliates! 

Introducing the 2023 Rebuilding Together Howard University Fellows & Host Affiliates