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International Story CHS Alumnus Establishes New OT Program in Kuwait

CHS alumnus Musaed Alnaser, Ph.D.
CHS alumnus Musaed Alnaser, Ph.D.

College of Health Sciences (CHS) graduate, Musaed Alnaser, Ph.D. (pictured right), assistant professor, Kuwait University, played a key role in establishing an Occupational Therapy (OT) program in 2008 after many years of planning.

Kuwait University, founded in 1965, has over 20,000 students. The College of Allied Health Sciences offers programs in Physical Therapy, Medical Laboratory, Health Information and Radiology. The new OT program will round out the offerings. Currently 500 students are enrolled in the College and there are 43 professors.

Occupational therapy has been practiced for over 20 years in Kuwait, though in a limited way at hospitals and by non-Kuwaiti occupational therapists. In the late 1980s, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health proposed that students be given scholarships to study OT abroad. Alnaser was among the first students that went to the U.S.

He said, “I chose occupational therapy because I wanted a career in health care, which I believed would become a growing area.” UWM became his school of choice because “I liked the OT program there, the location and the weather since I come from a hot climate.”

He graduated with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy and returned to the U.S. to continue his studies, receiving a master’s in Ergonomics from San Jose State University in 2003 and a Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in 2006.

Speaking about his time in Milwaukee, he commented, “Being far away from home, I enjoyed the sense of family in the OT program. I also enjoyed the friendships I made with students.” He also was and still is a Green Bay Packers’ fan.

The new OT program confers a B.S. in Occupational Therapy, but the curriculum will be flexible and adaptable for expansion into an M.S. in the future. Ten students were accepted for the first and second year of the program and will increase to forty students as it grows in experience and support.

He said, “We hope to establish an excellent occupational therapy educational and training program that reflects current trends which affect the delivery of health care services. We hope to graduate skillful, knowledgeable, competent and committed OTs, who can contribute in the health care team and meet the changing demands of local societal health.”

Alnaser, together with colleagues, designed and developed the curriculum based on their examination of the local contexts, Kuwait health care statistics, hospitals and clinics’ needs for OT services in Kuwait and external OT programs.

UWM’s OT program, with its course contents, was one of those reviewed, and in the end they decided to include some courses from UWM in their curriculum.Alnaser also teaches at Kuwait University and is working on several research studies, including work-related musculoskeletal injuries, patients’ satisfaction and accessibility. He is also guest editor for a special issue of WORK, a Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation.

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