RHB Alum Welcomes First Texas Class to New Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

Col. Enrique Smith-Forbes, PhD, OTR/L, CHT, who received his PhD from the Rehabilitation and Health Sciences PhD Program in 2015 before going on to be stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, recently joined the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence (MEDCoE) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston to welcome the inaugural class of 11 students to the Army-Baylor University Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program at MEDCoE.

It is important for Col. Smith-Forbes for several reasons, not the least of which being that he is director of the Army-Baylor University Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program.

Col. Smith-Forbes knows a little bit about attending ceremonies. In November, 2020, he received the College of Health Sciences' Young Alumni Award at our Hall of Fame and Young Alumni Award Virtual Celebration. Now, the opening of the newly renovated Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program Activities of Daily Living lab will help in meeting program requirements and enhance the learning experience for the students in his program.

The program will provide advanced training to occupational therapists, helping to meet the mental and physical needs of serving the Army force. Serving in a variety of practice areas, the new graduates will be members of the Army Medical Specialist Corps, which includes physical therapists, dietitians, and physician assistants.

Program graduates will learn advanced practice skills that include a focus on wellness, as well as cognitive and mental health, behavioral health, upper extremity evaluation and research.

“This program comes to meet the needs for the Army’s new Holistic Health and Fitness System, the H2F. The occupational therapist, in addition with the physical therapist and the registered dietitian, are going to be part of the H2F team, the Holistic Health and Fitness team. They will be embedded into the brigades of the units and will help the soldiers in their readiness and optimize the performance of the American Soldier,” Col. Smith-Forbes said.

H2F is the Army’s doctrine of force readiness and lethality and optimal physical and non-physical performance. The goal of H2F is to help service members in reducing injury rates, improving rehabilitation after injury and increasing the overall effectiveness of the Army force.

Students will complete 18 months of coursework and 12 months of clinical and research work at a military treatment facility or hospital to graduate. The program received candidacy status from The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education through 2024. If granted full accreditation, graduates will be eligible to take the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and to apply for a state license.

Col. Smith-Forbes graduated from UK in 2015 and went on to be stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He currently serves as Associate Professor and founding Program Director of the United States Army Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program at the Medical Center of Excellence in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Col. Smith-Forbes has served as a mentor to many students during his time in these roles which ultimately resulted in the publication of three peer-reviewed publications, four national oral presentations, and twenty poster presentations that he co-authored with the students that he mentored. 

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