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Home > Blog > April 2016 > Aliana Santa Cruz Discovers Exciting World of Occupational Therapy

Aliana Santa Cruz Discovers Exciting World of Occupational Therapy

Posted: April 19, 2016 by Elizabeth Baker


April is Occupational Therapy Month. To celebrate and acknowledge our successful occupational therapy assistant graduates, we are telling some of their inspiring stories throughout the month.

Occupational therapy assistants help patients with disabilities or injuries regain a more independent life by providing then with effective treatments. It’s an incredibly challenging and rewarding job that allows them to work directly with patients on their physical, psychological and social needs, helping them rebuild their health, independence and self-esteem.

Aliana Santa Cruz is a great example. In 2012, she graduated from Pima Medical Institute’s Tucson campus. She attributes a lot of her interest in the profession to her mother, a children’s developmental specialist and support coordinator for the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Aliana Santa Cruz works with a toy that helps children improve cognitive ablities
Aliana Santa Cruz at work.

“At a very young age, I developed a sense of compassion and love for these children she was helping,” Aliana recalls. “As I grew into adulthood, I had some trouble finding my way and did not make very good life choices. But in my late 20s, when I was ready to make a change, my mother suggested the occupational therapy assistant program at Pima Medical Institute. She felt I would be a good fit in that profession.”

Aliana soon discovered the program was challenging, but with the support of her instructors and classmates, she was able to graduate. “When finishing the program, I really felt as though I had not only gained knowledge to be a good entry-level clinician, but also gained a family in my classmates and instructors.”

Since graduating, Aliana has worked in skilled nursing facilities and, less than one year after graduating, she was promoted to the title of Rehab Coordinator, where she managed and supervised a rehabilitation team in Phoenix. Currently she is Director of Rehabilitation at a facility in Sun City, Ariz.

“Pima Medical gave me the tools necessary to grow professionally and to follow my dreams, and I’m so grateful.”

The OTA program is offered at Pima Medical’s Mesa and Tucson campuses in Arizona, in Denver, Las Vegas, El Paso and Houston, Texas and Renton, Washington. To learn more, visit http://pmi.edu/Programs/Associate/Occupational-Therapy-Assistant.





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