Last week, the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) celebrated the launch of the new Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MScOT) program. The program, which has until recently only been offered at the St. George campus, was brought to UTM to meet the increase in applicants for the program.

Last year, 953 applications were submitted even though only 90 spots were available.

The new program, offered through UTM’s Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM), is offering 40 new spots.

Vice-President and Principal Ulrich Krull praised the expansion, stating, “[the MScOT program] provides opportunities through your own creativity and your own exploration of how you move creativity into practice —that is the process of innovation.”

Krull previously told The Medium that it is the university’s mission to become “an internationally significant research university with undergraduate, graduate and professional programs of high quality,” which the 24-month Master program contributes to.

Held in the Rotunda of the Innovation Complex, the reception brought together professors, administrators, and students enrolled in the program to reflect on the expansion and successes of MAM and UTM.

“Occupational therapy education and practice started in rapidly expanding communities where wounded veterans were returning to their homes and jobs, and where many immigrants were adjusting to new ways of life,” said Susan Rappolt, chair of the department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy lead organizer of the program’s expansion, during the reception.

“In more recent history,” she continued, “under the leadership of two former U of T chairs, the department and the MScOT program have renewed their focus on health and wellness in communities.

The hour-long event included a presentation by Bonnie Kirsh, a professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, who spoke about a study she is co-leading that involves using occupational therapy to enhance student mental health. The therapy emphasizes building cognitive strategies and developing problem-solving skills.

The reception concluded with a duo of student musicians playing classical music on violin and cello.