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D'Youville Alum is Helping the Bahamas Heal

Wednesday, September 18, 2019  
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Even before Hurricane Dorian, Shenika McIntosh's story was compelling. From the start, she knew that her destiny was to bring occupational therapy to the Bahamas, change healthcare, and touch lives in the process. Shenika has accomplished so much in the less than ten years since graduating from the D'Youville College Occupational Therapy Program. Yet there was no way for her to predict just how much her skills, knowledge, and strong sense of leadership would be needed in the aftermath of Dorian's destruction...

 

D'Youville Alum is Helping the Bahamas to Heal
by Theresa Vallone
Chairperson, Occupational Therapy, D’Youville College

Shenika McIntosh is a 2011 alum of the BS/MS Occupational Therapy Program. She came to D’Youville College from the Bahamas and when I met her, I asked her if she intended to work in the USA or return to her country upon graduation. I distinctly recall her reply which was filled with a deep loyalty and conviction that she would return home to change healthcare in her country. Since her return to the Bahamas soon after graduation, she has established The Occupational Therapy Association of The Bahamas (OTAB), positioned herself to be her country’s representative to the World Federation of OT and designed and developed her own company, Occupational Therapy Consulting Services.

As soon as Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, I contacted Shenika through Messenger and I have been able to stay connected to her since. Below is a summation of her plight thus far.

 

Hi Theresa,

I pray that all is well with you and your family. Thank you so much for your support and prayers during this difficult time for both my family and country.
I am originally from the island of Abaco but I currently reside and work on the island of New Providence, which is the capital of The Bahamas. All immediate family members were found (mother, brother, niece grandparents, aunts, uncles) and my seven-year old cousin was confirmed dead. Nineteen family members have relocated to Nassau, New Providence because they have lost their homes and business. Currently, I have arranged for housing for most family members and only seven reside with me. My three little cousins and niece started school today and are adapting well. I’m in the process of finding counseling and
employment for some family members.

The Occupational Therapy Association of The Bahamas (OTAB) [of] which I am the current president, has made arrangements to volunteer services via training, adaptive equipment, splinting, and therapeutic intervention to the Children's Emergency Hostel, which is an orphanage that has 50 children, 9 which are special needs. 

Occupational Therapy Consulting Services, which is my company, has partnered with a special needs school, Stapledon School, for trauma care group intervention for children who were displaced during the Hurricane. I will be starting this initiative in October. In addition, my company will be providing 6 months of free occupational therapy intervention to three children from Abaco, starting the week of September 23rd.

I will be needing help later on in regards to trauma care and intervention, but right now, it is still chaotic with over 70,000 people being homeless. Priority is finding shelter for persons and trying to provide a "normal" life for the children. If you can connect me with someone who can guide me in trauma care, that would be great!!
Thank you so much for your support and prayers.

Warmest regards,
Shenika McIntosh

 

We hope that you have been moved and inspired by Shenika's story. If you have questions, or have trauma experience, and would be interested in helping provide some guidance to Shenika in that area, please email vallonet@dyc.edu.


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