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Missouri State University's new occupational therapy graduate program is helping expand rural healthcare in the Ozarks

An MSU professor discusses the program.

Our weekly program, Missouri State Journal, is a collaboration between KSMU Radio and Missouri State University. It's hosted and produced by MSU's Office of Strategic Communication, and it airs each Tuesday morning at 9:45 a.m. on KSMU. 

Occupational therapy is a growing career field with a need for trained professionals. Missouri State currently has two OT programs: The OT Master’s Degree and the Post-Professional OT Doctorate. The entry-level OT doctorate will welcome its first cohort in fall 2024. All three programs are the only ones offered in the region.

Dr. Ashlea Cardin is an associate professor in the department of Occupational Therapy at Missouri State University. She also works in the neo-natal intensive care unit as a Certified Neonatal Therapist. Cardin discusses these different OT program offerings and the importance of the programs to rural health and to the Ozarks region.

To learn more about the OT programs at Missouri State, visit

Read the full transcript.

Sofia Perez has worked for Missouri State University since 2022. She’s currently the digital marketing coordinator in the Office of Strategic Communication. She has BS in public relations from Missouri State University and is currently working on her Master of Applied Communication.