“Say yes to everything.”

That’s the advice of Kelcie Kadowaki, MA, after looking back on the past year in the doctorate of occupational therapy degree program at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. OTD students like Kadowaki spend a year embedded on the front lines at clinical residency sites across Southern California to learn how health programs and systems work — and to help them perform even better.

At the USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice, Kadowaki has been treating fellow Trojans through the USC Lifestyle Redesign for College Students program, while sharing the good news with USC physicians about occupational therapy’s unique role in improving students’ mental health and wellness. The topic is more timely than ever, as across the nation students continue reporting rising rates of mental health challenges while institutions deploy innovative ways of more comprehensively addressing their needs.

Through the program, Kadowaki works alongside students to help them develop occupation-based habits and routines in order to better manage stress and anxiety, use time more productively and to cope with the ever-shifting demands of campus life.

“I understand the struggle that any college student can experience,” Kadowaki said, “and want them to know that people are available here to help.”

— Mike McNulty