My name is Maddison Messina and I am a doctoral student at Gannon University located in Ruskin, Florida.
I graduated from the University of South Florida in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences. Following my graduation from USF, I chose to pursue a doctorate in occupational therapy through Gannon. Following my 2022 graduation and completion of the boards, my hope is to focus my efforts on mental health and women’s health.
This passion prompted my decision to complete my Doctoral Specialty Internship with Annie Garrison and Robbie Chaplin of the Campaign Against Human Trafficking in order to educate and advocate for survivors of human trafficking.
The purpose of my Doctoral Specialty Internship will be to understand occupational therapy’s role in human trafficking and how intervention can best be applied in order to help survivors be as successful as possible in recovery. With such limited research currently available regarding human trafficking, specifically human trafficking coupled with occupational therapy, there is much work to do, but with Gannon University and the Campaign Against Human Trafficking reinforcing my research, I am very eager to see where this work will take us!
Occupational Therapy Doctorate Student / OTD-S Gannon University, Class of 2022
Maddison Messina will be joining the CAHT team as an intern this summer. She will be working with our volunteers in the Safe Shelter program and other areas related to human trafficking and domestic violence victims. CAHT’s Safe Shelter program is 4 years old and provides emergency short-term shelter for individuals and families who need to be moved out of harm’s way immediately. The program also provides an assessment of next steps as well as other resources such as food, gas, rental assistance, legal and medical referrals and counseling. This is the second year CAHT has partnered with Gannon University’s Doctoral Special Internship program. Maddison is a graduate from USF in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in the Health Sciences and she is finishing her doctorate in occupational therapy at Gannon University. Her plans are to focus on mental health and women’s health issues. She is completing her Doctoral Specialty Internship with CAHT in the human trafficking area and its relationship to occupational therapy in assisting survivors as an advocate for them and their issues surrounding domestic abuse and related traumas involved in human trafficking.