Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


Existing research evidence pertaining to the occupational therapy (OT) role with adventure-based outdoor activities for military veterans and the authors’ positive experience serving members of a non-profit veteran-run organization that promotes rehabilitation archeology suggest that outdoor rehabilitation for this client population is a promising avenue for the profession. Moreover, students’ exposure to outdoor experiences designed for military veterans as well as other populations presenting with physical and mental health conditions has the potential to significantly augment OT curriculum by impacting both the learning trajectory and personal transformation of the students. This paper describes a unique service-learning experience involving graduate OT students who engaged with and provided services to veterans participating in archeological fieldwork, as well as the impact of this experience on the students.


Dr. Lola Halperin, EdD, OTR/L has practiced as a mental health occupational therapist since 1995 and has been teaching graduate occupational therapy (OT) students since 2010. Dr. Halperin has been collaborating with the American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR) organization since 2018 and is currently serving on its Technical Advisory Committee.

Dr. Jaimee Hegge, OTD, OTR/L, CKTP has practiced as an occupational therapist since 2012 and has been teaching OT since 2018. She specializes in OT for physical disabilities and kinesiotaping for pain management. Dr. Hegge has been collaborating with AVAR since 2019 and currently serves on its Technical Advisory Committee.

Dr. Sharon McCloskey, EdD, MBA, OT/L, CTP is the Graduate OT Program Chair/Director at Sacred Heart University, CT. As an educator and scholar, Dr. McCloskey’s interest is in the scholarship of teaching and learning. She is passionate about her work as an OT practitioner in pediatrics and mental health.

Dr. Stephen Humphreys is the founder of American Veterans Archaeological Recovery and a leading researcher on the intersection of fieldwork and mental health. He holds a Ph.D. in archaeology from Durham University. He is a National Geographic Explorer with excavation experience in Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, England, Sicily, and the USA.

Declaration of Interest

Three of the manuscript authors are affiliated with the American Veterans Archeological Recovery (AVAR), a veteran-run non-profit organization described in this manuscript. Dr. Humphreys is the CEO of AVAR. Dr. Halperin and Dr. Hegge serve on its Technical Advisory Committee on a volunteer basis.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.