2018 RAISE Award: Most Creative

Michael Ang, OTD, OTR/L, California

When occupational therapist Michael Ang comes to work he sees his clients soar—both literally and figuratively. At least that’s what happened when a stroke survivor came to Michael with hidden disabilities and a longing to fly an airplane once again.

Michael went to work creating an airplane rudder system from 2X4 blocks of wood attached to a large base using bolts and tension springs to give the user the sensation of maneuvering an airplane towards the left and right. He also crafted a control stick and had his client watch a flight video of takeoffs and landings—all of which created a simulated flying environment.

After the client was released from therapy, the staff in the Outpatient OT Stroke Rehabilitation Program at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles didn’t hear from him for a while. Then a few years later, they got a call. “I did it. I flew a real plane,” said the excited client.

It’s this kind of creativity and innovation that Michael brings to the OT program he created. His interventions are client-centered, unique and effective. And as a university professor he has created several stroke rehab courses using his creative side.