It may not seem like there is much in common with healthcare and theater, but Katie Cummings, founder of a Milwaukee-based, all-abilities-inclusive theater company, proved otherwise earlier this month.

The Pink Umbrella Theater Co. founder paid Concordia a visit on Oct. 17 to lead CUW’s Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology programs in a variety of exercises. The goal was to get the more than 150 students who attended moving and thinking about the intersection of their disciplines and theatre.

Started in 2018, Pink Umbrella Theater Co. aims to create an inclusive and healthy environment for those who identify with a physical, intellectual, or emotional disability to participate in theater. All CUW students in attendance witnessed and participated in exercises designed to help them experience and understand their value in making connections with people of all abilities.

“Theater is about telling stories. As therapists, we often enter a person’s life when they are in a difficult part of their story,” said Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Mike McKinnis, MOT, OTR, CAPS, who organized the event. “This event allowed our students, as future healthcare professionals, to think outside the box about the people they will encounter in their careers, and the methods by which to provide care.”

Cummings specifically discussed the importance of meeting individuals where they are at and having a flexible enough mindset to see the person and help them meet their needs.

Students ended the rewarding night with individual and group reflection time where Cummings expressed the importance of appreciating a good day’s work and understanding the positive impact student’s will be making on their clients.

Learn more about Concordia’s School of Health Professions offerings by clicking here.

— Madelyne Arrigoni is a senior studying English, Mass Communications, and Photography. She plans to graduate in 2022.

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.