OMA Volunteer Training for medical/allied health students


Welcome to the OMA Training Course for medical/allied health students. This training will prepare you to facilitate the creative expression of people with dementia. In the process, you will have the opportunity to build on your person-centered communication skills.

Timing: This online course will take about 2.5 hours to complete. You can do this online training at your own pace and resume where you stop at any time. Please consult your instructors regarding the specific deadline to complete this online course. Completion of the online training is required before you can do the in-person OMA session and work with someone with dementia.

Quizzes: Periodically there will be quizzes to check your understanding. You need 80% correct before you can continue to the next topic. You can retake the quizzes multiple times. The main quiz is found at the end of the second module.

Certificate of completion of the online training course: After completing the last quiz, you will have a chance to save a certificate of completion in your computer. You need to email or print this certificate of completion and share this with your instructor and/or the OMA Facilitator at the retirement community. *****If you log off without saving the certificate, you will have to retake the last quiz to be able to print the certificate.*******

Doing OMA for more than one semester: You do not need to retake the online training if you decide to do OMA again in future semesters. Just show your certificate of training completion and sign up for another round of OMA. This is another reason to save the certificate in your computer.

What is OMA? Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia. It is a failure-free program designed to provide opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Developed in 2007 at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center in Oxford, Ohio, the program is grounded in person-centered care principles and has been replicated in over 150 facilities throughout USA and Canada.

OMA’s Mission: To build bridges across age and cognitive barriers through art.

OMA’s Goals:

  1. To promote the social engagement, autonomy, and dignity of people with dementia by providing creative self-expression opportunities.
  2. To provide staff and volunteers with opportunities to build close relationships with people with dementia.
  3. To show the public the creative self-expression capacities of people with dementia through exhibitions of their artwork.
  4. To contribute to the scholarly literature on dementia and the arts.

Course Outline:

  1. Module 1 (online): Pre-test (5-10 minutes).
  2. Module 2 (online): Evidence base: The impact of the arts and OMA participation on people with dementia and on volunteers.
  3. Module 3 (online): Becoming an OMA volunteer: These short videos will teach you what OMA is and build on your communication skills.
  4. Online Training Completion Certificate: Please submit your certificate of completion to your instructors/coordinators. 
  5. In-person session(s): Please use your university’s system to sign up to do OMA with someone who has dementia.
  6. Module 4 (online): Online Post-test and Final Reflection

Post-test and Final Reflection: After your OMA in-person session(s), please log back in to complete the post-test. You will also have the opportunity to write a one-page reflection. Please submit this reflection to your instructors.


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