Candidates for AOTA office were asked to answer questions on CommunOT, AOTA's social media platform. I'll be sharing the questions and my answers. First up, a question on AOTA's strategic priorities:
Question: What recommendations do you offer for advancing AOTA's strategic priorities to ensure viability of the profession in a rapidly changing environment?
Thank you for this question related to AOTA's strategic priorities!
First and foremost, if issues truly are strategic AND a priority, we need to put them front and center; they must be visible! To advance our strategic priorities they need to be part of our everyday language and our everyday work. During our pursuit of the Centennial Vision, we did an amazing job putting the vision statement in front of AOTA members and non-members. I saw it and repeated it so often I knew it from memory! The core concepts of occupational therapy being a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven and evidenced based profession, with a globally connected and diverse workforce serving society's occupational needs was on the tips of tongues!
Today it is difficult to locate information on our strategic priorities and strategic plan on the AOTA website. After some exploration, of if you know to search for just the right phrase, you might be lucky enough to come across the AOTA Strategic Framework that includes our mission, Vision 2025, three strategic principles and goals/strategies and our core values (https://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/AboutAOTA/BOD/AOTA-Strategic-Framework-2020.pdf). We must do better at making our strategic priorities highly visible and easily found and accessible.
Advancing the strategic priorities (principles) requires a set of strategies to excite and interest internal and external audiences about the distinct value of occupational therapy. These audiences include occupational therapy practitioners and students, but they also include consumers, payers, federal and state agencies, health related professional associations and other healthcare providers. We need separate strategies to reach and engage each stakeholder group.
We can advance our strategic priorities by translating the strategic principles into language and specific examples that full-time practitioners, educators and students will understand and will connect to their daily lives. We must make the priorities sing loudly and clearly to those with their boots on the ground. I am especially excited to see the strategic principle of "Lead the profession by becoming inclusive, agile, proactive, responsive and approachable." Getting occupational therapy practitioners and students involved and helping them to gain a sense of ownership of our shared future will amplify our grassroots message and together we can be a force to be reckoned with!
Ten specific recommendations for advancing AOTA's strategic priorities to ensure visibility of the profession in a rapidly changing environment:
I have many years of experience and success with strategic planning in educational and clinical settings and on the Boards of Directors for AOTA, a community non-profit organization serving people living with HIV/AIDS and a LGBTQ oriented professional and philanthropic organization. One responsibility of the Vice-President is to be a steward of efforts to achieve our Vision. I was honored to have participated in leadership retreats and visioning activities for both the Centennial Vision and Vision 2025 and I have worked hard to help achieve both. If elected as Vice-President, I am well suited to guide our efforts to achieve Vision 2025. Nothing gets me more excited than collaborating with other OT practitioners to imagine and create our future!
As a candidate for Vice President of AOTA I am committed to connecting with occupational therapy practitioners in all settings to learn about their needs, worries and concerns. I have the skills, experience and knowledge to help AOTA become a more effective member service organization.
Here is the first in a series of videos and blog posts to introduce myself as a candidate, an occupational therapy practitioner an a leader.
Please connect with me here, through my email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook to tell me about your stories about being an OT practitioner and what AOTA can do as a member service organization. Help me understand how I can serve you as AOTA's next Vice President.
My name is Brent Braveman and I am running to be the next Vice-President of AOTA. If you don’t know me allow me to introduce myself and if you do, let me start the process of reintroducing myself and reminding you about my skills, experiences and commitment.
I am an Occupational therapist with 35 years of experience and for 35 years I have been a proud member of AOTA and the State OT Association wherever I have lived. I am running to be your next AOTA president because I have a deep passion and lasting commitment to the profession of occupational therapy.
I have volunteered for our profession since 1988 when I served as Vice-President of the District of Columbia OT Association and then went on to serve as President because I believe that our professional organizations are our most powerful tools to promote occupational therapy.
In my paid professional life, I am the Director of the Department of Rehabilitation Services at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas and am responsible for leadership of all occupational therapy and physical therapy services. I work with a staff of over 120 OT and PT practitioners. Everyday I help staff face the challenges of seeking to provide excellent care while facing the pressures of productivity, demanding caseloads and the pressures of working in a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have a clinical background in work rehabilitation, acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, community mental health and addiction services and cancer rehabilitation. I have also worked as an occupational therapy educator and researcher.
I have broad experience and a deep understanding of how AOTA works. I have consistently been engaged and active in AOTA. I served multiple roles in our Special Interest Sections including as Chairperson of the Administrative and Management SIS and as the Special Interest Sections Steering Committee. I have served on the Board of Directors twice, once as Speaker of the Representative Assembly (AOTA’s policy making body) and as AOTA Secretary.
Whether I have been in a formally elected office or not, I have consistently been present, visible, active and engaged. I ask others for their opinions and I seek to truly understand the thinking of others; whether they are a member of AOTA or not, whether they live here in the US or around the globe and most importantly whether they agree with me, or not!
If I am elected as the next Vice-President of AOTA I promise to remain accessible, to be visible, to seek your input and to listen. I promise to do my very best to be a servant leader who puts the needs of AOTA members first and to fight for you and occupational therapy.
I hope that over the next few weeks you’ll take the opportunity to learn more about me, my vision for the future of AOTA and the profession of occupational therapy and I hope that I can convince you that I am the right person for the job!
Over the coming weeks, I'll share more about myself, my skills and experiences and my vision for the future of AOTA and the profession of occupational therapy.
The opinions expressed in my blog are personal and neither represent the views of my employer nor any organization.