For almost 15 years, I have listened to concerns, complaints and debates about how to increase the level of engagement and involvement of occupational therapy assistant (OTA) leaders in AOTA. The topic was debated in the Special Interest Sections in the early 2000’s when I served as Chairperson of the Special Interest Sections Steering Committee. It was debated in the late 2000’s when I served as Speaker of the Representative Assembly. It was debated more recently when I served on the Board of Directors as Secretary of AOTA and I am listening to concerns, complaints and debate today as I run for the office of AOTA Vice-President.
Over the last week, I have had four critical conversations with OTA educators and leaders and followed many more conversations on social media. I have reached out to occupational therapy assistant educational programs nationwide and I am beginning to hear from faculty. If we have not significantly impacted the perception and level of satisfaction with engagement and inclusion in AOTA of our OTA members and leaders over 15 years it is time for a new approach.
I honestly believe that both the volunteer leaders and paid staff of our association value the contributions of OTAs and believe deeply in the potential for the future contributions to both established practice areas and emerging practice areas such as primary care and population health initiatives. I am fully convinced that both our volunteer leaders and association staff see OTAs as a critical piece of achieving Vision 2025. Still, it seems clear that absent a significant change, a new approach must be adopted.
I would like to present an initial short list of actionable strategies that could be enacted to increase the engagement of OTAs in AOTA leadership. We need actionable strategies because as one OTA leader said to me (paraphrased), “I respect passion for occupational therapy, but I need to hear that leaders have ideas about what to do!”
This is just an initial list and I hope to hear more from OTA practitioners, educators. leaders and students about other actionable strategies we could take to engage occupational therapy assistants in AOTA leadership and the profession.
Please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, friend me and/or send me a message on Facebook or contact me through www.brentbraveman.com.
Also, please look for details on two “Listening Sessions” that I will be holding to give occupational therapy assistants the opportunity to share more ideas, concerns and feedback to me as a candidate for AOTA Vice-President.
These sessions are schedule for:
If you would like to be sent an invitation to one of the listening sessions, please send my your Email address and the date that you would like to attend.
Thank you to those of you who have shared your ideas!
The opinions expressed in my blog are personal and neither represent the views of my employer nor any organization.