© 2019 Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity. All rights reserved.
COTAD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 

© 2019 Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity. All rights reserved.
COTAD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 



Dr. Hoyt is a founding member of COTAD, and focuses on developing strategies to identify effective methods of diversity education to support COTAD's mission in her role as Chair. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a PhD in Rehabilitation and Participation Science in 2019, after having earned her OTD and MSOT from the same university. Dr. Hoyt was part of the 2012 cohort of  the AOTA Emerging Leaders program. In addition to her growing body of work in academia, Dr. Hoyt is also a dedicated clinician and entrepreneur. In her work with the Washington University in St. Louis Community Practice, she focuses on strategies for increasing caregiver involvement, promoting parent child interactions, and increasing community engagement. She is also the owner of My Little Sunshine Pediatric Therapy in St. Louis, MO, and serves on the advisory board for Southpaw Enterprises.

Catherine Hoyt, PhD, OTD, OTR/L


Dr. Anvarizadeh is a founding member of COTAD and serves as the organization's Vice Chair and Chair of the Toolkit Committee and COTAD Chapter program. She received her BS, MA, and Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from The University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Anvarizadeh was part of the 2012 cohort of the AOTA Emerging Leaders program and she is passionate about creating sustainable communities through social entrepreneurship and policy using an occupational therapy perspective. Dr. Anvarizadeh holds several leadership positions in the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) and serves as the California Representative for the AOTA Representative Assembly. Dr. Anvarizadeh was also part of the AOTA Special Task Force on Entry Level Education, and a crucial contributor to the professional dialogue on the entry level degree requirements in 2018-19. She continues to work tirelessly to support and establish COTAD Chapters at OT programs across the country to facilitate dialogue, awareness, and change related to issues of diversity in patient care and professional education. She currently works at USC as the Director of Admissions and Associate Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy.

Arameh Anvarizadeh, OTD, OTR/L


Dr. Lancaster has been a practicing occupational therapist since 1991, specializing in assistive technology and treatment of neurological conditions since 1991. She earned a B.S. in occupational therapy from Washington University in St. Louis and both an M.S. in Leadership & Policy Studies and a Doctorate of Education for Instruction & Curriculum Leadership with emphasis on Instructional Design & Technology from the University of Memphis. She is currently the Program Director and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Additionally, Dr. Lancaster maintains specialty certifications as an Assistive Technology Provider (ATP) through the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America and as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders. Stephanie joined COTAD in 2017 with the goal of applying her knowledge and expertise in clinical education, connected learning, and instructional design and technology to further COTAD's mission. She served as COTAD's Social Media Coordinator for COTAD from 2018-2019 and is now the organization's Secretary. Stephanie blogs on her website at www.stephanielancaster.com and hosts the podcast On The Air for individuals interested in occupational therapy and OT-related topics.

Stephanie Lancaster, EdD, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS

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Dr. Adam Pearson joined COTAD in 2015 and has made significant contributions to the organization’s development and achievements since then. He earned his B.S. in Psychology at Missouri State University and then earned a clinical doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Pearson held teaching, practice and research roles for two years and has also had many administrative, clinical and leadership positions, all with a focus on health, health equity, strategy development, and program management. He currently works at the Centene Center for Health Transformation as the Strategy and Development Manager, connecting expert researchers at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis’s Brown School of Social Work with industry colleagues at Centene Corporation. Prior to his work with the Centene Center, Dr. Pearson spent many years working as an occupational therapist in a complex community mental health and psychiatric rehabilitation settings, most recently with Peter and Paul Community Services. As the Program Director of the Garfield Place Apartments, he led the programmatic and fiscal development of a permanent supportive housing program. His long term goals involve working with multi-disciplinary, diverse teams to develop and implement dynamic programs to end homelessness and improve occupational engagement for all nationwide.

Adam Pearson, OTD, OTR/L


Dr. Cristina Reyes Smith is a founding member of COTAD and the Academic Engagement Coordinator. She is a graduate of the Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) Occupational Therapy Doctorate program and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Master’s in Occupational Therapy program. Dr. Reyes Smith is an AOTA Emerging Leader, and she is active in the South Carolina Occupational Therapy Association (SCOTA) as the State Representative to the AOTA Representative Assembly and SCOTA Secretary. Currently, Dr. Reyes Smith is the Director of Admission and Assistant Professor in the Division of Occupational Therapy at MUSC and is active in efforts to increase awareness of diversity issues and access to culturally appropriate healthcare services to underserved populations.

Cristina Reyes Smith, OTD, OTR/L

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Mr. Stacy Wilson is a founding member of COTAD and serves as the Treasurer and Public Awareness Coordinator. He earned his BA in Psychology (2007) and MS in Occupational Therapy (2010) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). His professional experience includes work in the inpatient rehab unit at WakeMed hospital, where he works to rehabilitate patients with spinal cord injuries, amputations, and other health impairments. He is currently the Supervisor of Acute Rehabilitation Services at WakeMed Hospital. Mr. Wilson is an AOTA Emerging Leader, and he is passionate about investing in and increasing recruitment and retention of diverse students to the profession. In order to accomplish this, he established a scholarship at UNC-CH to increase diversity in occupational science and occupational therapy that has provided financial support to multiple students since its inception. Additionally, Mr. Wilson is active in developing and refining the COTAD Recruitment and Retention Toolkit, educating high school and college students about careers in OT at local career fairs, and serving as an advocate for minority recruitment and retention at his alma mater. He also collaborated with a group of students at Kunming University in southwest China to create the country's first Student Occupational Therapy Association. Mr. Wilson’s work at the local, national, and international levels demonstrates his passion for increasing awareness of occupational therapy and recruiting and retaining more OT students of diverse backgrounds.

Stacy Wilson, MS, OTR/L

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Lauren has served in multiple roles for COTAD, including Secretary and Editor, since joining in 2016. She earned a B.S. in Psychology from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. in Occupational Therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was in the 2016 cohort of the AOTA Emerging Leaders Development Program. She currently works on an interdisciplinary team providing services to youth, adults, and older adults in an inpatient psychiatry setting. In addition to working, Lauren is active in local and national occupational therapy professional organizations. She is currently the Special Interest Section Coordinator for the North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association, where she collaborates with clinicians across the state to develop programming for OT practitioners in diverse settings. Additionally, she has served AOTA in multiple capacities, including roles as a representative to the Assembly of Student Delegates, an intern for the Education SIS, and an Emerging Leaders Program application reviewer. Lauren is active in the therapy blogging community, sharing valuable information for current and prospective OT/A students as well as practicing clinicians on her blog, Gotta Be OT. As Editor of the quarterly COTAD Courier newsletter and website, she helps to support COTAD's mission behind the scenes by contributing to website design, communications, and outreach efforts. She is active in promoting the conversation of diversity and inclusion through social media and in her community, and she is passionate about helping achieve COTAD's mission in the years to come.

Lauren Jones, MS, OTR/L

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Mr. Skowronski is an occupational therapist and Public Health Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois Chicago. As an OT, he works at the Northshore Evanston Hospital Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit and in home health. He received three awards from clients for the services that he provided. His clinical work has inspired him to research the social, cultural, policy, and system factors that shape health in aging individuals and communities.  Mr. Skowronski is a research assistant on a randomized control trial of a community-based health promotion program for older adults. Since 2014, he has worked with COTAD to improve the diversity and inclusion within the OT workforce. He presented with COTAD at three AOTA Conferences and continues to supervise two COTAD members in their work. His long term goals involve teaching diverse students, investigating cost-effective, multidisciplinary health promotion programs for older adults, and improving the quality of healthcare and long term care systems.  

Jordan Skowronski, MS, OTR/L


Ms. Kwebetchou is a founding member of COTAD and earned her Masters of Business Administration from Cornell University and Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from Towson University where she graduated with departmental honors. She has served as Professional Action Chair for the National Black Occupational Therapy Caucus, Alternate Representative for the State of Maryland in the AOTA Representative Assembly, and is a graduate of AOTA’s 2014 cohort of the Emerging Leaders Program. Ms. Kwebetchou received recognition from Cornell University as a Forte Fellow for her academic and leadership achievements.  Ms. Kwebetchou has held clinical leadership positions and has worked in diverse healthcare settings: Intensive care, acute care, sub-acute, polytrauma, oncology, skilled nursing, maternity, emergency department, ambulatory surgery, assisted living, outpatient, and home health. She has also presented in national and international conferences. She is passionate about the field of occupational therapy catalyzing diversity AND inclusion from a PEO (person, environment, and occupation) perspective. Her goal is to apply her knowledge, expertise, and diverse experiences to further COTAD’s mission. Ms. Kwebetchou currently works as a healthcare executive and resides in Washington DC.

Nádine Kwebetchou, MBA, MS, OTR/L


Dr. Khalilah Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She also serves as an affiliate research faculty member at the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention, and a senior reviewer and clinical consultant for Elsevier. Broadly, Dr. Johnson's research focuses on access and participation in health and vocational services of racial/ethnic minority adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as developing culturally affirming interventions to increase their community engagement.  Her research is published in the Journal of Occupational Science, Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Open Journal of Occupational Therapy just to name a few. Dr. Johnson’s interests are informed by 13 years of clinical experience spanning Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.  In addition to COTAD, she is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, the National Black Occupational Therapy Caucus, the Society for the Study of Occupation USA, and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  Dr. Johnson also serves as the Advocacy and Policy Coordinator for the Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Section (DD SIS) for AOTA.

Khalilah R. Johnson, PhD, MS, OTR/L

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Meegan earned her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree at Pacific University. She received her Master’s in Occupational Therapy at Tennessee State University, and a Bachelors of Arts in Health Promotion at Purdue University. She has nine years of experience as an occupational therapist in various settings including acute care, skilled nursing, long-term acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, community-based settings, and home health. Dr. Lambert is also a licensed massage therapist, certified lymphedema therapist, and certified brain injury specialist.  She is currently a traveling occupational therapist with active licenses in Illinois Tennessee, Florida and Arkansas.  Dr. Lambert joined COTAD in 2018 and serves and the Minority Mentoring Program Coordinator.  She is passionate about the recruitment and retention of racial minorities in the OT profession.

Meegan D. Lambert, OTD, OTR/L

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Currently employed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the Occupational Therapy Program Admissions Coordinator, Ms. Rebne has been a registered Occupational Therapist since 2008. Since graduating from the MS-Occupational Therapy Program at UW-Madison, Ms. Rebne has primarily worked with clients in post-acute rehabilitation settings that also offered outpatient, and home health services. Since joining the academic setting at UW-Madison in 2010, in addition to her role as the Occupational Therapy Program Admissions Coordinator, Lexi has also been employed as a Lecturer for the Occupational Therapy Program. She is currently enrolled in the post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at UW-Madison, with a capstone plan to create an online course, designed especially for pre-occupational therapy students from underrepresented backgrounds, that will provide an opportunity for students to further develop skills and strategies that will positively impact their success with the occupational therapy admissions process.

Alexia Rebne, MS, OTR/L

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Ms. Valencia is a recent graduate of the Stony Brook University Occupational Therapy Program where she obtained a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. She achieved academic and leadership recognition by her induction into the Alpha Eta Society, a national honor society for health professionals. She was also awarded with the Jean Clark-Brown Leadership Award by her program. She has completed her level II fieldwork placements in pediatrics and community mental health and is passionate about both fields. She migrated to the United States from Colombia at a young age and credits her supportive family for where she is today. From 2014 to 2019 Ms. Valencia was a co-founder of a small non-profit organization which sponsored leadership and self-development programs for a community in Colombia. She is a strong believer in the power of creating relationships and building communities. She is proud to join COTAD and will be assisting with the development of the Minority Mentoring Program.

Helen Valencia, MS, OTR/L


Prior Members

Anjana Aluri, MSOT (Volunteer Coordination)

Lauren Clayton, MSOT (Marketing)

Tamicah Gelting, MSOT (Minority Mentorship Program)

De'Andre Holland, OTD (founding member)

Vi' Hunter-Lawrence, MSOT (COTAD Conversations)

Carrienne Matthews, OTD (COTAD Conversations)

Diamond Rashad, MSOT (Volunteer Coordinator)

Natasha Smet, OTD (Minority Mentorship Program Development)

Adrianne Smiley, MSOT (COTAD Conversations)

Camille Stirdivant, MSOT(Toolkit Development)