Supporting Students

COTAD has several programs for students to promote diversity and imbue the next generation of OT professionals with the skills and knowledge required for practice in an increasingly multicultural world.

Minority Mentorship Program

Dr. Natasha Smet, OTD, OTR/L continues to seek mentors for the Minority Mentoring Program. Dr. Smet recognizes that having quality mentors can have a huge impact on an OT student or practitioner’s life, and says that having her own mentors helped her grow personally and professionally. If you are an OT/A practitioner who has benefited from a quality mentoring relationship and wants to help support other practitioners, please email Dr. Smet at to get connected!

Dr. Smet, successful mentor and mentee,

at the 2017 AOTA Conference & Centennial Celebration.

COTAD SOTA Diversity and Inclusion Committee

COTAD Vice Chair Dr. Arameh Anvarizadeh, OTD, OTR/L has been working closely with OT/A programs and students across the country to roll out COTAD’s newest student program. As a Diversity and Inclusion Champion and COTAD liaison, student leaders in SOTAs across the country will work to help further COTAD’s mission and facilitate dialogue and find solutions to issues related to multiculturalism and diversity that exist within their universities or local communities. Each Diversity and Inclusion Champion will “educate, collaborate and relay the significance of a diverse student body by developing sensitivity regarding sociocultural aspects and how that may potentially impact the scope of Occupational Therapy practice as it relates to the AOTA Vision 2025.

Recently, Jonette Ishmael, OTS, of Thomas Jefferson University's (TJU) Department of Occupational Therapy became the new Diversity and Inclusion Chair and COTAD Liaison within her SOTA’s Advocacy and Awareness Committee. Jonette will work with TJU’s OT student body, faculty, alumni, and COTAD to promote discussions with peers and faculty regarding to diversity and related issues.

If you are interested in learning more about this program or becoming a Diversity and Inclusion Champion at your school, please email Dr. Anvarizadeh at

COTAD Conversations

COTAD member Vi’ Lawrence has hosted multiple COTAD Conversations with occupational therapy students and clinicians. The topic of each chat varies, but the goal is the same – provide a safe space for individuals to learn, ask questions, and share their experiences. These online chats are a great way to learn more about developing professional skills, working with individuals of diverse backgrounds, and networking with leaders in our profession.

Visit the Students page of the COTAD website to learn more about past topics, listen to audio from previous conversations, and learn about upcoming events. We encourage readers to call in, suggest topics, and spread the word about COTAD Conversations within their classrooms and communities!

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