During the virtual COTAD Live! Conference on March 28, 2020, we announced the winners of the 2nd Annual COTAD Awards. Each year, COTAD celebrates and honors the contributions made by COTAD Chapters, faculty members, and Minority Mentorship Program mentors. Our organization is made better for having dedicated students, educators, and mentors and we hope to continue to grow these programs and our award offerings in the future.
2020 COTAD Mentor of the Year
Congratulations to Sandra Duarte, OTR/L, on being selected as the 2020 Mentor of the Year! Duarte was featured in a previous blog post and continues to have a huge impact on the life of her mentee and others across the globe.
Duarte travels to Ambato, Ecuador with a medical mission team annually to work with children with developmental disabilities. Her mentee, Jasmin Torres, OTS, attended the mission trip in 2019 with Sandra. Jasmin shared her reflections on the journey which included gaining clinical experience at a school for children with developmental and physical disabilities, running an inservice with other health care professionals, completing home visits, observing pediatric OTs in a hospital, and scrubbing in to observe live surgeries. After this experience, Jasmin stated, “This was by far the most profound learning experience I have had in my career as an OT student; it was astounding to realize how much of an impact healthcare and rehabilitation have in different parts of the world.”
In addition to serving as a mentor in COTAD’s Minority Mentorship Program, Duarte works in the United States and internationally with at-risk and marginalized individuals and families to help provide access to the services and equipment they need. She also frequently involves students, physicians, and other allied health providers in her work and makes an effort to impress upon them the need for culturally relevant, sensitive, and high-quality care. Sandra Duarté, went above and beyond by including her mentee in this truly transformative experience and she is a model for OT mentors everywhere. We are thankful for Sandra’s investment in the OT professionals of the future and her dedication to ensuring people all over the world have access to occupational therapy services.
2020 COTAD Chapter of the Year
This year, we were proud to announce that the students and faculty mentor at Northern Arizona University in Phoenix, Arizona earned the award for COTAD Chapter of the Year! Even as a new organization on campus, they worked tirelessly throughout the year to advocate, educate, and communicate the value and importance of cultural humility and diversity in their community. Congratulations!
Our NAU COTAD Chapter officially began less than a year ago and in the time since then we have worked on multiple levels of increasing awareness of diversity issues and its impact on our profession.
We have built a relationship with our schools leadership to increase awareness on the importance of having a student organizations such as COTAD at our campus and resources available to students like ourselves. These relationship have led to funding for COTAD members to attend conference, discussions on changes to class curriculum, collaborating with our department on a holistic admissions project, funding for workshops hosted by our chapter and funding for students to travel to promote our profession.
We have created a safe space for underrepresented students and host monthly meetings to discuss our mental health, local and national resources and how to support one another.
We have advocated for our profession and the increasing diversity amongst its professionals at multiple events such as- career day hosted by an organization which focuses on refugee and immigrant families, Native Health Day for high school and community college students, multiple high school visits to our campus, Native Journey to Academic Success program and the Black Leadership Summit.
We have hosted a Hispanic/Latinx Heritage celebratory lunch and just ended our three part Diversity and Inclusion Workshop Series which included workshops on “Unconscious Bias”, “MedSafeZone, LGBTQ+ health” and “Why Your Diversity Quotient Matters”.
Our chapter continues to grow, with 26 members total now, and is looking forward to continuing our projects and collaborating with more local organizations.