COTAD had a HUGE presence at the 2017 AOTA Conference and Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia! Our dedicated Board Members were busy promoting diversity, creating dialogue, and advocating for change from the start of Conference to the very end. Board members Cristina, Arameh,Catherine, Stacy, Natasha, and Jordan led an engaging Pre-Conference Institute on "Promoting a Diverse Workforce in Occupational Therapy Through Student Recruitment and Retention" with participants from across the country. After this exciting start, other Board members led interactive presentations, presented posters, and held many conversations with current and prospective occupational therapy students, clinicians, educators, and researchers.
Conference Booth: For the first time in 2017, COTAD had a booth in the Conference Expo Hall. We met hundreds of OT/A students, clinicians, researchers, and academics and had engaging discussions with them about issues related to diversity and multiculturalism.
Our booth also featured an activity in which visitors to the booth could write down something they wished others knew about them to share anonymously. We received a variety of responses that truly highlighted the plethora of cultures, ideas, values, beliefs, and experiences of the OT community.
(L-R) Adam Pearson, Arameh Anvarizadeh, Natasha Smet,
Catherine Hoyt Drazen, & Cristina Reyes Smith
Pre-conference Institute: Several COTAD Board members led an engaging, interactive Pre-conference Institute focused on "Promoting a Diverse Workforce in Occupational Therapy Through Student Recruitment and Retention." The Institute included offer two panels with guest speakers from across the country; updates and resources from AOTA, COTAD, and MDI; and an interprofessional guest speaker from an acclaimed medical school.
Conference Sessions: COTAD members gave multiple Powerpoint, poster, and research presentations during Conference.
COTAD Breakfast: The third annual COTAD Breakfast was a huge success! Speaker Dr. Felicia Banks of Howard University led a thought-provoking, challenging discussion about implicit bias and its impact on OT practitioners and clients. Members were able to share experiences, ask questions, and gather information on this and other topics during the event.
Additionally, Dr. Frank Kronenberg, author of the well-known Occupational Therapy Without Borders text spoke briefly about the upcoming World Federation of Occupational Therapy conference taking place in South Africa in 2018.
Finally, student winners of the first-ever NBCOT study guide raffle were announced! Several lucky attendees walked away with a valuable prize in addition to the valuable dialogue.
Just Having Fun: Most COTAD members only get together once a year during Conference, so it was a great opportunity to catch up on life events, share a laugh, dance a bit, and continue planning for the future of our organization!