Abe Saffer, an AOTA lobbyist, has successfully gotten bipartisan support for H.R. 3637, a bill to amend Title 7 of the Public Health Service Act to increase diversity in allied health professions. The bill is also supported by Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois and Rep. Cathy McMorris of Washington, who shared a joint press release about the merits of the legislation.
WHY IT MATTERS
This bill was modeled after the success of nursing lobbyists and clinicians who advocated for similar funding. If it passes, it will provide funding for advertising and recruitment information in high schools and colleges, scholarships, mentorship programs, tutoring, stipends to support fieldwork students, bridge programs to support students transitioning from OTA to OTR, among other strategies.
You can read more about the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act of 2019 in Saffer’s blog on the CommunOT website and listen to how his conversation with COTAD Chair Dr. Catherine Hoyt impacted his understanding of the importance of diversity and culturally appropriate terminology as it relates to the bill in a recent episode of the AOTA policy team’s “Policy Matters” podcast (COTAD mention at 8:23).
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Use the AOTA Legislative Action website to contact your representatives and request their support for this important bill. You can also encourage colleagues, education program faculty, students, OT clients, and state OT association leaders to call, write, or visit their representatives and ask for their support for this legislation.