Gavin R. Jenkins, PhD, OTR/L, ATP

Gavin Jenkins

This interview is part of a series to promote the AOTA elections. I contacted all of the candidates from two key races and will systematically be releasing these interviews from January 21- January 26, 2015.

Why did you decide to run for the AOTA Board of Directors?

I graduated from OT school in 1989, meaning that it has been 25 years since I left the Welsh School of Occupational Therapy in Cardiff and as I reflected back on my career it struck me that more than ever I feel an unwavering connection to the profession: I understand and can articulate what we are about more than I ever could. As a result I know that I have the experience and knowledge for this role, but maybe more importantly I truly believe I have the passion to contribute to the ongoing discussions and to be influential in the decisions needed about issues related to entry level education, new and future healthcare delivery service models, funding streams, emerging practice settings and the whole myriad of other issues that our profession is facing.

If elected, what do you anticipate your upcoming year will look like?

This is an interesting question as I truly am not sure what it will entail – does anyone ever know what a new job or opportunity will entail when you take it on!!! I got to read the job description just like everyone else and we all know that the reality is never truly reflected in the neat lines of a posted description. My perception is that I will be sitting up late at night and reading lots of pieces of paper: I am sure I will be asked to synthesize and analyze different ideas, write out my own ideas, attend meetings, far more than the board meetings I am required to do. In those meetings I will have to listen to lots of different ideas, some that I agree with, some maybe not so and I will need to compromise on some and stand my ground on others. As a board member I hope to connect with students through the outreach programs of the Board, visit different schools and centers to listen to student and practicing members and reach out to others who we want to be members. I hope to get to attend meetings with other stake-holders and ensure that we have a voice in all discussions and our role in ensuring the occupational rights are heard and considered in the pertinent decisions. And when all that is said and done I will have to keep reminding myself that I volunteered for this and I still have my day job to do!!!!!

What are two specific goals you would like to achieve through your office in the upcoming year?

  1. Ensure that we have a level headed discussion about entry level education and ensure that our direction is based on our clients and our professions needs and not simply so we can be like everyone else

  2. Reach out and connect with OTs who are not members of the profession and find out why?

In what area is it most critical for the AOTA to achieve growth over the next 5 years?

Membership – plain and simple. When we look to our partners overseas you see staggering levels of membership compared to here in the US. Other countries can have membership rates in the 90% levels – we need to find out what it is that would ensure that ALL OTs see membership as a part of being a professional – somewhere our message is being lost and we need to address that. We need the numbers so we can be a collective voice in the difficult discussions and decisions both internally and externally that we will be involved in during the next few years.

What is one thing that you want voters to know about you?

At the heart of my decision to stand for election, and the philosophy that will always guide me is my unwavering belief that our future only lies in delivering on our responsibility to provide evidence-based services to users that reflects a contemporary view of occupation and participation - our professional association cannot lose sight of this in any of its' debates about education, practice, and service.