Debra Young, MEd, OTR/L, SCEM, ATP, CAPS

Debra Young

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?

The reason I am running for Director to the AOTA Board of Directors is because I am passionate about the occupational therapy profession.  It is this passion that has inspired me to be active within the industry, holding positions in multiple bodies of the association including the Representative Assembly, the Home and Community Health Special Interest Section and the Board for Advanced Specialty Certification.  It is this passion that spurred me to become actively involved in boards and committees of external audiences and stakeholders, to increase awareness of the occupational therapy profession and promote interprofessional collaboration.  This includes being appointed as a member of the board of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), founding member and steering committee member of the Mid-Atlantic 50+ Housing Council, and seated member of the New Castle County Council (Delaware) Subcommittee on Aging. My experiences with national, state and local boards and committees, both within and outside of the occupational therapy profession, provides me a holistic working knowledge that I can bring to the AOTA Board of Directors.  This position is a natural next step for me to continue to support the Centennial Vision and make a difference, whether by advocating, educating and/or effecting legislation, on behalf of the occupational therapy profession.

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

I anticipate rolling up my sleeves, tapping into my experiences as a national board member and educator and acclimating myself to the AOTA process.  I expect to communicate with members, non-members, external audiences and stakeholders promoting and advocating for the association and occupational therapy profession as a whole.

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

  1. For the occupational therapy profession to be more widely recognized. I find that external audiences and stakeholders do not have full understanding of our scope and the distinct value of our services. Many issues that we are facing as a profession stem from the core concern of not being widely recognized. I frequently promote the occupational therapy profession through presentations and publications on a local, state and national scale. In support of AOTA’s Centennial Vision, it is my goal to continue the effort to make occupational therapy more widely recognized and globally connected.

  2. Communicate the value of AOTA membership to occupational therapists in an effort to strengthen our OT community as well as inspire and build leadership amongst current members and non-members.

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

It is most critical that the AOTA achieve growth in building awareness of our profession with external audiences and stakeholders, including local, state and federal governmental agencies. 

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

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my candidacy for Director to the AOTA Board of Directors.  One thing that I want voters to know is that I am ready to roll up my sleeves, work hard and get things done.  I am looking forward to the opportunity to working with the AOTA governing bodies and utilize my skills, education and passion on behalf of the association and the membership.