Why did you decide to run for The AOTA Assembly of Student Delegates Chairperson?
When I got into occupational therapy school at St. Ambrose University I wanted to get involved right away. I started researching occupational therapy organizations both locally and nationally. I knew of AOTA but I had not previously known of their Assembly of Student Delegates (ASD). Once I learned of ASD, I researched their impact on AOTA.
As a student in this profession, it is important that we have a voice concerning the present and future of our practice. The ASD (Assembly of Student Delegates) committee is a student run committee which reports directly to the AOTA executives. So, with my experience in leadership I decided to run for the Chairperson position. I want to help empower occupational therapy students to take notice of what is currently trending and make sure their voices are heard.
What are two specific goals you would like to achieve through your office in the upcoming year?
I would definitely like to build on the advocacy of our profession. There are so many people that could benefit from our knowledge and expertise but are not aware we exist. As an occupational therapist, we work on interdisciplinary teams therefore, advocating to different professions regarding our skills will be a major goal of mine.
Along with advocating for our profession, I would like to see occupational therapists become Qualified Mental Health Professionals (QMHP). Mental health has been put on the back burner, losing more and more funding each year and needs to be addressed. Our incarceration rates are increasing because of the lack of mental health resources. If occupational therapists were qualified mental health professionals I feel as though we could better serve our communities needs for mental health and in return decrease the already overpopulated jails/prisons.
In what area is it most critical for the AOTA to achieve growth over the next 5 years?
I think we really need to focus on these next two years being as though our centennial year is 2017!! I see advocacy as being our main objective because without the knowledge of occupational therapy we wouldn't have a career. So let's spread the word, and increase those referrals!
What is one thing that you want voters to know about you?
I want everyone to know that I am readily available and excited to serve as a liaison for occupational therapy students. This is such an amazing profession and I can't stress enough about the importance of students having a voice in the AOTA agenda. We are life long learners and I make it my objective to stay current on what is being discussed and what the concerns of my fellow students.