Florence Clark; As Viewed From Above: Connectivity and Diversity in Fulfilling Occupational Therapy’s Centennial Vision. Am J Occup Ther 2013;67(6):624-632. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2013.676003.
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© 2019 American Occupational Therapy Association
I told everyone that it was no good, I couldn’t do it, but the truth is I was looking for reassurance. I was actually thrilled to see that I was able to put paint onto cardboard, and I wanted people to tell me it was okay. (quoted in Finch, 2010, p. 187)
In 2012, Leslie Davidson became the first occupational therapist ever appointed by the American Medical Association to the editorial panel of the Current Procedural Terminology™ (CPT) system. Occupational therapy literally has a seat at the table alongside the power brokers who define the all-powerful CPT codes.
In a 2012 survey of thousands of parents who have children with autism, occupational therapy was the intervention they most frequently cited as best for their children (Peacock, 2012).
The impact factor of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy has more than doubled in the past 5 years.
Occupational therapy is listed as one of the essential rehabilitation and habilitation medical benefits in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010; Pub. L. No. 111–148), ensuring that consumers nationwide will continue having access to our services.
On the mental health practice front, legislation to include occupational therapy practitioners as behavioral and mental health providers in the National Health Services Corps has again been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (Occupational Therapy in Mental Health Act, H.R. 1037, 2013) and has a committed sponsor in the U.S. Senate. Earlier in April, the Senate passed an act that would provide occupational therapy practitioners with new mental health service opportunities in schools (Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013, S. 689).
I am also delighted to announce the establishment of the AOTA Division of Academic and Scientific Affairs. This new division will be responsible for coordinating all of our accreditation, education, and research operations, especially necessary in today’s complex research and higher education systems. Congratulations to Neil Harvison, the new AOTA Chief Academic and Scientific Affairs Officer.
AOTA grew exponentially between 2003 and 2013: Membership is up 30%, from 36,000 members in 2003 to more than 47,000 members today; student membership is up 300%, from 5,700 members in 2003 to 17,500 members today; attendance at the AOTA/National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Student Conclave is averaging well over 500 students annually; total contributions to the American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee (AOTPAC) are up 278%; and AOTPAC contributions from program directors of accredited educational programs have increased an incredible 1,000%.
Health professionals from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds are more likely to work in medically underserved areas, thus improving access for vulnerable populations.
A more diverse workforce increases the overall sense of trust in the health care system among clients from underserved populations, leading to proactive utilization of preventive and chronic care services.
A more diverse workforce means that professionals from underrepresented backgrounds are more likely to become leaders of—and advocates for—programs and policies aimed at vulnerable populations.
A more diverse workforce means that people who are not proficient in English can more readily find practitioners who will enhance their clinical comfort, partnership, and decision making, which translate to better care utilization, client adherence, and positive treatment outcomes.
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