As you may know by now, April is OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY MONTH!
Occupational therapy professionals, students, and clients across the United States have been celebrating OT month in so many different ways- from holding “OT Carnivals” on their school campuses to volunteering in the community. There are so many ways to celebrate the wonderful profession.
As OT month comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that OT month doesn’t have to just last ONE month. We have the ability to celebrate the wonderful profession every day.
During the month of April, I had the opportunity to see OT celebrated in so many awesome ways in-person and virtually. At the Gannon Ruskin campus, OT was celebrated all month. To start out big, over 20 GU Ruskin students and faculty attended the Annual AOTA Conference and Expo in New Orleans. It was by far the biggest turnout from Ruskin students and we hope to increase that number even more over the coming years.
2nd and 3rd year OTD students presented research posters, won awesome freebies in the expo hall (I actually won $10 CASH!!). Many students were first timers and for some it was their 3rd AOTA conference attendance. Nevertheless, we all had an amazing time getting to go to courses related to topics we care about and even some that took us out of our comfort zones. One of the ways we love to celebrate OT at the Ruskin campus is by LEARNING. We got up early every morning and made it bright and early to short courses and poster sessions.
Another way we celebrate OT at the Ruskin campus is through SERVICE. Students from all cohorts and faculty came together in April to serve the Tampa Bay community with one of our favorite community partners, Feeding Tampa Bay.
We also love to celebrate OT is through ADVOCACY. As we learned during our coursework over the years, we have found that advocacy can occur on many levels- from personal to national! We have the ability to advocate for our clients from going into community organizations and conducting needs assessments or from distributing educational resources to the community. Just a few days ago, the GU Ruskin 3rd year OTD students held a community advocacy event at a local church (more to come on this event soon!!)
During the AOTA Conference and Expo, I was extremely honored to receive the Outstanding Student Advocate award, presented by AOTA president, Amy Lamb. Through this experience, I became even more motivated to continue to advocate for OT, whether through speaking with prospective OT students or sharing research with other health professionals. I learned that there are so many ways to advocate and celebrate the profession and my greatest hope is that you continue to do so, whether as a student, a professional, a client, or an educator.
As OT month comes to a close, I hope that you have had a positive experience in learning about all that OT can do and that you continue to share that with the world.