This April, advocate for occupational therapy
April 1, 2019
By Joyce Yoo
April is Occupational Therapy Month, and part of its celebration includes advocating for our amazing profession. To get some ideas about things that I can do to get involved, I spoke with Velia Lozick MA ’19, a fellow USC Chan master’s student, who founded the student organization OTspeaks, a student-led advocacy-based committee.
Lozick formed OTspeaks after being inspired by Associate Clinical Professor Samia Rafeedie’s talk on empowerment, advocacy and professionalism during her first year in the master’s program. “Immediately, I was hooked,” Lozick shares.
Lozick decided to visit her local library where she spent hours reading about other professional organizations and government. Since starting graduate school, Lozick has attended two American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Hill Days, Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) Advocacy Day at the State Capitol and, with the guidance of OTAC President Heather Kitching MA ’02, OTD ’10, founded OTspeaks. Now, OTspeaks aims to educate and discuss students on policy issues related to the profession, and hosts multiple discussions for current students to join.
“I honestly see advocacy work as some of the most challenging and equally as fulfilling (and fun!) work I’ve participated in.”
Lozick shares these steps to becoming a better occupational therapy advocate TODAY:
- Wear OT — Promote the profession outside of school to those in our local communities who still have not heard about occupational therapy. If you can, wear your buttons all year; I always have a couple attached on my book bag.
- Reflect and Run — Explore your strengths, then run with them. Are you the type of person who loves face-to-face meetings with representatives? Or are you stronger with pen and paper to write thoughtful letters to representatives? All advocacy work is equally important work, so find your strengths and use them!
- Educate Yo’ Self Before You Wreck Yo’ Self — Make it a habit to frequent the websites of local, state, and national professional associations’ government and advocacy groups. Being informed is the first step to being an advocate. If you can, learn from the experts by attending legislative sessions at conferences. You can definitely join me at AOTA this week!
Do your part in advocating for yourself and this awesome professional community you have joined. Pick up OT buttons in front of CHP 161. I hope to see you all at AOTA Conference in New Orleans!