Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Becoming part of the 4.2%


December 12, 2019

Diversity Getting Involved

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According to the 2018 U.S. Department of Labor — Labor Force Statistics there are 116,000 employed Occupational therapist (OT) in the nation. Of those employed in the U.S. the demographic percentage breakdown by ethnicity is 91.1% White, 6.4% Asian, 4.2% Hispanic or Latino, and 2.5% Black or African American. As a Latinx occupational therapy master’s student who was recently admitted into the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at USC, I am looking forward to becoming part of the 4.2% in the near future.

As a student ambassador for the division, I have been able to work with the admissions and ambassador team on diversity related events, in hopes of increasing awareness about this healthcare profession. Throughout the semester, I tabled at conferences, presented at middle schools, and met with leaders in the division who are passionate about diversifying the profession. These opportunities coupled with my zeal for changing the current statistics on sociocultural diversity in the profession, make me excited to highlight a couple of those events.

Latino College Expo @ Pomona

Latino college student exposition

Annual event where Latinx students, parents, guardians, and admissions representatives from public or private colleges, universities, and community based organizations are able to forge partnerships. This year Daniel Padilla (2nd year Master’s student), Kat Hylton (2nd Year Master’s student and Student Ambassador), and I were able to table at the event.

Washington STEAM Multilingual Academy @ USC (OT Visit on Campus)

OT middle school presentation on campus

Dr. Arameh Anvarizadeh (Director of Admissions for the Chan Division) and the ambassador team were able to provide 50 middle school students from Washington STEAM the opportunity to learn about OT right in our classroom!

Press Friends Newspaper @ John W. Mack Elementary School

USC press friends presentation at an elementary school

I was introduced to USC Press Friends by the previous student ambassador Jessica Pederson. I presented to the school newspaper journalist about what led me to choose OT as a career path and supported them with writing an article about OT.

These specific events remind me of the questions I find myself pondering on:

  • What can I do as a student in the division to make a shift in the demographic percentages of students applying to the Master’s program?
  • How can students in the program support one another with forging relationships that are long lasting?
  • Who do I need to collaborate with to really be able to understand how to make a shift in the current statistics on sociocultural diversity in the profession?

Accepting my Doctoral program admissions offer is my first step in answering these questions. Being a future healthcare provider with an OT lens makes me excited, especially when there are limited professionals who represent a broad range of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. I am certain that with continued mentorship, I will be able to further understand barriers impacting students of diverse backgrounds from applying and ultimately choosing OT. Concurrently, I will be better equipped to deliver culturally sensitive OT services by learning about my client’s sociocultural backgrounds and supporting them with achieving their goals.