Becoming part of the 4.2%
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
Washington STEAM Multilingual Academy @ USC (OT Visit on Campus)
Press Friends Newspaper @ John W. Mack Elementary School
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.