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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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Asociación Hispanohablante de Terapia Ocupacional (AHTO)

Asociación Hispanohablante de Terapia Ocupacional (Spanish-speaking Occupational Therapy Association) is a flourishing student organization dedicated to improving the educational experience of Latinx and/or Hispanic-identifying occupational therapy students, serving as a resource for community members to support one another and advancing clinical care for Spanish-speaking/Latin American populations.

Photo of AHTO student leaders

AHTO’s 2022 student leaders (from L-R) Silvia Hernandez-Cuellar, Denisse Mendoza, Abraham Ramirez, Daniela Flores-Madriaga and Monica Martinez

As part of their leadership capstone externship experience, students Daniela Flores-Madriaga MA ’22, Silvia Hernandez-Cuellar MA ’22, Denisse Mendoza MA ’22 and Abraham Ramirez MA ’22 set out to advance the development of the Asociación Hispanohablante de Terapia Ocupacional.

With help and guidance from Associate Clinical Professor Danny Park, the division’s director of Global Initiatives, AHTO hosted its first event, a panel featuring Latinx and Hispanic occupational therapy alumni, in April 2022. The goal of the event was to provide current students with insights from the perspective of previous Latinx/Hispanic USC students — now practicing clinicians — on their experiences during the program, navigating life post-graduation, seeking employment and what it has been like to serve the community.

Photo of students seated in classroom listening to alumni panelists

AHTO’s first event, an alumni panel, in April 2022

AHTO recognizes that service work, mentorship support and relationship-building with members of the community is critical for continuous professional development. The experiences facilitated by AHTO helps unite and connect USC professional program students. For AHTO members, community is defined as a feeling that extends beyond a group that shares similar characteristics or experiences. The importance of leaning on community and showing up for one another is a prevailing sentiment among AHTO members.

Moving forward, AHTO is committed to creating a safe space for current and future Latinx/Hispanic students at USC Chan to learn and collaborate, with the ultimate vision of transcending knowledge to improve occupational therapy care for medically underserved Latinx individuals. AHTO also invites and welcomes all individuals of diverse backgrounds.

Attendees at AHTO's inaugural alumni panel event in April 2022

Attendees at AHTO’s inaugural alumni panel event in April 2022