Are You a Spider?
That was AOTA President Penelope Moyers-Cleveland's question for her audience at the Presidential Address this year. Attendees received spider rings as they entered the hall to hear her speech, and Cleveland took the stage with a red cape that resembled interconnected spider webs.
"We need each other to implement the Centennial Vision," she told the audience. "We are all interconnected as we strive to meet the occupational needs of our society."
There are only 8 years left until 2017, the 100th anniversary of the profession. By then, AOTA would like to see its Centennial Vision become reality: "We envision that occupational therapy is a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society's occupational needs."
Using the spider analogy, Cleveland explained that OTs can weave their webs in three realms: personally, organizationally (at one's facility) and professionally. "If you are a spider, you will spin a web beyond yourself," she said, by working with others to extend your reach.
Cleveland detailed many ways the association is weaving its webs to make the Vision a reality: through the association's new OT Connections social networking site; through its state and federal advocacy, especially on bills to repeal the therapy cap and to make OT a qualifying service in Medicare home health; through focus groups to incorporate member input into Vision activities; through its endorsement of the Boston University Activity Measure-Post Acute Care, an assessment selected by CMS as a recommended outcome measure for applying for outpatient therapy cap exceptions; and through its push for increased membership, which resulted in gaining more than 1,000 new members of AOTA last year.
However, AOTA cannot make the Vision on its own; it needs the help of the 140,000 OT practitioners out there to bring occupational therapy to the forefront. Cleveland exhorted the audience members to not only participate in Vision activities themselves, but to encourage their colleagues to become involved as well. "Web creation never stops," she said. "Each and every one of you has to embrace your role as a spider."
So are you a spider? Have you contributed toward the Vision? If you've working on an initiative, program, research project or other effort to help make the Vision a reality, we want to hear about it! Contact me here at ADVANCE at email@example.com and tell me about how you are helping to make the Vision happen.