AOTA Board of Directors Creates Diversity and Inclusion Task Force

Written by Lee Anne Hanke

Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity comprise one of the aspirational pillars of AOTA’s Vision 2025 and are essential elements of the occupational therapy profession. As occupational therapy clinicians, our foundational pillars of care are rooted in the differences and similarities of each of our clients so that we can create a welcoming and inclusive environment and support the patient’s experience of connection and belonging.

I am pleased to share with you AOTA Statement on Justice and Systemic Racism which was released on 5/31/2020 in response to the current events that have sparked a worldwide awareness and call to action for the dissolution of systemic racial and social injustice:

“We acknowledge and condemn the multifaceted aspects of systemic racism and oppression. We stand with occupational therapy practitioners and students in their expressions of pain, anger, and demands for change.

What drives occupational therapy forward is our shared, passionate belief that everyone should be able to participate fully in everyday living. As a profession based on elevating strengths and eliminating barriers to occupational engagement for our clients in their day-to-day lives, we must use our expertise to identify and address the challenges facing the African American community and find meaningful solutions that will enable each member of society to thrive.

Justice is a core value of occupational therapy and the responsibility of all practitioners, as established in the AOTA Code of Ethics (2015). We must work not only to, “[develop and support] diverse communities … such that all members can function, flourish, and live a satisfactory life,” but we must endeavor to eliminate occupational injustice, occupational alienation, and occupational deprivation. Equity, inclusion, and diversity is a critical pillar of our Vision for the future, leading to an inclusive profession that maximizes health, well-being, and quality of life for all people, populations, and communities.”

To read the full statement click here: https://www.aota.org/Publications-News/AOTANews/2020/AOTA-Statement-On-Systemic-Racism.aspx

Click here to read AOTA’s position paper: Occupational Therapy’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion https://ajot.aota.org/article.aspx?articleid=1934864 (article also attached)