Vice President's Report
Centennial Vision Tracking Introduction
Florence Clark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
The beginning of a new year always energizes me—and that certainly is true as I look forward to more great things in 2008 for the American Occupational Therapy Association. AOTA had a productive and busy 2007, as we focused our sights clearly on the Centennial Vision. We took many steps, both small and large, to position us as a more powerful, widely recognized, science-driven and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce that meets society’s occupational needs.
In September, the Centennial Vision Commission created a tracking system to record our steps toward realizing our Vision. The Centennial Vision Tracking System is a marker of where we are, what we have accomplished and what needs to be done. It is currently being used by AOTA’s leadership to document our victories, since they are often so easy to forget! It will also serve to emphasize the continuity of our efforts as initiatives are tracked to their completion. I am excited about this tool, which I know will inspire us to remember our accomplishments, maintain our focus and challenge ourselves to “keep moving forward!”
Let me highlight some of the accomplishments of the past year as well as the initiatives in progress that are detailed in our first Centennial Vision Tracking Report.
In 2007, AOTA actively spread the word to its members about the Centennial Vision and how to get involved in achieving it. The hugely successful AOTA / NBCOT National Student Conclave gave me a great opportunity to present “How to Be Part of the Centennial Vision” to more than 500 occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant students. “How to Position Occupational Therapy for its Golden Age,” a session we held at the 2007 Annual Conference, was another compelling vehicle for AOTA to generate awareness and marshal the energies of practitioners, educators and students. In addition, AOTA leaders (both volunteer and employed) delivered more than 20 Centennial Vision presentations throughout 2007, and they have scheduled even more for this year.
There were also several key AOTA victories in its advocacy role to ensure funding for occupational therapy services. For example, in December, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed to eliminate a requirement that mandated additional certification for occupational therapists to perform wheelchair evaluations on higher-end power devices. This success was the result of more than 2 years of advocacy work—and it is important that AOTA recognizes and records such fruits of our dedication and vision. In 2008, we will surely have additional successes to celebrate, as we intensify our efforts to address such critical issues as the role of occupational therapy in mental health and care for returning veterans.
Finally, 2007 was a year of significant progress in Centennial Vision-related priorities established by the AOTA Board of Directors. In order to accelerate the AOTA Image-Building Campaign, we hired a top-notch public relations firm, Breakwhitelight, to help us in branding occupational therapy and making it more widely known and understood. This promises to be an exciting collaboration that will unfold during 2008, as we develop the concepts and informational materials to better present our profession to a range of audiences.
A second Board priority is to build stronger linkages between research, education, and practice. Last September, the Linkages ad hoc group submitted its final report to the Board of Directors, which recommended placing an emphasis on “practice scholarship.” (The report is now posted on the AOTA Web site.) In the coming months, we will see the implementation of the report’s recommendations begin to take shape. The Centennial Vision Tracking System is following these activities, in addition to smaller, more immediate changes, such as including a link on the AOTA Web site to the “Evidence Perks” column from OT Practice.
An abundance of good things are happening at AOTA! In fact, I look back on 2007 with much wonder and pride. I have described for you just a small sampling of our progress, but know that we have begun building with purpose toward our ambitious Centennial Vision.
I am eager to see what 2008 brings and am confident it will be marked by practitioners, educators, researchers and students working together to move our profession closer to where we want and need it to be.