Advocacy is the process of supporting a cause such as an idea, policy or activity, that can directly affect a person’s or group’s well-being.
The role of advocacy in Occupational Therapy is necessary not only for the strength of the profession but also for optimum care for clients. One way you can get involved in this profession is to become an advocate. Becoming an advocate helps to strengthen the care we have for the clients.
There are two levels of advocacy: Informal and Formal. Informal includes writing or calling your representative for support, voting for officers of AOTA: American Occupational Therapy Association, informing your state representative about issues you may have, staying up to date on current issues via AOTA emails or blogs, and keeping your colleagues up to date on all the efforts for the profession.
Formal advocacy efforts include attending AOTA Hill Day and your state’s Hill Day, attending local and state meetings, becoming a volunteer when needed, serving on committees, attending conferences, running for different offices, speaking to consumers and community groups about occupational therapy services, recruiting individuals to become involved in the profession, and serving as a mentor to new OTA practitioners.
A few advocacy activities that you can get involved in are Legislative Action Center, Political Action Committee and Awareness Campaigns. Legislative Action Center is an area of the AOTA’s website that allows you to voice your opinion to members of congress on important issues you want to fix and find answers and new solutions.
Political Action Committee is used as a way to receive donations through members to elect candidates to congress, train OTs, OTAs and students, and gain local practitioners to help serve as campaign advisors, volunteers, and candidates.
Awareness Campaigns are used to build awareness and understanding of Occupational Therapy by using resources through AOTA brochures, visuals and audiovisuals that are all available on AOTA’s website.
We encourage everybody to become an advocate today for the profession of Occupational Therapy. Go to AOTA.com for more information on how you can be an advocate today.
Jacobs, K. (2016). Managment and Administration for the OTA . Thorofare, New Jersey: Slack Incorporated. Retrieved from http://www.aota.org