2009 Representative Assembly Meeting Brief Highlights
Cynthia S. Bell and Jan McKelvey
The following is a brief summary of some of the 34 actions taken by the AOTA Representative Assembly (RA) at its February and April 2009 online meetings using OT Connections for the first time. We had two motions come forward from AOTA members from North Carolina. Motion 4 (Carol Siebert was an originator) and Motion 6 (Cindy Bell and WSSU Faculty were originators). For more details, contact Jan or myself or see the AOTA governance web area.
Motion 1 asked the Commission on Practice (COP) to clarify the various roles of occupational therapy practice in a document to be completed by the 2010 Spring RA Meeting. This motion was defeated and a substitute motion was adopted. It charged the “Representative Assembly Coordinating Council (RACC) to explore if education, research, administration and consultation are considered the practice of occupational therapy for the purposes of state regulation with a report and recommendations at or before the 2010 Spring Representative Assembly Meeting.” Currently, the Definition of Occupational Therapy Practice for State Regulation (Policy 5.3.1) does not address these roles.
Motion 2 charged the Commission on Practice (COP) to develop a Specialized Knowledge and Skills Paper for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants in oncology. This motion was defeated and a substitute motion charged the “President to direct the Executive Director to develop a timeline and cost estimate for the development of evidence-based products on occupational therapy in oncology with a report and recommendations at or before the 2009 Fall Representative Assembly Meeting.” It was felt that products derived from a systematic literature review, such as evidence briefs and a possible practice guideline, might more readily accomplish improvements in practice and support the validity of occupational therapy intervention in oncology.
Motion 3 charged the Speaker, with recommendations from the President, to establish an ad hoc committee to evaluate the need for a title change for occupational therapy assistants that would better reflect their current roles and responsibilities. It was defeated but not without a lot of discussion in task group regarding past efforts and a thorough review of the member survey on Zoomerang, which indicated limited support for a name change. Additionally, state association presidents felt that there was significant financial and legal implications if this motion was adopted resulting from opening state practice acts. Finally, it was not clear that changing “assistant” to “associate” would actually produce the impact expected by the makers of the motion. The Task Group discussed that many classification systems, such as state employment or bargaining group definitions, are based on education rather than title.
Motion 4 was adopted and charged the “Commission on Continuing Competence and Professional Development (CCCPD) to develop guidelines for return to practice (reentry). The guidelines would be available to state associations and state regulatory boards seeking to establish or amend re-entry/relicensure requirements and to AOTA staff in the development of regulations appropriate for incorporation into the Occupational Therapy Model Practice Act and Model Regulation. The CCCPD will present a final report at or before the 2009 fall Representative Assembly (RA) meeting.”
Motion 5 asked “AOTA Board of Directors to develop and present a plan to the Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures Committee (BPPC), redesigning the Board elections in such a way that a broad range of occupational therapy practice areas are consistently represented on the Board.” It was defeated as statistics show that the number of clinicians relative to the number of academicians is tending to increase since the institution of the Director Model. Many academicians have some clinical responsibilities and many clinicians function in an academic capacity at times, giving them the ability to represent both areas. Finally, the task group felt it was inappropriate to place unnecessary restrictions on any grouping of OT professionals who have the desire and qualification to run for a position especially in the current environment where it is sometimes a challenge to identify qualified candidates.
Motion 6 requested the “Vice President, as Chair of the Centennial Commission, be charged to incorporate ‘development of a diverse workforce’ in all relevant strategic Association initiatives and establish a method for collecting, reporting, and maintaining statistics related to clinical and academic workforce diversity.” This motion was defeated after a determination by the Assembly that the intent of the motion was already being carried out by the Association. Information and data was shared with the Task Group demonstrating the increase in diversity in our academic programs, as was a report on the actual diversity initiatives in progress by AOTA. Diversity is one of the major tenets of the Centennial Vision and is critical to its realization. The Assembly believed that the range of activities underway by AOTA demonstrates a strong organizational commitment to that tenet and another motion was unnecessary. An article is planned for OT Practice highlighting the work currently being done in this important area.
Education and Fieldwork
The Commission on Education’s (COE) consolidated the work contained five role documents into a new document, Specialized Knowledge and Skills of Occupational Therapy Educators of the Future, which was adopted. Also adopted were:
- Scholarship in Occupational Therapy
- Occupational Therapy Fieldwork Education: Value and Purpose
A substitute motion charged COE to “refine the documents drafted in the International Fieldwork Collaboration Program business plan, post them as resources on the AOTA Web site, and publish the information in the appropriate Occupational Therapy publications. The documents to be made available may include: an Ethics Document, an International Fieldwork Planning Guide, a Guide for Students in Planning International Fieldwork, Timelines for Academic Programs and Fieldwork Sites, and a sample Memorandum of Understanding.
The new societal statement on Autism Spectrum Disorders was adopted and will assist and inform AOTA’s future initiatives on this topic.
The COP revised Applying Sensory Integration Framework in Educationally Related Occupational Therapy Practice was adopted. The 2003 version was rescinded.
Proposed amendments to the 2007 Bylaws were adopted and will now go to the upcoming Annual Business Meeting in Houston. To review these, go to