NCOTA Annual Awards


Each year, the North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association (NCOTA) recognizes and honors colleagues who have made significant contributions to the profession of occupational therapy. Be a part of the process by nominating a colleague, mentor, or educator for one of NCOTA’s prestigious awards.

You may submit nominations for awards for the year from January 1st -September 23rd . Applications will not be reviewed after September 23rd of the year to allow time for the Awards committee to review all applications and communicate results to nominators and award recipients. Award recipients must be NCOTA members in good standing.

Nomination forms can be found here.  Nominations can also be sent to [email protected].

Award descriptions are below for reference:

Award of Appreciation: This non-competitive award expresses the appreciation of NCOTA for significant contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy in North Carolina during the preceding year. Nominees may be individuals or groups. This award is open to non-members (non-OT/OTA) and to members.

Award for Outstanding Practice: Recognizes an NCOTA member for practice excellence in:

  • Children and Youth
  • Education
  • Research
  • Gerontology
  • Home Health
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Technology

Innovation Award: Recognizes an NCOTA member for demonstration of innovative leadership and serving as a change agent for the occupational therapy profession.

Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Award: Recognizes a member of NCOTA for advancing justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in occupational therapy profession through advocacy or practice.

Student Contribution Award of Excellence: Recognizes the significant contributions to the NCOTA given by a student member. A candidate should demonstrate leadership, excellence in academic, and community volunteerism to educate others on the profession of occupational therapy. An award will be given to an Occupational Therapy student and Occupational Therapy Assistant student.

Emerging Leader: This award recognizes an occupational therapy practitioner (clinician, educator, or researcher) who has demonstrated rising leadership that influences and impacts the profession and/or extraordinary service to the profession early in their occupational therapy career. The individual's efforts and skills should advance the profession of occupational therapy. 

Award of Advocacy: Recognizes an individual for demonstrating leadership through advocacy pursuits, taking an active role in the legislative process, and going above and beyond to enhance the profession of occupational therapy.

Janice O’Conner Alvarez Clinical Fieldwork Education Award: Recognizes an outstanding clinical fieldwork educator or clinical fieldwork coordinator/ supervisor who exemplifies the profession, mentorship, and dedication to life- long learning to the students they serve. This award may be presented to one individual yearly.

Distinguished COTA Award: Recognizes an occupational therapy assistant who demonstrates outstanding achievement in an area of practice or leadership that enhances occupational therapy practice and NCOTA. This award is presented to an individual once and is not necessarily awarded each year.

Suzanne C. Scullin Award: Recognizes an individual who has made broad contributions to the practice of occupational therapy and to NCOTA. The individual has met high standards and demonstrates advanced accomplishments in the occupational therapy profession.  This award is presented to an individual only once and is not necessarily awarded each year. Scullin awardees are announced and recognized at the NCOTA annual conference awards ceremony. They receive a plaque and also receive a life membership in NCOTA. The members who have received this award have all made broad and lasting contributions to occupational therapy and to the North Carolina Occupational Therapy Association.

Suzanne Chase Scullin, in whose memory the award was established, was born in 1945 in Columbus, Ohio. Suzanne went to OT school at the Ohio State University and her first job was as a psychiatric occupational therapist at Upham Hall at the OSU Medical Center. In 1970, Suzanne began work at NC Memorial Hospital in the department of Psychiatric Occupational Therapy. She quickly established and demonstrated her excellent treatment skills and was an energetic contributor to program development. In 1974, she became interested in pediatric occupational therapy and was developing a very good outpatient program. Suzanne’s career was cut short by her death in an automobile accident in June 1976. She was survived by her husband and one child. It was her degree of professional integrity and sound clinical competence which is commended and perpetuated through recognition of our colleagues in Suzanne’s honor and memory.