SJSU Occupational Therapy (OT) faculty and graduate students attended the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) state professional conference in October, 2017. 26 graduate OT students had research projects accepted for either poster or podium presentations where all proposals are peer-reviewed. The conference had more than 1,000 attendees and SJSU had the largest group of students attending the conference.
The SJSU OT faculty are leaders in OTAC with Associate Professor Gigi Smith serving as the Secretary of OTAC, Lecturer Alison George serving as the Co-Chair of the Student Leadership Committee, and Lecturer Brittney Weinerth serving as Region 3 Director. Additionally, at the OTAC conference the California Foundation of Occupational Therapy (CFOT) held the annual luncheon to award scholarships and grants. 4 SJSU graduate OT students received scholarships from CFOT. Professor Winifred Schultz-Krohn was recognized for her pro bono work for the past 18 years at a homeless shelter and received the CFOT Humanitarian Award.
Over 60 current graduate OT students attended the Advocacy Day held during the OTAC conference where they met with state legislators and discussed issues of access for all Californians to Occupational Therapy services and the benefits in developing or restoring functional abilities for those persons who have various conditions ranging from physical disabilities, mental health issues, or developmental delays. There were several poster sessions and three podium presentations provided by SJSU OT faculty.
At this conference, SJSU’s OT students reached the Silver Level of membership in the OTAC. Many private schools require students to join the association but SJSU does not require students to be a member of the state professional association. However, they are encouraged to join and SJSU’s OT program has over 90% of graduate students as members of OTAC.
The SJSU OT faculty is very proud of the accomplishments of both students and faculty, particularly with the collaborative research projects that have been accepted at peer-reviewed conferences.