NOTE: This post was first published on April 12th. On April 15th I received a question from a colleague and a cue on my use of the words policy and position in this post. As official AOTA policy is typically approved by the Representative Assembly I have edited the post in an attempt to be clearer about the words "policy" and "position." I do my best to be clear and transparent about when I am writing as an elected official of the association and when I am speaking as an individual member. This post represents my beliefs, not that of AOTA or the Board of Directors. In order to maintain transparency I have highlighted edits using strikethrough and all changes are in green. Thanks to my colleague for the question and the cue to be sure I was writing accurately!
It is a good thing to continually learn!
My last post was about advocacy and I articulated that I felt it was a responsibility as a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), as a member of the profession of occupational therapy and as a citizen to participate in advocacy. I remain convinced of those points.
I am a member of the AOTA Board of Directors and as such also I believe that I have a responsibility to support the association and its policies and positions. It should surprise no one that when I voluntarily advocate a position publicly to other practitioners and the public it will be in line with the positions of the Association.
An interesting question is “What do I think members of the association and profession who are not in elected AOTA positions and who disagree with me or AOTA policy positions should do?” The answer can be one word.
Advocate. (See my list of suggested activities in my last post).
I see nothing in our policies or Code of Ethics that would prevent any member from advocating a position on a health care policy or social policy position (within rational reason here…) that differs from stated association policy positions. AOTA policy staff and I advocate to repeal the Medicare B caps permanently. I believe it is what is most just and right and fair for Medicare recipients and what is in the best interest of the association I volunteer for and for members of AOTA.
If you believe that what is most just and right and fair is to impose the caps without an exceptions process; advocate that position. Of course, if you do I hope you go for it, with gusto and professionalism and all the respect for your colleagues you can muster, and with all the commitment you have because you believe it is what is just and right and fair. Know of course that I will try and change your mind and publicly disagree with you.
There is certainly an identifiable list of AOTA positions on a wide range of issues. AOTA exists to support and advocate for the profession of occupational therapy and the members of the association; that is it’s mission (The American Occupational Therapy Association advances the quality, availability, use, and support of occupational therapy through standard-setting, advocacy, education, and research on behalf of its members and the public.)
Advocacy is in the mission statement of AOTA.
Over 30 years of practice and exposure to education, I have seen multiple examples of educators who in one form or another have students participate in a debate of opposite sides of an issue in order to promote learning and diversity of opinion. I am glad to see a diversity of opinion here on OTConnections…….but I am an AOTA Board member for the second time. It should be no surprise that I advocate on behalf of the official policy policies and positions of AOTA.
It is because I believe in it.