To say 2017 has been a big year for AOTA and the profession of occupational therapy could be the understatement of the century. Our Centennial year has been HUGE! While many in our profession are expressing their satisfaction on a job well-done, my thank you message has a slightly different angle.

In 2017, we’ve had at least 874 positive news stories about occupational therapy. Of those, at least 432 were in news outlets that report an audience of more than 5 million. WOW. As a comparison, we counted 750 in 2016, and 799 in 2015. These numbers would not be possible without the dedicated occupational therapy practitioners who took time from their busy schedule to promote the profession. 

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Thank you for picking up your phone when a reporter needed a quote. Thank you for squeezing in an interview when your schedule was already booked solid. Thank you for staying on the phone with the reporter who swore they’d only take 10 minutes of your time, but really needed 30. Thank you for fact-checking. Thank you for patiently explaining the differences between PT and OT. Thank you for putting nerves aside to appear on live television. Thank you for practicing talking points. Thank you for writing that letter to the editor to correct an inaccuracy in the news. Thank you for writing a guest column in honor of OT Month or about the therapy cap. Thank you for pitching an idea to your local news. Thank you for participating in AOTA’s public awareness campaigns by hosting Backpack Safety Awareness Day or Older Driver Safety Week events that attracted media attention.

We all have moments in our professional lives from 2017 that we will carry with us. For me, the most exciting Centennial moment was connecting with Al Roker, who was gracious enough to film a video honoring the profession that we showed at the AOTA Conference & Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia. Seeing occupational therapy practitioners who had never considered working with reporters on news stories about the profession are among others.

What was your best OT moment from 2017?

To see highlights of stories about occupational therapy in the news, check out AOTA’s OT in the News page, which is updated on a regular basis. To learn more about AOTA’s media efforts, visit our For the Media page. Is promoting the profession in the news one of your resolutions for 2018? Contact me at kriley@aota.org