The last two months of campaigning to be the next AOTA Vice-President has been an invigorating, inspirational and illuminating adventure! What a ride! When I decided to run for VP I decided that I was leaning in hard and going all out! I truly believe that I am the right leader for the right time at AOTA and I want to have zero regrets about anything I should have done to get my message out to AOTA members.
 
So over the last two months I have:

  • Skyped with 10 classrooms of OT or OTA students (and have 3 more scheduled)!
  • Mailed postcards (20,000!) to every OT and OTA educational program in the country!
  • Held two “Candidate Listening Sessions” for OTAs and OTA students on increasing OTA engagement in the profession and AOTA leadership!
  • Participated in an hour-long Facebook Live interview with Alexis Joelle (https://www.facebook.com/8alexisjoelle/videos/1377655329046666/)!
  • Held individual phone conversations with 8 AOTA members who wanted to speak with me directly in a 1:1 discussion!
  • Held numerous Email conversations with member and non-member stakeholders.
  • Vigorously participated in social media to get my message out including Facebook, OTConnections, Twitter and my personal webpage www.brentbraveman.com.
  • Answered member questions in the OTConnections Elections 2018 Forum (https://otconnections.aota.org/sis_forums/f/7928.aspx)
  • Posted “just a few” videos on serious subjects such as Vision 2025, leadership, diversity and the future of occupational therapy

(https://www.facebook.com/brent.braveman/videos/10212962611638001/ and https://www.facebook.com/brent.braveman/videos/10212946146266377/ and https://www.facebook.com/brent.braveman/videos/10212864225698414/

and a couple just to show my FUN side

(https://www.facebook.com/brent.braveman/videos/10213094218608093/ and https://www.facebook.com/brent.braveman/videos/10213014488774897/) and https://www.facebook.com/brent.braveman/videos/10213004301720227/)  

So what I have I learned? Here are some of the key points:

  • There is great optimism and enthusiasm among occupational therapy practitioners about the future of our profession! AOTA leadership and AOTA staff deserve high praise for the progress made under pursuit of the Centennial Vision.
  • Member and non-member stakeholders have deep interest in AOTA’s Vision 2025 but need to develop a deep understanding.
  • Diversity matters and is still a primary concern for our members! We’ve made some progress but not nearly enough in making occupational therapy a diverse workforce. We need to take a step back, reassess, recommit and re-engage to increase diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, participation of practitioners with disabilities, gender and other characteristics.
  • We need to GO BIG in selling the value of our occupational therapy assistants! Here also we need to take a step back, reassess, recommit and re-engage with our OTA members and develop new strategies to increase the participation and engagement of OTAs in the profession and in AOTA leadership. We need to examine our habits, our language, and our messaging about the contribution of OTAs as part of effective and cost-effective, science-driven, evidence-based and occupation-based care.
  • We have a burnout problem. Practitioners in multiple areas but especially our practitioners in SNFs are struggling to maintain their enthusiasm in the face of unreasonable expectations for productivity and questions about the level of support they receive from their profession and their professional association. There are significant concerns about the potential impact of the proposed Resident Classification System (Version1) (RCS-1) on the practice of occupational therapy in SNFs.
  • Member and non-member stakeholders are concerned and some are angry about the possible implications of the ACOTE mandates for OT and OTA education. Some have grave concerns over how decisions are made and how they are communicated. Transparency in decision-making and communication is critically important.
  • We have to look forward to Vision 2025 AND pay close attention to the challenges that practitioners face in SNFs, in medical model settings, in schools, in private practice and in the home, workplaces and the community. We MUST and we CAN do both. We cannot accept a false, forced choice.
  • We need AOTA leaders who are accessible, engaged and open to feedback from both AOTA member and non-members.

 
I am excited that we have a slate of highly qualified, committed and skilled candidates running for AOTA offices this year. I am pleased that the level of engagement of the candidates has been raised to a meet a new bar; and I hope that I have been instrumental in making that happen.
 
I have 33 years of experience as a direct care clinician, manager, educator, researcher, scholar, and a consultant to community-based agencies. My experience as a State Association President, in SIS leadership, as Speaker of the Representative Assembly and as Secretary of AOTA have provided me with broad knowledge, skills and experience to be a highly engaged and effective Vice-President. I am passionate and committed to service to AOTA as a servant leader.
 
If you have not voted and have questions please reach out to me on Facebook or at bbraveman@gmail.com.
 
If you have not voted, please vote at www.aota.org.

If you have voted, THANK YOU for participating!