Amy Jo Lamb, OTD, OTRL, FAOTA
AOTA President Elect
Dr. Lamb is the President Elect of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Program Director & Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Eastern Michigan University, and owner of AJLamb Consulting. She is the immediate past Vice President of AOTA from 2012-2015 and prior to that served as chair of the American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee (AOTPAC). She brings with her the valuable combination of clinical practice as a registered occupational therapist combined together with health care policy experience at the state and federal levels. Dr. Lamb’s expertise includes health policy, prevention and wellness, and occupational therapy as a career.
Dr. Lamb received both her Bachelors of Science in Occupational Therapy and her post professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dr. Lamb got her policy start in the Minnesota House of Representatives working with the Health Policy committee. She was the paid lobbyist for the Nebraska Occupational Therapy Association from 2000-2008.
Dr. Lamb’s clinical practice spans from private practice, school based pediatrics, acute care, and elders. Prior to her current position she was an Outpatient Director with Brookdale Senior Living managing the outpatient therapy clinics and home health rehabilitation services in assisted living and independent living communities in the Denver Colorado area.
In 2012, Dr. Lamb was selected to join the AOTA Roster of Fellows. In 2011, she received the Lindy Boggs advocacy award from the American Occupational Therapy Association for her leadership in advocacy and political action in the profession of occupational therapy. Therapy Times included her on their Most Influential list for 2007 for her contributions at the state and federal level in advocacy and health policy development.
In her volunteer leadership positions, Dr. Lamb is part of the team that helps occupational therapy professionals understand the policy agenda of the association and the role they as health care professionals play in advocacy, she organizes the grassroots, educates others on issues, and spends time on the hill with members of Congress to meet the needs of the Association. Dr. Lamb speaks regularly to groups on health policy issues impacting practice and benefits of consumers and provides participants with practical ways to get involved in the process and make their voices heard. She currently resides outside of Dexter, Michigan with her husband Nathan and their two children Gabby (12) and Josh (10).
Health care reform is here. Whether you were in support of its passage or not, it is the law of the land. I hope we can agree we must be prepared for its implementation. What will health care reform mean for occupational therapy moving forward? What can we do as practitioners to shape the role of occupational therapy in this era of restructuring? A large part of the implementation is being handed down to the states, which means our state occupational therapy associations will be front and center in the advocacy effort.
I hear the concerns from our state association presidents and leaders. Low membership numbers impact the financial viability of the association and limit the resources state associations are able to provide. A shortage of volunteers to do the necessary work for the profession at the state level leaves many state association leaders feeling overwhelmed. The keeping ahead of the many legislative and regulatory issues impacting occupational therapy requires daily attention yet we have a good number of state occupational therapy associations without lobbyists to assist in this endeavor or to help coordinate advocacy efforts.
As I indicated in my position statement, AOTA must invest resources in and support for our state affiliates. Specifically, as implementation of reform shifts to the states it is essential that each of our state affiliates and our members are prepared to take on the advocacy challenge. Decisions are being made daily regarding health care reform implementation in the states. AOTA recently shared with the state association and AOTA leadership the supports they are putting in place to equip our state affiliates to be prepared for these important discussions. As an organizational advisor to the AOTA Board, I was excited to see AOTA taking action to support the state affiliates. I was pleased to see an action plan for efforts over the next four months. I look forward to supporting AOTA and the state associations in securing our place at the table. However, I believe we need to do more.
As we do our strategic planning, we must take what we have today and look to the future. We have state occupational therapy associations struggling to stay operational and lacking the needed volunteers. We have the next generation of practitioners/leaders excited and eager to get involved. AOTA is the link. Increasing the health and stability of our state associations starts by investing resources and time today! AOTA has mentoring programs for emerging leaders and middle managers in place now. I would like to see a partnership between the state affiliates and AOTA for a state association leadership mentoring program. I have worked with several states individually to begin developing mentoring programs and believe the AOTA resources and insight would be of great value to all of our state affiliates.
Occupational therapy needs strong leadership at the state and national levels. We need to be proactive and be aggressive in ensuring the survival of our state occupational therapy associations. If elected the next Vice President of AOTA, I am committed to making this a priority and working to provide the supports necessary to grow and strengthen AOTA and our state affiliates.