Amy J Lamb, OTD, OT/L, FAOTA
Dr. Lamb is the President of the American Occupational Therapy Association (2016-2019), Associate 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 teenage children, Gabby and Josh.
One of the presentations I gave this week was to students in the OT program at San Jose State University in California. I was grateful to receive feedback today that the students found my description of professional association membership valuable and thought I would share it.
There are over 140,000 occupational therapy professionals in the United States. We have approximately 41,000 members of AOTA. When talking with policymakers the more powerful statistic is “we represent the interest of over 140,000 occupational therapy professionals across the United States.” The reality is that we are doing that with the resources generated by 41,000 members. Imagine what could do with 60,000 members; 80,000 members or 100,000 members. This brings to light the question why be a member of my professional associations, what is the value to me as a practitioner?
I view membership like an insurance policy. I am a member of my national and state associations to protect my ability to continue in my daily practice. AOTA and my state association are protecting the work I do today and paving the way for the work I seek to do tomorrow. Without AOTA’s advocacy efforts of the years past there would not be reimbursement for occupational therapy in Medicare, IDEA, Medicaid, etc….our ability to earn a paycheck to do the work we love is directly correlated to the success of our professional associations. Finally, the information provided from AOTA and my state association is the power I need to be an informed practitioner. AOTA and your state associations are right now positioning Occupational Therapy to be successful in the implementation of health care reform. What if they were not there, where would that leave your clients and your practice?
I also, do not believe that we can look at membership as an either or scenario. Inevitably, when I am presenting and the topic of membership comes up, half of the individuals who identified as being AOTA members also identify being members of their state association. Both are essential to your practice. Both serve a distinct purpose to your clients and your practice. Both need your support.
I do not believe we, as associations, have a good understanding of why people are or are not members of their national and state associations. This is however, something I want to know. So, why are you or are you not a member of AOTA and your state association?