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 GOTA Annual Conference

October 21st-23rd, 2022

Albany State University

Albany, GA 

 

Register Here


 Upcoming CUE Opportunity: 

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A Note From GOTA'S President 

Stephanie Johnson, President of the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association, was part of a handful of US-based OTprofessionals who traveled to Ukraine in 2019, assisting to sow the beginnings of OT practice in that country.  As a result of being a part of the inaugural Ergotherapy (Occupational Therapy in Ukraine) conference for OT in Ukraine, Ukraine has become near to Stephanie’s heart. Education within Ukraine for Ergotherapy (OT) became recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapy as a full member in 2021 and occupational therapy practitioners, who would begin to graduate from OT schools in Ukraine, could now be paid and recognized as providing OT services. This—2021—was a pivotal year for rehabilitation in this country as the profession of OT was beginning to take root. Then the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 began.  

Erin Arant, an OT graduate and alumna from Augusta University, and Olya Mangusheva, and OT graduate and alumna from Indiana University, were the first two licensed OTs in Ukraine, however both licensed within the United States. Erin, along with Olya, pioneered the profession of occupational therapy in Ukraine. Olya, who is also the President of the Ukrainian Society of Ergotherapy (OT), in response to the war, stated “Our hearts are exploding with pain over this bloodbath they are turning our peaceful country into. Everything we (Ukrainians) have been building…is being destroyed. I cling to my children hiding my tears as I pray and hope there is a future for us.”

The current war and tragedy occurring in Ukraine is a calamity in which we as occupational therapy practitioners cannot disregard. Looking back at the roots of occupational therapy in the US, Low (1992) stated,  

The reconstruction aides, civilian women who served in World War I, are credited with an influential role in the development of occupational therapy. Their task was to provide treatment in the form of occupation to enable servicemen suffering from wounds or battle neurosis to return to the battlefront (p.38).

For OT to survive and thrive in Ukraine, we must help in any way we can. We must realize the importance of occupation and participation.

Stephanie also made a statement during GOTA’s Virtual Legislative Day on March 8, 2022, in support of regarding the role of OT in assisting those, around the world, who have been displaced and/or disenfranchised.  

“Within the profession of occupational therapy in America, we have core values, which include, but are not limited to the following: altruism- demonstrating an unselfish concern for the welfare of others, reflected in our responsiveness and caring; equality- that persons have fundamental human rights; justice; that occupational therapy personnel provide OT services for all person in need of these services, upholding moral and legal principles in which people can flourish- specifically social justice- addressing unjust inequities that limit participation in society and occupational justice- ensuring inclusion of everyday meaningful occupations for persons, groups, or populations; and truth- that we should be faithful to facts and reality, including being truthful to ourselves (AOTA 2020 Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics, 2020, p. 2-3).

If we do not take the time to discuss the current war in Ukraine specifically- realizing that across the globe others are also displaced and disenfranchised-then we as a profession, are not being altruistic. We must be concerned with the welfare of those whose lives are being devastated:  through displacement from their home; loss of limb due to fighting for their country or a bomb exploding on their home; sustaining a traumatic brain injury due to explosives; beginning to understand the personal hell of post-traumatic stress disorder; or a child who cannot go to school to learn, but now is faced with having to going to bed at night wondering if a bomb will land on their home- if they even make it through the night or next day. We must be responsive to fundamental human rights, including avoiding actions-or inactions- that could do harm.

 As the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) states- we must condemn “all actions or circumstances that infringe on the rights of people and communities to live purposeful and engaged lives in safety and peace” (WFOT, 2022). We must realize the occupational injustices occurring currently in Ukraine and that will continue for many months or years for some; we must realize lives are being drastically altered, if not loss, due injury, amputation, or mental health crisis because of the pursuit for truth and freedom. As occupational therapy practitioners, we cannot hide from the reality and facts that this country- in its infancy for our profession- does and will need our help through the humanitarian and healing process.

In the words of Olya, once again: Our nation is suffering, mourning, fighting, praying, believing, hoping… I pray each one of us contributes to peace and fights for our motherland and the way we were created for. That each of one of you reading this from abroad all over the world contributes to this fight the best way you can.

We as occupational therapy practitioners must act in ways that can open the pathway for altruism, equality, justice, and truth for this country now and in the days to come. We must stand by our truths and support Ukraine not only in their healing journey, but also in their fight for their freedom to live their lives in peace and safety. We cannot not act."

I urge you as OT practitioners, to consider supporting in any way you can. At GOTA we are working toward initiatives to help support OT practitioners not only in the our state, but also in Ukraine, with both monetary and membership support. GOTA is working towards putting a stamp on this world for altruism, equality, justice, and truth. I hope you will join in on this journey as we work towards making an impact out of Georgia’s borders.

References
AOTA 2020 Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics. (2020). The American Journal of Occupational Therapy: Official Publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association74(Supplement_3), 7413410005p1-7413410005p13. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.74S3006
Low, J. F. (1992). The reconstruction aides. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy: Official Publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association46(1), 38–43. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.46.1.38
World Federation of Occupational Therapists. (2022). Ukraine crisis - WFOT statement. WFOT. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://www.wfot.org/news/2022/ukraine-crisis-wfot-statement

Current Initiatives

State Reciprocity

GOTA is now partnering with the Alabama and Tennessee OT associations (ALOTA and TNOTA) to bring our states together to offer more pathways for learning, disseminating knowledge, and beyond! More exciting opportunities are ahead as our three states work together!

 

International Initiative

The GOTA board  just approved an international membership for OTPs or identifying OT practitioners in other countries who are in need for educational opportunities, mentoring, and resources. The first country GOTA is looking at partnering with is Ukraine. Within this initiative, Ukraine Ergotherapists (Occupational Therapy practitioners in their country), will be able to attend our annual conference, workshops, other CE events, as well as have access to resources, such as Legislative Day and how they could bring this to their country! We are also considering a “buddy” partnership in which a therapy practitioner here could be partnered with a therapy practitioner there to open dialogue, conversation, and learning from each other. Anyone interested in working towards developing this initiative currently, please contact Stephanie Johnson, GOTA president directly at [email protected]

 

Dry Needling

Visit back for more details. If you are interested in this initiative, Please contact [email protected].

New Courses 

Visit back for more details. If you have a course idea or are interesting in assisting in planning courses, Please contact [email protected]

Collaboration with APTA of Georgia

GOTA is also working towards interprofessional initiatives with APTA of Georgia for educational opportunities, presentations, and beyond. If interested in assisting to lay the path for this initiative, please contact [email protected].

 

Want to be more involved with GOTA but not sure were to start? Contact [email protected].  We have many projects and are always looking for volunteers! 

 

 


  

 

GOTA Website Crash Course

2019 GOTA Website Crash Course.pdf

First page of the Crash Course PDF with the summary in front of text

Volunteer Opportunities

Feel like you need to make a bigger impact in your profession? Want to help advance Occupational Therapy in the state of Georgia? GOTA is the perfect organization to get started! We are actively looking for members to fill different executive board and committee positions. If you would like to get more involved, please click on the link below to learn more.

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