On March 3rd, 2015 Touro College Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students again participated with enthusiasm in the New York State Occupational Therapy Association’s (NYSOTA) annual Advocacy Day, focusing on the issue of COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant) licensure.
Touro College OTA 2nd year students study advocacy issues during their Professional Development course. As part of their assignments, they choose to either take the long but exciting trip to Albany, or to provide 1st year students with background about the advocacy issues. As a result of the students’ passion in their presentations, many 1st year students also attend the day, even though it is not associated with an assignment for them. Our students are committed to their future as COTAs, and want their efforts to enter a profession they value to be acknowledged by licensure.
Like many other attendees at the NYSOTA Advocacy Day, Touro College OTA students, along with students and faculty from the OT program, start the day very early (some are picked up by our bus at 5:30 am), professionally dressed and ready for action! We make the trip to Albany, and return home well over 12 hours later. It is a day filled with new sights and experiences, and for many, the first glimpse of government “close up”. Upon our arrival at the Capitol, students and faculty join other NYSOTA members to review the issues in the Legislative Office Building Lobby. We then disperse to either attend scheduled meetings with legislators, or to visit legislative offices to educate legislators and their staff about the issues.
Touro students advocated successfully in a number of ways. Several students had a very exciting and productive meeting with the staff of Assemblywoman Barbara Clark, who represents the area where two of our students live. Each student spoke passionately about the effect that COTA licensure will have on them and the profession as a whole. The staff was very interested in the issue, took detailed notes to present to the Assemblywoman, and indicated that it is likely she will support the COTA licensure legislation, as she strongly supports her constituents who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this bill.
We also had a photo taken with Assemblyman Weprin, who as a result of meeting with our students last year, is a co-sponsor of the COTA licensure bill A.1798.
April is also Occupational Therapy Month.
All photos by Julie Kardachi.
Julie Kardachi, MA, OTR/L
Co-Chair and Director
Occupational Therapy Assistant Department
Touro College School of Health Sciences