Occupational Therapy Celebrates 100-Year Anniversary

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The Department of Occupational Therapy celebrated the profession’s centennial on April 9 at UCA Downtown.

The event included a group of mimes for entertainment and live music provided by Residual Limbs — a group of second year UCA occupational therapy students including Wade Ivy, Mac Gaskin, Matthew Lacy and Grant Camden.

The event displayed artwork created by individuals who have benefited from occupational therapy and sculptures created by UCA occupational therapy students that symbolize activities they enjoy, including a hand catching a softball and a hand holding a pencil to a sketchpad.

UCA Occupational Therapy Department Chair Jennifer Moore said the UCA Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff and students were invited, as well as practitioners in the state, people from the organizations who serve disabled individuals and employ occupational therapists and occupational therapy schools in the state.

“We’ve been working on this really hard for this whole year and it’s just a really good feeling to see everyone from the community and in the state come in to celebrate such a wonderful profession,” first year occupational therapy student Perri Evans said.

First-year occupational therapy student Madelynn Gates said occupational therapy makes a difference in people’s lives every day and plays a big role in helping people be the best they can be.

“Occupational therapy helps people do the things they want to be able to do, things that are meaningful to them,” Moore said. “When you think about the word occupation, it’s how you occupy your time. And so people occupy their time by eating and dressing and bathing and going to work, riding a bicycle, doing leisure things, performing on a stage. Whatever it is that they want to do, that’s what we help them with.”

This was not the first celebration held in honor of the profession’s anniversary.

Moore said the addition of the float “Celebrating a Century of Occupational Therapy” to the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California launched the celebration.

The celebration continued on April 12, when most of the UCA occupational therapy faculty traveled to Philadelphia to celebrate with approximately 15,000 occupational therapists at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) 2017 annual conference and centennial celebration.

The next celebratory event for the centennial will be the second annual Occupational Therapy Conference on campus on Oct. 6.

The event is open to all professions. Occupational therapy alumnus Dr. Kenneth Ottenbacher will speak and receive the Marion Ross award.

Ottenbacher was named one of the “100 Influential People in Occupational Therapy” by AOTA, along with associate professor in the UCA Department of Occupational Therapy Letha Mosley.

“OT is more than just an occupation, it’s a passion and the fact that it’s been around for 100 years shows that it’s been not only my passion, but many others before me,” first-year UCA occupational therapy student Laiken Wilbanks said.

photo courtesy of UCA’s Occupational Therapy website. 

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