Acknowledging the Roots of Our Specialty
In April of this year, I was honored by the American Occupational Therapy Association with the Roster of Fellows Award during the 94th Annual Conference and Expo in Baltimore, Maryland. Presented during the annual awards ceremony, this honor was a highlight in my career and brought my professional endeavors full circle.
Early in my career I sensed the importance of active participation in the occupational therapy national organization. As a student, I attended my first AOTA conference in Washington, DC and caught the fever. Surrounded by the enthusiasm of thousands of therapists, I came back energized to contribute to my profession. An essential part of that commitment was a decision to dedicate myself to becoming an exceptional clinician. In 1976, I walked into the Philadelphia Hand Center where I met Judy Bell Krotoski and Evelyn Mackin. I walked out knowing that I wanted to specialize in hand therapy.
Being a hand therapist starts by first becoming an OT or PT. Each of us has opportunities to acknowledge our roots and forward our dedication not only to our specialty of hand therapy, but also to our professional origins. Being nominated as an occupational therapist by my colleagues at the state and national level was such an honor, but actually being selected as a member of the Roster of Fellows of the American Occupational Therapy Association is truly an acknowledgement and a hallmark of my original commitment to the profession. I encourage each of my colleagues to continue to support and acknowledge our parent organizations.
William W. Walsh, OTR/L, CHT, FAOTA