Presidential PrestiDIGITations: AOTA and APTA, Our Parent Organizations

Posted by Dorit Aaron & Sue Michlovitz on 08/08/2012

Some ASHT members tell us that they dropped their AOTA/APTA membership (or never joined) because they were “ASHT members and that provided them what they needed for their practice”.  We are thrilled to know that ASHT is meeting these basic needs, BUT we must differentiate the value of a specialty membership such as ours from membership in the parent organization e.g. AOTA or APTA.  ASHT was born out of the need for a clinical support community for hand rehabilitation. As our specialty evolved, so did the society.  What ASHT does for its OT and PT members is in addition to what each parent organization does for us, not in lieu.
ASHT provides many opportunities for professional development through the promotion of evidence-based practice, clinical discussion forums, research and networking opportunities. ASHT cannot lobby for practice and reimbursement rights, cannot affect legislation, or advocate for reimbursement. We are a small specialty organization whose numbers and tax status preclude us from supporting our members in the political arena. AOTA and APTA both have this capability but they need our collective and individual support.  One of ASHT’s strategic initiatives is to collaborate with our parent organizations so they better understand our members' needs, and can thus be more prepared when representing us.  We can point to several instances of reciprocal collaboration in the past year.  This year at our Annual Meeting in San Diego, there will be a panel discussion about legislation affecting both our professions with representatives from ASHT, AOTA and APTA.  This will be the first panel in what we foresee to be an annual offering. We hope that each of you, as you set your goals for the next year, will consider joining your respective parental organizations, AOTA or APTA, to promote your profession.