Occupational Therapy Association of Californa


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  • OTAC members and volunteers began decorating the Centennial Float for the Tournament of Roses Parade (TM)
  • OTAC Initiated the largest publicity campaign for the profession of occupational therapy centered around OTAC's official float entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade (TM)
  • OTAC celebrated its 40th Anniversary at the Annual Conference in Pasadena, California
  • Region 2 hosted the 15th Annual Tea with a Scholar, with speaker Ann McDonald, MA, PhD, OTR/L, who presented on "Family Power: Lessons from the Field and Pop Culture."


  • OTAC held first Annual Advocacy Day
  • OTAC launched School-based OT Credentialing Sub-committee
  • OTAC held the 2015 OTAC Annual Conference in Sacramento
  • OTAC held 2015 Spring Symposium in Anaheim


  • Networking: OTAC held three Meet 'n' Mingle events in Roseville, Marysville, and Fresno
  • Professional Development: OTAC held one education event in Downey
  • Networking: OTAC held a Meet 'n' Mingle event at Grossmont College
  • Advocacy Update: Davis
  • Professional Development: OTAC held the 2014 OTAC Annual Conference in Pasadena
  • Networking: OTAC held a Meet 'n' Mingle event at Stanbridge College
  • Professional Development: OTAC held the 13th Annual Afternoon Tea with a Scholar in Los Angeles
  • Professional Development: OTAC Supports the POTAC - OT Education and Evidence-Based Practice for Interprofessional Collaboration
  • Public Relations: OTAC receives Certificate of Appreciation for participating for 5+ years in the CSU, Dominguez Hills Masters of Occupational Therapy Career Fair Day | certificate
  • Professional Development and Networking: OTAC supported the Clinical Academic Educational Partnership in Occupational Therapy and held a Meet 'n' Mingle Reception following the event
  • Professional Development: OTAC held a one-day Pediatric Education Symposium at West Coast University
  • Professional Development: OTAC supported the POTAC Current Evidence on PTSD & The Evolving Role of OT and 12th Annual Practice Issues Forum
  • Advocacy: OTAC held 5th Annual Region 2 Legislative Reception
  • Professional Development: OTAC held one one-day continuing education event in Santa Rosa
  • Networking: OTAC held one Meet 'n' Mingle event in Yucaipa
  • Professional Development: OTAC held the 2014 OTAC Spring Symposium in Anaheim
  • Advocacy: OTAC held the 2nd Annual Region 1 Legislative Reception in conjunction with the 2014 OTAC Spring Symposium in Anaheim
  • Professional Development: OTAC held one one-day education event in Fresno
  • Networking: OTAC held one Meet 'n' Mingle event in Santa Maria
  • Professional Development: OTAC supported LAOTLF - OT Focus On The Shoulder and Cognition
  • Advocacy Update: University of St. Augustine


  • Webinar: Workers Compensation – Changes to Reimbursement Calculations
  • Advocacy Update: Sacramento City College OTA Students
  • Advocacy Update: Samuel Merritt OT Students
  • Public Relations: OTAC sponsored the viewing and discussion of the documentary, Age of Champions, for the Pacific Chapter of the Neuropathy Association
  • OTAC 3rd Annual Advocacy Day at the State Capitol in conjunction with the 37th Annual Conference
  • Advocacy: OTAC urged Covered California to more clearly describe essential health benefits, which includes occupational therapy, on its website
  • Public Relations: OTAC honors outstanding OT practitioners and student
  • Public Relations: OTAC helps launch new logo and branding for the California Foundation for Occupational Therapy (CFOT)
  • Member Benefits: OTAC institutes new benefit, myofficeproducts
  • Afternoon Tea with a Scholar, featuring Elizabeth Pyatak, PhD, OTR/L
  • Advocacy Update: California OT Fieldwork Council Conference
  • Advocacy Update: USC OT Students
  • Advocacy: OTAC suggested amendments to legislation to ensure that occupational therapy is protected and enhanced in all autism-related legislative bills
  • Advocacy: OTAC developed a Fact Sheet on Mandated Behavioral Health Treatment
  • Advocacy: OTAC participated in AOTA’s Annual Capitol Hill Day
  • Public Relations: OTAC President represented the Association at the Los Angeles County Supervisorial District 5 – Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection
  • Public Relations: OTAC President attended the West Coast University Masters OT Program inaugural student orientation
  • Communications: OTAC ‘goes green’ with its newsletter
  • Public Relations: OTAC President presented at the Stanbridge College OTA program
  • Public Relations: OTAC partners with Habitat for Humanity to implement Universal Design principles
  • Public Relations: OTAC established a media subcommittee
  • Professional Development: OTAC held two one-day symposiums in San Marcos and Anaheim
  • Public Relations: OTAC exhibits at the AOTA 2013 Annual Conference in San Diego
  • Advocacy: OTAC held the 4th Annual Region 2 Legislative Reception | Certificate
  • Professional Development: OTAC supported the 11th Annual OT Practice Issues Forum
  • Public Relations: OTAC exhibited at the Health Student Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Conference
  • Professional Development: OTAC held two one-day regional symposiums in Sacramento and San Jose
  • Public Relations: OTAC conducts Member Appreciation Month activities
  • Professional Development: OTAC held two one-day regional symposiums in Carson and Sacramento


  • Member Benefits: OTAC launches online practitioner community, OTAC Forums
  • Advocacy: OTAC participated in several legislative events including Speaker of Assembly John A. Perez, Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, State Assemblymember Chris Holden |Certificate Liu | Certificate County of LA
  • Patricia Nagaishi, PhD, OTR/L elected as President (2012-2014)
  • 2012 Spring Symposium held at the Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel was a grand success, largest attendance in the events history.


  • Member Benefits: OTAC launches online professional development tracking program – myOTlicense
  • OTAC's Annual Conference celebrated 35 years.
  • American Diabetes Association honored as the 4th Annual OTAC Conference Sponsored Organization.


  • Shawn Phipps, PhD (Cand.), MS, OTR/L elected President for a second term of office.
  • 2010 Spring Symposium held at the Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel was a grand success.
  • Members voted to support a new committee structure.
  • 34th Annual OTAC Conference in Pasadena, CA was a huge success - attendance surpassed the 2009 Conference.
  • CA Brain Injury Association honored as the 3rd Annual OTAC Conference-Sponsored Organization.
  • OTAC transitioned to a new association management database for greater capabilities at less cost.


  • 33rd Annual OTAC Conference had the largest attendance in OTAC's 33-year history.
  • Autism Speaks honored as the 2nd Annual OTAC Conference-Sponsored Organization.
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants become licensed in the State of California.
  • OTAC introduces online continuing education opportunities for members via webinars and podcasts.


  • Shawn Phipps, MS, OTR/L elected President.
  • OTAC hires new executive director, Karen C. Polastri.
  • OTAC adopts a new logo, website, and newsletter format for enhanced communications with members.
  • Rebuilding Together honored as the first official OTAC Conference-Sponsored Organization.
  • Pro-Quest, a full-text evidence-based article database subscription, was introduced as a new OTAC membership benefit.


  • Chuck Strauch retires after 22 years serving as Executive Director. Karen Polastri takes the reins.
  • Annette Bushong retires after 11 years as Office Manager.
  • Richard Bookwalter signs contract with Association Resource Center (ARC) and OTAC moves to a new Folsom address. ARC offers a new staffing model and cost-sharing structure with other professional associations.


  • Richard Bookwalter elected President, 2006-2008.
  • Membership votes to approve restructure of the association and the Board of Directors from 15 chapter representation to a 5 region structure and representation.
  • 1st Spring Fling No Frills Conference held.


  • Christine Weitlisbach elected President, 2004-2006.


  • Members begin to receive their licenses.


  • OTAC moves to El Camino Avenue office.
  • Melissa Szamet elected President, 2002-04.


  • OTAC resubmits licensure bill as SB 1046 and clears the Senate with no opposition.
  • CCAPTA opposes the bill at Assembly Health Committee hearing and extensive renegotiation begin.
  • The bill is resubmitted for consideration and passed with unanimous vote.
  • Diane Josephs is elected President, 2000-02.
  • SB 1046 signed into law by Governor Gray Davis on September 25, 2000.
  • The California Board of Occupational Therapy is formed.


  • OTAC Board adopts Vision Statement.
  • Sunrise document is completed and submitted.
  • Face to face negotiations begin with the California Chapter of Physical Therapy Association (CCAPTA).
  • OTAC licensure bill is submitted (SB 1287), goes to the governor's desk, and is vetoed by Gov. Davis for financial concerns.
  • Resolution E is referred to AOTA state task force committee for consideration.
  • OTAC publishes "Branching Out: Private Practice and Beyond"


  • Luella Grangaard elected President, 1998-2000.
  • OTAC begins negotiations with AOTA to collaborate on a new licensure initiative.
  • OTAC enters into the first state association - AOTA memorandum of understanding to move forth a new licensure initiative.
  • Lobbyist is hired to begin work on the licensure bill. Senator Kevin Murray agrees to author the bill.
  • The volunteer initiative "Make a Difference" begins, which aims to recruit 300 volunteers over the next two years.
  • OTAC submits Resolution E to AOTA representative assembly.


  • OTAC is invited to begin collaborations with the California Health Association (CHA).


  • Susan Smiley elected President, 1996-1998.
  • The first OTR student representative serves on the Board of Directors.
  • OTAC publishes "OT Aide Training Manual".


  • The Board of Directors passes a budget for the first time.
  • OTAC is invited to attend a reception for the President of the United States, Bill Clinton.


  • Lin Reed elected President, 1994-1996.


  • AB 1852 is introduced initially as a licensing act, but is later amended to broaden the existing Trademark Law and is signed into law in September.


  • Brenda Collins is elected President, 1992-1994.
  • The Licensure Advisory Panel submits a revised scope of practice to the OTAC Board of Directors where it is adopted.


  • The Great Grassroots Campaign is developed to assure that key legislators are connected to local occupational therapists to assist them with health care issues.
  • An Attorney General's opinion is obtained regarding the use of physical agent modalities in conjunction with occupational therapy, which is contrary to the General's opinion in 1982.


  • The Mission Plan and Long Range Plan is revised, resulting in new goals being:
  • Quality occupational therapy practice in California
  • Occupational therapy as a viable health profession in California
  • OTAC, as a viable organization, effectively meet members needs.
  • Janet Jabri is elected President, 1990-92.


  • AB 1245 is introduced to the Assembly Health Committee to establish licensure for occupational therapy. It is defeated.


  • Ardith Breton elected President, 1988-1990.
  • A scope of practice, as defined by the Licensure Task Force, is adopted by the Board of Directors.


  • A Licensure Task Force is appointed to further study the issue of Licensure.


  • Chuck Strauch hired as first full-time salaried Executive Director/Lobbyist.
  • First OTAC office is established two blocks from the capital in Sacramento.


  • Annual conference incorporates a paid speaker and innovative educational tracks.


  • Diane Hendricks elected President, 1984-1988.
  • President-Elect position developed to allow training and transition time.
  • AB 34 79 submitted, a repeat attempt to establish a scope of practice definition. It is dropped.


  • SB 103 submitted, establishing a definition for an occupational therapy scope of practice. It is dropped.


  • Despite tremendous debate, AB 1145 is dropped.


  • AB 1145 submitted to legislature, combining licensure with annual continuing education requirements.
  • OTAC responded to a request from the Attorney General regarding occupational therapy's use of modalities listed in the Physical Therapy Practice Act.


  • The Board recognized its greatest membership challenge is to help members understand why and how decisions are made and to actively seek their support for that decision.
  • OTAC submitted a resolution to the AOTA Representative Assembly which and was passed, resulting in AOTA taking notice of this fledgling association.
  • Mary M. Evert elected President from 1980-84.
  • OTAC contracts with OTAC to provide management services.


  • AK Associates contracted to provide management support and Sacramento office established. First professional office address for any occupational therapy association in the U.S.


  • Doris Cutting elected President, 1978-80.


  • A Long Range Plan was developed for the Association with the goals:
  • To augment the understanding and use of occupational therapy.
  • To upgrade the quality of occupational therapy practice.
  • To solidify the OTAC organizational structure.
  • A Trademark Law passed which protected the title of occupational therapy.


  • Southern California Occupational Therapy Association (SCOTA) and Northern California Occupational Therapy Association (NCOTA) merge to become one incorporated state association.
  • Mary Lou Hymen elected as President, 1976-1978.
  • First licensure bill passed by both legislative houses and then vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.