Occupational Therapy Association of Californa


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Calendar of Events

View the latest events

July 13, 2022 First webinar on occupational therapy and gun violence
June 24, 2022
First Academic Symposium
May 21, 2022 First Annual Acute Care Symposium
May 2022 DEI Training for OTAC Leadership
October 2021 Susan J. Harris Legacy Fund Scholarship announced
October 21-24, 2021 OTAC Annual Virtual Conference: Resilient, Renewed, Rising
March 5-7, 2021 Virtual Western Regional Occupational Therapy Spring Symposium
January 12, 2021 OTAC published an Official Statement on the US Capital Riots
October 8-11, 2020 First Virtual Annual OTAC Conference due to Covid-19 Pandemic
September 2020 Formation of the Diversity Equality and Inclusion Committee
August 8, 2020 Ivan Altamura, OTAC lobbyist, died suddenly in his home. He was a strong advocate for the profession of occupational therapy and inspired many practitioners and students to advocate for OT services.
July 1, 2020 Bryant Edwards elected President (2020-2024)
June 27, 2020 OTAC Board adopted new Core Value of Inclusive Community
June 1, 2020 AOTA and OTAC publish statement against Systemic Racism in our country
April 2020 Melissa Szamet, OTAC President 2002-2004 passed.
March 11, 2020 World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
March 7-8, 2020 First Western Regional Conference. Frank Kronenberg & Michael Iwama keynote speakers
January 20, 2020 Susan Jane Pool Harris died. She received the Entrepreneurship of the Year Award in 2007, Distinguished Alumna Award from SJSU, 2018 OTAC Lifetime Achievement Award.
September 2018 First School-based Symposium
Spring 2018
First Mental Health Symposium
  • OTAC celebrates OT’s Centennial with float in 2017 Rose Parade.
  • OTAC Membership 2,777.
  • Heather Kitching elected President.
2015 Scope of Practice reviewed and input provided to CBOT. Subcommittee formed to pursue credentialing for School-Based OT. OTAC facilitates first joint OT & OTA Program Director’s Meeting.
2014 OTAC focuses on OT’s role in Mental Health, Autism, & Telehealth. Collaboration with neighboring OT state associations grows.
  • Legislative Receptions held locally in Regions. Advocacy continues at state level.
  • Pat Nagaishi President (2012-2016)
  • SB189 & SB821 signed into law mandating licensure for OTAs in California.
  • OTAC Committees restructured.
  • Public Service Announcement released.
  • Member benefit myOTlicense introduced
  • OTAC holds first Advocacy Day at Annual Conference.
  • Presence on social media begins including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn & Twitter.
  • Online continuing education offered.
  • Karen Polastri hired as OTAC Executive Director. New logo, website and online newsletter created.
  • OTAC Board adopts AOTA Centennial Vision Statement.
  • Five year Strategic Plan developed.
  • Shawn Phipps President (2008-2012)
  • Chuck Strauch retires after 22 years as OTAC Executive Director.
  • OTAC contracts with Association Resource Center & relocates office.

  • First OTAC Spring Fling No Frills Conference held (now named Spring Symposium).
  • Richard Bookwalter President (2006-2008)
  • Ad Hoc Reorganization Committee formed.
  • OTAC restructures from 15 Chapters to 5 Regions.
  • Christine Wietlisbach President (2004-2006)
  • OTAC moves to new office.
  • OTs begin to receive licenses.
  • Melissa Szamet President (2002-2004)
  • SB1046 signed into law mandating licensure for OTs in California.
  • CBOT established with counsel from OTAC.
  • Diane Josephs President (2000-2002)
  • Lobbyist hired, senator authored licensure bill, SB1287 defeated.
  • Board adopts Vision Statement.
  • Luella Grangaard President (1998-2000)
  • First student serves on Board. OTAC publishes OT Aide Training Manual.
  • Susan Smiley President (1996-1998)
  • OTAC holds first Sacramento Day to promote licensure.
  • OTAC is invited to attend a reception for President Bill Clinton.
  • Board passes budget for first time.
  • Linda Reed President (1994-1996)
  • Revised Scope of Practice adopted.
  • Broadened Trademark Law AB1852 signed.
  • Brenda Collins President (1992-1994)
  • The Great Grassroots Campaign was developed to connect key legislators with OTs on health care issues.
  • Negotiated with PT Association to pave way for licensure.
  • Long Range Plan revised stating OTAC will be a viable organization meeting member needs.
  • Janet Jabri President (1990-1992)
  • OT Scope of Practice as defined by the Licensure Task Force adopted by OTAC Board of Directors.
  • Ardith Breton President (1988-1990)
  • Chuck Strauch hired as OTAC’s first full-time Executive Director & Lobbyist.
  • OTAC Office moves two blocks from Capitol.
  • OT Scope of Practice SB103 defeated.
  • OTAC President–Elect position created.
  • Diane Hendricks President (1984-1988)
  • Doug Fowler becomes first OTAC Executive Director.
  • AB1145 combining licensure & continuing education dropped.
  • Mary Evert President (1980-1984)
1979 OTAC establishes office in Sacramento, the first professional office address for any OT Association in the U.S.
  • OTAC contracts with AK Associates to provide management services.
  • Doris Cutting President (1978-1980)
  • First OTAC Long Range Plan developed to include increasing understanding of OT and improving quality of practice.
  • Trademark Law passed to protect the title of Occupational Therapy.
  • North (NCOTA) & South (SCOTA) merge to create OTAC with 15 Chapters.
  • First licensure bill vetoed.
  • OTAC founding membership 170.
  • Mary Lou Hymen elected as first President (1976-1978)