OT and Advocacy - Educator Resources

This entry is intended to provide idea-generation and discussion on incorporating current trends in OT advocacy into your classroom.

Please note, this is just a starting point. Full compliance with accreditation standards is the responsibility of the academic program.

Submitted by: Carlin Reaume
Podcast Title: Advocacy in Pelvic Health with Carlin Reaume, Lindsey Vestal, and Alyson Stover

ACOTE Standard Mapping:

This podcast may help educators address the following ACOTE Standards (2025)- effective July 2025. Full compliance with accreditation standards is the responsibility of the academic program. If published before July 2025, would need to be mapped to 2018 standards.

  1. B.5.1. Identify, analyze, and evaluate the contextual factors; current policy issues; and socioeconomic, political, geographic, and demographic factors on the delivery of occupational therapy services for persons, groups, and populations to promote policy development and social systems as they relate to the practice of occupational therapy.
  2. B.5.2. Identify, analyze, and advocate for existing and future service delivery models and policies, and their potential effect on the practice of occupational therapy and opportunities to address societal needs.
  3. B.5.4. Identify and evaluate the systems and structures that create federal and state legislation and regulations and their implications and effects on persons, groups, and populations, as well as practice and policy.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The process of advocacy is complex and involves multiple moving pieces.
  2. Collective grassroots momentum can be a powerful catalyst for policy change. Change can take place (and needs to take place) on many levels - locally, state-wide, and nationally.
  3. Each level has its own unique process. You need to be familiar with how the specific process works in order to effectively enact change.
  4. We each have different advocacy strengths - consider your personal and professional networks, strengths, and areas of passion.
  5. Don’t be discouraged when it seems as though things are taking a long time or moving forward in a roundabout way. Continue to reevaluate where your voice can best make an impact or where you can take another small step forward.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What surprised you most when listening to this podcast?
  2. What did you hear that supported what we have been discussing in this course?
  3. Did you hear anything that contradicted or challenged information we have reviewed in this course?
  4. What steps could you take to figure out how to move forward on a current policy issue that matters to you?
  5. What stands out to you as barriers to policy change impacting the delivery of occupational therapy services? How can you navigate these barriers?

Learning Activities:

  • Think-Pair-Share Example
    • Think: Take 5 minutes to make a list of the personal strengths and resources you have that could be helpful when advocating to address a need.
    • Pair: Turn to your classmate and discuss your list. What similarities in differences do you notice between your lists? Would either of you add anything to your classmate’s list? (i.e. something that they didn’t mention, but that you have observed within them during your time together in the program?)
    • Share: Share with the class your thoughts on how these strengths and resources could be used to make a real-world advocacy impact. (Instructor calls on pairs of students).
  • Assignment Idea:
    • Create a one-page handout as a grassroots call to action for how to move forward on a real-world advocacy issue.
    • Write a personalized letter to your state and/or federal legislator(s) about an issue that matters to you and impacts occupational therapy practice. The purpose of the letter is to persuade them to take educated action.

Additional Support for In-depth Exploration:

Community and Systems-level Considerations:

  • Discuss potentially disproportionate implications of policy change on certain segments of the population
  • Explore accessibility considerations related to navigating these complex systems (digital literacy, health literacy, English-language fluency, etc)

Please share thoughts on how you could use this resource in your classroom!