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Bio & Position Statement

Cristina Reyes Smith, OTD, OTRL for AOTA VP.png

2023 AOTA Roster of Fellows Award Recognition for 

"Transformational Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion"

AOTA Roster of Fellows

The Roster of Fellows, established in 1973, recognizes occupational therapist members of AOTA who, through their knowledge, expertise, leadership, advocacy, and guidance have made a significant contribution over time to the profession with a measured impact on consumers of occupational therapy services and/or members of the Association.

Mountain Ridge



Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD), Thomas Jefferson University, 2010.
Master of Science (MS), Occupational Therapy, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), 2006.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)--Major: Art History, Minor: Chemistry, College of Charleston, 2000.

Advocacy in the AOTA Representative Assembly

Wrote/co-wrote multiple motions while serving two terms in the AOTA RA:

  • Revision of AOTA Ethics Commission Cultural Competency Advisory Opinion (Passed)

  • Revision of AOTA Statement on Inclusion (Passed)

  • Development of Blueprint on Cultural Competence in Education (Passed)

  • Development of AOTA Diversity Officer Position (Transitioned motion to AOTA Board of Directors and motion modified to AOTA Board Diversity Champion position (Passed))


Medical University of South Carolina Division of Occupational Therapy, Charleston, SC: Director of Admissions, 2018–present; Associate Professor, 2022 - present; Assistant Professor, 2017–2022; Instructor, 2014–2017; Adjunct Faculty, 2010–2014.


Vida Bella Services, LLC, North Charleston, SC: Owner/Supervising Occupational Therapist, 2012–2020.


Colleton Medical Center (HCA South Atlantic Hospitals), Walterboro, SC: Occupational Therapist (PRN), 2011–2013. Coastal Therapy Services, Inc., Mt. Pleasant, SC: Pediatric Occupational Therapist, 2007–2011.


Pattison’s Academy for Comprehensive Education (PACE), Charleston, SC: Pediatric Occupational Therapist (PRN), 2009–2011.


AOTA: Board Director, 2020-2023. SC Representative to the Representative Assembly (RA), 2016–2019, 2010–2013. AOTA Emerging Leaders Development Program Participant, 2012.  AOTA member, 2004–present.


SC State Affiliate Activities: Secretary & SCOTA Executive Board, 2013–2015. SCOTA member, 2004–present.


Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD): COTAD–ED Educator Outreach Initiative Co–Coordinator, 2017–present. Academic Engagement Co–Coordinator, 2016–present. Co–Founder/Member, 2014–present.

Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, Editorial Board, 2020-present

American Occupational Therapy Foundation; Standing for Resesarch Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (STRIDE) Committee, 2022-present



  • Nominated for MUSC Martin Luther King, Jr. Award 2023

  • Nominated for MUSC President’s Values in Action Award, 2019

  • Nominated for Earl B. Higgins University Leadership in Diversity Award, 2017 & 2018

  • Nominated for MUSC Educator–Mentor Award, 2017


  • Nominated for CHP Alumni of the Year Award 2023

  • CHP Excellence in Service Award, 2018

  • CHP Achievement in Diversity Award, 2018

  • Emily L. Moore and J. Herman Blake CARE Fund Award for Pioneer Volunteer Faculty Leaders in the CARES Therapy Clinic, 2013


  • Alicia Balkcum Outstanding Student Award for Occupational Therapy, 2006

  • College of Health Professions Alumni Association Award, 2005 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Award, 2006

  • Circulo Hispano-Americano de Charleston Scholarship Award, 2004




I have developed skills and competencies through various roles including coalition-building, conflict management, organization and coordination, advocacy, and change management. These have built upon my personal core values of empathy, integrity, inclusion, and collaboration. My past leadership roles have included owning a private pediatric practice, serving a term on the AOTA Board of Directors, and various clinical, managerial, academic, advocacy/policy, and research roles. I currently teach Leadership and Management courses and serve as the Admissions Director of an Occupational Therapy program. There I also helped obtain and co-direct a $3.25 million HRSA grant of scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.


I have coordinated and presented multiple workshops, mentored students and practitioners, reviewed and coauthored AOTA official documents, and served with my state association for multiple terms. My experiences have also included national and international publications and presentations on topics such as health equity, social determinants of health, health care legislation, and holistic admissions. I hope to leverage these experiences to help move the profession forward through collaboration, innovation, and strategic partnerships. I also aspire to catalyze meaningful change through promoting leadership and advocacy, growth as a valued and inclusive profession, and equitable access to occupational therapy education and services to meet societal needs.

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