top of page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What has prepared you for the role of AOTA Vice President?

My preparation for this role as AOTA Vice President has included serving as a Director with the AOTA Board of Directors; as a Co-Founder of the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity, on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, South Carolina Representative to the AOTA Representative Assembly, Secretary of the South Carolina Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) Standing for Research, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (STRIDE) Committee.  I serve as Co-Director of a $3.25 million grant for the HRSA Scholarships for Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds program at our institution.  In addition, I have served in College and University-wide positions as current Chair of the College of Health Professions Faculty Assembly and Faculty Council as well as previously as the Chair of the MUSC Faculty Senate Institutional Advancement Committee.  I have served as the OT Track coordinator and as a guest speaker for a recruitment pipeline program through the AHEC Summer Careers Academy for students from under-represented backgrounds for many years.  Furthermore, I serve as a Supervising Clinician for the CARES Student-Run, Pro Bono Clinic for uninsured and under-insured individuals in our area.  
Prior to entering academia, I founded and operated Vida Bella Services, LLC, a pediatric Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy agency specializing in providing access to quality care primarily for underserved communities.  We shared what we learned about language access, rural communities, and lower income families through state, national, and international forums.  My work has also included national and international publications and presentations on topics including healthcare legislation, health equity, social determinants of health, holistic admissions, and other related topics.  This has resulted in multiple peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, presentations, and workshops primarily related to Occupational Therapy education and practice with diverse and under-served communities.  

I have been a part of moving forward research and scholarship related to diverse and underserved communities through the recently published development of a model to promote occupational equity.  I have also been engaged in collaborative research projects examining healthcare disparities in pediatric populations, holistic admissions, and academic preparation of students for working with diverse and underserved communities.  I have coordinated advocacy efforts through annual visits for my students and state association members to our South Carolina State House.  I also initiated the South Carolina Pediatric Occupational Therapy Telehealth Task Force in March 2020.  Since that time, this group conducted needs assessments of practitioners and pediatric caregivers, presented findings at state and national conferences, created and distributed a Policy Brief for South Carolina DHHS and policymakers, and collaborated with community partners to move forward this area of practice across our state and beyond.

I have moved forward multiple initiatives to promote the profession of occupational therapy and a more diverse student body and workforce.  I have developed and shared about strategies, resources, and lessons learned through the AOTA Education Special Interest Section Holistic Admissions Panel, World Federation of Occupational Therapy International Congress, AOTA Education Summit, AOTA Academic Leadership Council Panels, and Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education Annual Conference.  I have also had the opportunity to provide Keynote presentations related to these topics for multiple state association conferences across the country.

I developed and teach a series of Leadership and Management courses for Entry-level and Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate students.  I am passionate about leadership development for students and practitioners.  I have mentored a number of emerging leaders, students, junior faculty, and prospective occupational therapy students.  This has included collaborative scholarship including presentations and publications, Doctoral Capstone projects, student organizations, and other academic initiatives with an emphasis on under-represented and/or disadvantaged groups.

I strived to demonstrate leadership in clinical practice, teaching, service, and scholarship. My goal as Vice President would be to build on the work initiated by the Association to promote leadership, advocacy, and access to care towards a strong profession which meet society’s needs. 


What skills, competencies, qualities and experiences do you have that will be of greatest asset to the board?

I have acquired a variety of skills, competencies, and qualities while serving in a variety of local, state, 1 and national leadership roles. These have included written and verbal communication, organization and coordination, conflict management, and organizational change management. These have built upon my personal core values of empathy, integrity, inclusion, and collaboration. My experiences have included serving a term on the AOTA Board of Directors and in various clinical leadership and management roles, academia, advocacy/policy, and research. My experiences have included interprofessional collaborations as well as national and international partnerships. I currently serve as the Admissions Director of an Occupational Therapy Doctorate program and co-direct a $3.25 million grant for scholarship for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. I have coordinated and presented multiple Professional Development workshops and mentored students and practitioners; reviewed and co-authored AOTA official documents including multiple Ethics Advisories; and served on my state association for multiple terms.

How do you plan to leverage the diverse backgrounds and experiences of fellow board members and AOTA members to make well-informed decisions and achieve our organization's goals?

First, I will thoughtfully listen to the ideas and concerns of others with respect and humility. Second, I will intentionally reach out to Board members, volunteer leaders, staff, members, and prospective members to understand differing perspectives, concerns, and opportunities. Third, I will utilize data to help inform decisions whenever possible. Fourth, I will lead with compassion and empathy. Lastly, I will share my own perspectives as a female from a diverse and under-represented community when appropriate with kindness and courage.

How do you envision your role as a board member contributing to the overall leadership and direction of our organization?

Having entered the profession at the time that the Centennial Vision was published has impacted my career--particularly in developing a passion for meeting society's occupational needs. As a result, my teaching, practice, scholarship, and research have focused on helping to move forward the profession towards the Centennial Vision and Vision 2025. This has included Co-Founding the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD), a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; serving in various local and national leadership roles; and sharing lessons learned about access to care and other related topics through local, state, national, and international forums. I have had the opportunity to collaborate nationally and internationally through publications in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and presentations. I aspire to utilize these skills and experiences to help move the profession forward through collaboration, leadership, and strategic partnerships towards the mission and vision of the AOTA through 2025 and beyond.

bottom of page