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  • Occupational therapists to meet in Perth

    Author: HealthTimes

Occupational therapists from around the world will join their Australian counterparts in Perth forOccupational Therapy Australia’s (OTA) 27th National Conference and Exhibition. Running from 19 to 21 July, the conference’s theme is “Partnership, Inclusion and Innovation”, which will shape a program that reflects the profession’s commitment to a collaborative and inventive approach to care.

OTA President Peter Bothams said a total of 62 concurrent sessions will be convened over the three days of the conference, involving such key fields of occupational therapy as services for people with autism, the rehabilitation of stroke survivors, supporting people with dementia and the delivery of care in Indigenous communities.

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“As part of these sessions, some 320 academic presentations will be made. Those delegates who have done particularly important work within their specialty have forwarded abstracts to OTA in advance of the conference and will be making formal presentations at it,” he said.

Mr Bothams noted the quality of the conference’s keynote speakers.

“We are delighted that Dr Gill Hicks, a survivor of London’s July 2005 bombings, will be addressing us,” Mr Bothams said. “Dr Hicks lost both legs below the knee and was not expected to live. She has, in fact, gone on to found M.A.D for Peace, a not-for-profit organisation that challenges us to act individually to end extreme conflict and its human consequences.”

“Also speaking will be Professor Pat Dudgeon of the Bardi people of the Kimberley. Professor Dudgeon is a psychologist with extensive experience in the field of suicide prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Professor Anita Bundy, who has a joint appointment as Department Head in Occupational Therapy at Colorado State University in the United States and Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Sydney, will be another speaker. Professor Bundy is an internationally recognised expert in children’s play and for ten years has been conducting cluster trials in primary schools and programs for children with disabilities in Australia,” Mr Bothams said.

“And the Sylvia Docker Lecture will be given by Susan Gilbert-Hunt, an occupational therapist with a particular interest in collaborating with industry partners to develop innovative learning opportunities which benefit all stakeholders.”

Mr Bothams said that another key feature of the program will be interactive workshops which enable delegates to discuss recent developments in the science of occupational therapy.

This year’s conference will also see the launch of OTA’s Research Academy, an initiative which will support and recognise quality research aimed at further improving the wellbeing of Australians through the delivery of quality, evidence based occupational therapy.

Prior to the conference, on Tuesday 18 July, OTA will conduct an Education Day in which the design and implementation of occupational therapy curriculum will be explored, and presenters will discuss innovative means of preparing graduates for clinical practice. Education Day will be held at the Parmelia Hilton Perth.

More than 900 delegates will attend the conference, which will be held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. The conference program is available online at

More than 75 exhibitors will also be in attendance, with the exhibition to be open to the general public for the first time, between 10:45am and 12:15pm on Friday 21 July.

Occupational therapists are allied health professionals whose role is to enable their clients to participate in meaningful and productive activities.

Occupational therapists provide services such as physical and mental health therapy, vocational rehabilitation, assistive equipment advice, home modifications and chronic disease management, as well as key disability supports and services.


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