Michigan Occupational Therapy Association

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MiOTA Member Spotlight:
PREETHY SARAH SAMUEL, Ph.D., OTR/L


Dr. Preethy Sarah Samuel is an Associate Professor at Wayne State University.
 
She earned her Bachelor of Science in OT from Christian Medical College, Vellore, India in 1999 and her post-professional Master of OT from Loma Linda University in 2002. She received her PhD in Sociology from Wayne State University in 2006. She completed her post-doctoral training in disability research at Michigan's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. 
 
Outside work, she raises three boys, one of who is on the autism spectrum. Her life experiences as a parent and disability advocate fuel her to motivate others to discover their spirituality. She is passionate about podcasting to share her personal beliefs and convictions to encourage others to face their daily fears and anxieties. In addition, she reads, travels, and cooks spicy Indian food to rejuvenate herself with family and friends.
 
Preethy is a phenomenal occupational therapist who has contributed to occupational therapy scholarship and practice through her research and advocacy efforts. Her research contributes to developing evidence-based models of support to improve the quality of life of persons living with developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders. One of the most significant challenges in measuring empowerment efforts' efficacy is the scarcity of well-developed rigorous evaluation tools. Therefore, her research efforts are focused on refining the measurement of family quality of life, a complex multi-dimensional social construct. Her clinical experiences as an Occupational Therapist and personal experiences with disabilities as a member of a racial/ ethnic minority group uniquely qualify her to understand the dynamics faced by non-traditional families living with a disability.
 
She is particularly interested in evaluating the burden of caregiving for individual developmental disabilities including Autism. Her recent work examined the demands of caregiving for multiple people in the family and the relevance of family caregiving in this COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Preethy also, believes that clinical OTs and PTs have lot to contribute to research. She is committed to empowering local OTs and PTs in hospitals to collect data and publish their work. She recently guided a team from Henry Ford to publish their work.
 
Preethy has been a member of MiOTA since 2006. She says, “MiOTA membership is essential because I value networking with OTs in Michigan. Networking can foster a sense of belonging and peer connections toward advocacy. For me, advocacy is critical to mitigating the quality-of-life challenges faced by people with developmental disabilities across the life span through teaching, research, and service”.  
 
If you would like to be highlighted or would like to nominate a MiOTA member, please email us at website@miota.org or renukaroche@gmail.com
 


MiOTA's Statement on Inclusion, Diversity, and Occupational Justice
Amidst the suffering that the state of Michigan has experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we now join the nation in grieving the deaths of Amaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Most recently, the murder of George Floyd by four police officers in Minneapolis has revealed the virus of racism that has been present through our society largely unseen and unaddressed for decades. The murders of Ms. Taylor, Mr. Arbery, and Mr. Floyd have unleashed a massive protest movement across the country. These protests are the expression of years of pent-up frustration with racism and inequality.

As an association and members of a profession that espouses the ideals of inclusion, diversity, and occupational justice we cannot remain silent regarding the events of the past week. Our actions and inactions send a strong message about what we think and what we believe. The structural violence and systemic racism that has existed for years within our nation has once again been brought to light with the unnecessary killings of Mr. Arbery, Ms. Taylor, and  Mr. Floyd. In addition, over the past two and half months, in the State of Michigan and across the nation, we have been witness to the disparities and equities as African Americans die in greater numbers due to COVID-19.

We must openly denounce the attitudes and beliefs that result in yet another person of color being killed at the hands of those who are charged with serving and protecting. We must also work to address the medical and economic crisis that exists in marginalized communities of color. Our professional commitment to inclusion, diversity, and occupational justice requires that we not only have conversations about occupational justice but that we act to address the social conditions that restrict what people can do and what they can be. As occupational therapy professionals, we must be agents of healing for individual bodies, for our communities, for our state, and for our society.

MiOTA Updates


You are invited to learn about the value of MiOTA membership! In July 2021, MiOTA's Leader of the Executive Committee, Cathleen Johnson, OTD, OTRL, FMiOTA recorded the informative presentation 

State Associations: Professional Responsibility & Practice Protection



MiOTA's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

MiOTA is aware of the concerns many of you have regarding the impact of COVID-19 on your personal and professional life.  Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Michigan, many questions and concerns have been submitted to our association. This is a difficult time for all of us and rest assured your professional association volunteer leadership in collaboration with our lobbyist, Bret Marr and the AOTA Regulatory Affairs committee have been collaborating to answer questions and provide resources.

We are actively working with AOTA and our state legislators to support our profession and, by extension, our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Information is frequently changing so our volunteer team is doing our best to fully review all of it for accuracy before we share it with you. 

Additional COVID-19 resources are located for MiOTA members and non-members alike under the Advocacy Updates webpage.

General information on professional responses to COVID-19 can be found on AOTA’s website for members and non-members alike: https://www.aota.org/Practice/Health-Wellness/COVID19.aspx.

The American Congress for Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) is offering a series of free educational webinar resources featuring "experts from the Tele-Medicine industry to provide clear and up-to-date information regarding telemedicine and remote monitoring in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation during the COVID-19 crisis": https://acrm.org/resources/coronavirus-pandemic/acrm-pandemic-webinar-series/?fbclid=IwAR06yrGS5RSIAimR3zBakDXwpOFRsRJEpJnfrrIHyNHwmlp-ld2mRTFZAis

If you are currently practicing or transitioning to telehealth therapies, please make sure to verify telehealth benefits with each insurance providers.    

For additional information on telehealth, please log into your MiOTA account and visit the COVID-19 & Telehealth webpage.

 


AOTA’s Position on Vaccination of the Occupational Therapy Workforce 12/9/2020

It is the position of AOTA that occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants working as essential personnel in settings with the potential for COVID-19 exposure should be included in the first round of vaccinations. Furthermore, because the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of health care personnel includes “unpaid persons,” students providing services during fieldwork should be included if their fieldwork is in settings with exposure risk.  

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued recommendations on December 1 as to who should receive Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccinations. The recommendations included health care personnel, defined as “paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.” The recommendations go on to state that if there are limitations to the number of vaccine doses available, “jurisdictions might consider first offering vaccination to residents and health care personnel in skilled nursing facilities because of high medical acuity and COVID-19–associated mortality among residents in these settings.”   

In its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recognizes occupational therapists and assistants as essential critical infrastructure workers. Based on the ACIP recommendations, this position supports that occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who work in settings with potential for exposure should be included in the first round of vaccinations.  At this time, the situation is fluid and continues to evolve. AOTA will update this article as we receive additional information.

 

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