Top AOTF Accomplishments in 2020
Message from the AOTF Board Chair:
What a year! Thank you to all our staff, trustees, donors, volunteers, partners, and community members who have ensured our continued success at supporting impactful research. Working together, yet safely apart, we are collectively building research capacity; generating, translating, and disseminating research knowledge; expanding partnerships; and enacting initiatives to address the pressing societal issues evident through the COVID and racial injustice pandemics. We look forward to the new year and wish you and your family safe, healthy, and happy holidays!
Mary Lawlor, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, AOTF Board Chair
Top Accomplishments in 2020:
1.) New DEI Committee - The Board of Trustees created a new standing committee, Standing for Research Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (STRIDE) to develop, direct, and evaluate AOTF initiatives to promote diversity & belonging, combat racism, heal trauma, achieve equity, and social justice. In addition, we want to identify and address any barriers in our community to full inclusion and learn more from our stakeholders about experiences that could inform us about how to do better and promote the kinds of reflections and insights that fuel change. While some of these actions build on existing initiatives within AOTF, others represent new steps that the Foundation will be enacting in direct response to recent events. Read full action plan.
2.) New MJFF Grant - The American Occupational Therapy Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) for Parkinson's Research partnered to offer a two-year $100,000 intervention research grant. This inaugural funding will support projects with a specific focus on the investigation of Parkinson's disease (PD) and OT intervention as well as provide a blueprint for future Foundation partnerships.
3.) Planning Grant Collective - In October, the American Occupational Therapy Foundation held its annual Planning Grant Collective, a workshop that brought together over 35 stakeholders from many disciplines to plan future studies in the field of occupational therapy. This year’s collaboration was a three-day virtual event on the timely topic Stimulating Research to Advance Evidence-Based Applications of Telehealth in Occupational Therapy. As telehealth is at the forefront of healthcare now more than ever, the planning grant committee will fast-track the process of releasing a white paper and a call-to-action for researchers, practitioners, students, consumers, and funding agencies.
4.) 14 Research Grants Awarded Bridging Research, Evidence, and Practice
- 5 Intervention Research Grant Awardees will lay the necessary groundwork for larger intervention and for implementation studies and support the profession’s Vision 2025 of occupational therapy as an evidence-based profession. Thanks to NBCOT, AOTA, and the St. Catherine Challenge for their joint funding.
- 3 Implementation Research Grant Awardees will conduct research that is focused on helping occupational therapists take evidence-informed practice from theory to reality in their practice setting. This research grant develops and evaluates the processes used to implement, sustain, and or scale-up evidence-based practice into routine care with an end goal to improve the quality and effectiveness of care. Thanks to NBCOT for their joint funding.
- 4 Health Services Research Grant Awardees will examine how people get access to health care, how and what care is delivered, the cost of that care, and what happens to patients as a result of receiving or not receiving care. Thanks to NBCOT for their generous grant funding.
- The Dr. Gary Kielhofner Doctoral Research Scholarship in Occupational Therapy and Nedra Gillette Endowed Research Fellowship were also awarded to honor their namesakes.
5.) Recognizing Research Excellence - Every year, AOTF bestows awards and honors to individuals, agencies, businesses and/or other organizations that contribute time, energy, and support to the fulfillment of the mission, goals, and objectives of AOTF. View recipients including our distinguished Academy of Research inductee, Jennifer Fleming, PhD, OTR/L, FOTARA, Professor, The University of Queensland.
6.) 41 OT Scholarships Awarded in Collaboration with State OT Associations
The scholarships ranged in value from $150 to $5,000. The OT Scholarship Program is one of the oldest of the Foundation's programs dating back to the establishment of AOTF in 1965. Thank you to the Scholarship Selection Committee, comprised of volunteer occupational therapy practitioners and educators, who reviewed all applications and recommended scholarship recipients.
7.) OTJR Advancing the Profession Through Scientific Inquiry - 2020 has been an outstanding year for research publication OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health. The 5-year impact factor for 2019 increased to an all-time high of 1.695. Furthermore, OTJR has received an unprecedented number of submissions so far in 2020, with 209 manuscripts submitted year to date. With the commitment and diligence of our editorial board and reviewers, the turnaround time from submission to first decision remains an average of just 27 days. This growth represents the contributions of quality data-driven research from authors and the rigorous processes of OTJR's Editor-In-Chief (Sherrilene Classen PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA), Assistant Editor, Associate Editors, Editorial Fellows, Review Board Members, and SAGE Publishing Partners. In addition, the journal moved to online-only for individual subscriber cost-savings and environmentally-friendly factors.
8.) OT Summit Selections - AOTA and AOTF selected 32 students to attend the fifth annual Summer Institute of Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy. The program will introduce students to a career in research, connect them with mentors in the occupational therapy scientific community, and immerse them in a research-focused professional experience.
9.) Record-Breaking Support of the Intervention Research Grant
- The 2020 St. Catherine Challenge raised over $54,000 from 54 schools across the country, a new milestone in the Challenge's history. Thank you to all the schools and student leaders who participated in the Challenge. We welcome you to participate in the 2021 Challenge underway.
- 100% of our past Intervention Research Grant winners made a philanthropic gift to support the next round of these unique grants! This unprecedented level of giving demonstrates the outstanding commitment of our OT community to advance the science of occupational therapy.
IRGs fill a critical gap in OT research funding by providing financial support for a 1-year, early stage, research study. in follow-on funding. Stay tuned for the winners of the 2021 IRGs!
10.) PTE Continues to Grow - Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), the national occupational therapy honor society, continues to advance its mission to support occupational therapy by promoting research, leadership, and scholarly activities. 124 schools now have active chapters, with five new ones joining PTE in 2020. For a fourth consecutive year, PTE’s successful partnership with OccupationalTherapy.com offered free continuing education credits to its active alumni and lifetime members. Thank you to the leadership of PTE officers and engagement of members!
11.) Pivoting with New Complimentary Webinar Series - Our new webinar series, spearheaded by Board Chair, Mary Lawlor, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, focuses on the timely topic of Navigating Research During the COVID Pandemic. Next up in the series will be Experiences of Front Line Occupational Therapists and Implications for Research in January. View the first webinar Perspectives of PIs on Pivots and Challenges.
12.) New Online Scavenger Hunt in OT Month - In celebration of OT Month in April, the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) held an online scavenger hunt to have some fun while broadening the knowledge of the Foundation’s mission, activities and our impact on evidence-based practice. Thank you participants and our sponsor OccupationalTherapy.com who provided a new iPad® for the raffle.
13.) Strengthening the Future of OT Thanks to You
- Donors - AOTF is immensely grateful to our generous donors who made gifts during the fiscal year 2020 (October 1, 2019-September 30, 2020). The full list of donors will be available at www.aotf.org and in our upcoming 2020 Annual Report. Give a year end tax-deductible gift.
- Volunteers - We depend on the volunteers from all areas of occupational therapy and the public to deliver the programs you have come to rely on. View volunteers and how to apply.
- Partners - We are especially grateful for our valued partner support and flexibility during this ever-changing year. We look forward to working with you in the new year. Become a partner.
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