See You at AOTA INSPIRE 2024 Annual Conference & Expo, Orlando, Florida, 
March 21-23, 2024!

Conference Archives:


Breakfast with a Scholar (CE)
Friday, April 21, 2023, 7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. CT

Fearlessly Different
Mickey Rowe, Founding Artistic Director of the National Disability Theatre


Mickey Rowe

Sometimes just one small action can change a life. For Mickey Rowe, Founding Artistic Director of the National Disability Theatre, it began when he was introduced to Seattle Children’s Theatre by his grandmother. Rowe, who is autistic and legally blind, was told that he could never enter the mainstream world. Acting changed all of that. In this keynote, Rowe shares his deeply personal and inspiring story of growing up autistic and pushing beyond the restrictions of a special education classroom to shine on Broadway. The talk is based on his new memoir: Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage. He shows all of us that whether disable or not, the things that make us different are often our biggest strengths. (Note: Additional registration required to attend this program. Both in-person and on demand registrants may view content on the virtual platform through June 30, 2023.)*

View Attendee Program

  • In Person- $ 70 (add to your INSPIRE package, includes on demand access also, BONUS: book available for purchase and signing at end of program)
  • On Demand Only- OTs/OTAs - $ 40/Students- $ 20 (not eligible for CE's)
  • Book only - $25 (includes shipping in US)


State of the Science Symposium (CE)
Friday, April 21, 3:00 pm–5:30 pm CT

Shifting the Culture of Occupational Therapy Scholarship Through Community-Engaged Research



4 panelists for State of the Science

Teal W. Benevides, PhD, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Institute of Public and Preventive Health, Augusta University
​​Janet L. Poole, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, University of New Mexico
​​Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, PhD, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois Chicago
​​Karla Ausderau, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, Department of Kinesiology, Occupational Therapy Program, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison
MC – Mary Jane ‘MJ’ Mulcahey, PhD, OTR/L, CLCP, FASIA, Chair of the AOTF Board of Trustees, Thomas Jefferson University

At the conclusion of this symposium, attendees will…

  • Discuss the culture of community-engaged research: what is it, and what it is not, and how does it align with occupational therapy principles
  • Identify approaches for engaging the community as co-research partners
  • Illustrate benefits, barriers, and strategies that contribute to the science of community-engaged research

View Attendee Program

In Person- $ 40 (add to your INSPIRE package, includes on demand access also) 
On Demand Only- OTs/OTAs - $ 25

Research Excellence Symposium
Friday, April 21, 12:30 pm-2:30 pm CT

4 speaker photos

AOTF promotes and celebrates research excellence at various career stages with the vision of having a vibrant science that builds knowledge to support effective, evidence-based occupational therapy.  This year, hear from our newly inducted Academy of Research members along with our Early and Mid-Career Research Excellence Awardees on their career journey and latest research. 

Established in 1983, the AOTF Academy of Research in Occupational Therapy recognizes individuals who have made exemplary, distinguished, and sustained contributions toward the science of occupational therapy. Additionally, AOTF Early and Mid-Career Awards recognize and support investigators who are contributing and have promise to advance knowledge in the field of occupational therapy. (Included with your AOTA Inspire main registration).

Academy of Research Inductees:
Carolyn Unsworth, PhD, BAppSci (OT), GCTE, OTR, MRCOT, FOTARA, Professor, Discipline Lead Occupational Therapy Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Federation University, Australia,
Sook-Lei Liew, PhD, OTR/L, Associate Professor; Director, Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory; Chair, ENIGMA Stroke Recovery Working Group; Co-Director, USC SMART-VR Center; Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurology USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Early Career Awardee:
Lisa Juckett, PhD, OTR/L, CHT, Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio ​​
Mid-Career Awardee:
Elizabeth Pyatak, PhD, OTR/L, CDCES, FAOTA, Director of the Lifestyle Redesign® Knowledge Mobilization Initiative, and Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Awards & Recognitions Ceremony
Saturday, April 22, 4:30 am – 6:00 pm CT (w/reception 6
:00 pm–7:30 pm)

Each year, AOTF and AOTA recognize and honor our colleagues who have made significant contributions to enrich the profession of occupational therapy. Feel the excitement and be inspired during this year’s engaging ceremony, as we publicly unveil the winners of AOTF’s and AOTA’s most prestigious awards.

Plus, don't miss...

International Breakfast: Inspired to BE: Promoting Belonging and Equity for an Evolved Profession

Saturday April 22, 9:00 am–10:30 am

Douglene Jackson, PhD, OTR/L, LMT, ATP, FAOTA, AOTF Board Secretary

Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture: The Mattering of “Little Things”

Saturday April 22, 11:15 am–12:30 pm

Mary Lawlor, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Past AOTF Board Chair


Visit AOTF Booth 

Booth #2300 located in lobby near main registration area Kansas City Conv Center Level 2 - 13th St Entrance (and bridge to H. Roe Bartle Hall Meeting Rooms) 

  • Enter Raffle for 2 bottles of Jack's BBQ sauce
  • Student Scavenger Hunt sponsored by Real OT Solutions 
  • Meet with our AOTF Scientific Programs Officer and OTJR Editor
  • View display of 2023 Grant and Scholarship recipients, St. Catherine Challenge Results and Award recipients
  • Relax in our Donor Lounge 
  • Pick up a free AOTF goniometer
  • And more!

 *AOTA Event Cancellation Policy: Please notify AOTA by email at conference@aota.org, or fax 770-238-0414. A 15% processing fee will be applied to all cancellation requests made through March 29, 2023. Refunds will not be issued after March 29, 2023.

Thank You 2023 Sponsors! 

Thank You Sponsors


OT Student Scavenger Hunt: Real OT Solutions 


Contact Lawrence Liff, development@aotf.org for sponsorship opportunities. 

Conference Archives:


Breakfast with a Scholar (CE)

An Unquiet Mind: Professional and Personal Insights About Living with Depression and Bipolar Illness
Kay Redfield Jamison, M.A., Ph.D.

Redfield A Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Kay Redfield Jamison is an international authority and researcher on mood disorders. Named a “Hero of Medicine" by TIME, she has unique insight into the world of mental illness. Dr. Jamison went public with her own struggle with manic depression in a 1995 Washington Post article and subsequent New York Times bestseller, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, which according to Oliver Sacks, M.D, “stands alone in the literature of manic depression for its bravery, brilliance, and beauty.” Since its release, she has become a trusted advocate for the millions who suffer from mental illness.

Dr. Jamison will share her deeply personal experience with mania and depression and the impact on her intersecting worlds of researcher, clinician, teacher and patient.

With her professional and personal insights about living with depression and bipolar illness, Dr. Jamison’s lectures have been described by audiences as profoundly enlightening experiences. Through her candor and simplicity, Jamison addresses the clinical and personal realities of mental illness in a manner that encourages dialogue, empathy and hope.

$18 - Unquiet Mind Book only (includes shipping)

State of the Science Symposium (CE)

Healing from Trauma: The Value of Occupation and Therapeutic Alliance 

Christine Helfrich, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Professor & Post-Professional OTD Capstone Coordinator, Division of Occupational Therapy, American International College
Heather Javeherian, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Associate Professor, Dept. of Occupational Therapy, Loma Linda University
Amy Lynch, PhD, OTR/L, TBRI® Educator, SCFES, Associate Professor, Dept. of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Temple University

Emily F. Rothman, ScD, MS, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Occupational Therapy, Boston University
Duana C. Russell-Thomas, OTD, OTR/L, Clinical Specialist in Occupational Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis

Occupational therapy practitioners encounter individuals who have experienced trauma, as part of their past or present story. These individuals may be clients, coworkers, trainees, or others. Some occupational therapy practitioners are themselves trauma survivors, and others must learn to safeguard against secondary trauma when working with clients who have experienced trauma. Whether the trauma experienced is acute, chronic, or developmental in nature—it can negatively influence habits, roles, routines and contribute to a lower sense of competency, self-worth, and belonging. Trauma disrupts participation and satisfaction in occupation. Occupational therapists can acquire the skills to respond to the needs of individuals, families, and communities that have experienced trauma, but the research supporting our involvement is limited. 

Join our panelists who will:

  • Provide an overview of trauma & principles of trauma-informed care (TIC)
  • Discuss the existing content of occupational therapy driven TIC research
  • Reveal gaps in research for OT role in TIC
  • Identify supports and barriers to conducting this research
  • Provide ways in which front line clinicians can contribute evidence about the positive impact of OT in TIC delivery
  • Explore ways to address needs of clients to improve delivery of care without risk of causing new trauma or triggering prior trauma

Eleanor Slagle Lecture, Friday, April 1, 2022, 5:15 p.m.–6:30 p.m. CT

Finding Our Strengths: Recognizing Professional Bias and Interrogating Systems with AOTF Board Vice Chair, Kristie Patten, PhD, OT/L, FAOTA

Additional AOTF Sessions and Events:

  • Future Scientists Institute, Saturday, April 2, 8 am. CT

  • AOTF/AOTA Awards & Recognitions Ceremony, Saturday, April 2, 4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. CT

    View acceptance speeches from a few of the awardees. See full 2022 list.
  • Research Excellence Symposium OnDemand

    Presentations from Early Career and Mid-Career Awardees, and newly inducted members to the Academy of Research. 


  • AOTA-AOTF Award Ceremony, April 26 - View on Youtube

  • Research Excellence Symposium, April 14

    Presentations from Early Career and Mid-Career Awardees, and newly inducted members to the Academy of Research.
    Kathleen Doyle Lyons, ScD, OTR/L, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire
    Shawn C. Roll, PhD, OTR/L, RMSKS, FAOTA, FAIUM, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

    Chih-Ying "Cynthia" Li, PhD, OTR/L, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas
    Jessica Kramer, PhD, OTR/L, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
    View Recording

  • AOTF Scavenger Hunt

    OT Students: Chance to win 1 of 5 $50 Amazon gift cards. Complete the scavenger hunt by Apr. 29, 2021.
    Sponsored by EBS Healthcare  
  • PTE Events conducted separately from AOTA conference this year.

Long-running AOTF Events at the AOTA Annual Conference

Breakfast with a Scholar


AOTF's signature event, Breakfast with a Scholar provides a forum for sharing the ideas of preeminent scholars (usually from other disciplines) that resonate with occupational therapy.

State of the Science Symposium


Each year, AOTF selects a topic to explore and invites respected researchers to summarize scientifically validated evidence that guides best practice and identify gaps in the evidence and research priorities that must be addressed to support future practice. This integrated review of the state of the science includes a discussion of the implications for practice, education, research, and policy.

Research Colloquium


An AOTF tradition from 1982 to 2014, the Research Colloquium provided a forum where scientists engaged in the important process of constructive critique and dialogue.

Qualitative Research Exchange


The Qualitative Research Exchange provided a forum for sharing new ideas related to current and emerging theoretical and practical issues in qualitative research.


2015 Gala - Champagne and Chocolate. Celebrating AOTF's 50th Anniversary. 
2014 Gala -- Express Yourself! AOTF and friends celebrated creativity at this American Visionary Art Museum. 
2013 Gala -- AOTF saluted the military at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
2012 Gala -- Dancing with the Stars (Indy-Style).