SGA approved the Elmhurst University chapter of the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) as an official club at the SGA meeting on Thursday, Oct. 7.
COTAD is an international network of occupational therapy (OT) practitioners and students with chapters on campuses around the country. Their goal is to create better access and inclusiveness to the OT field.
“Based on our needs assessment and survey results, we have determined that we, the students of [EU], are looking to educate and ignite as many people we can reach about occupational therapy,” said co-chair of the COTAD chapter at EU, Annalisa Minaert at the SGA meeting.
The now official club believes they can make the OT curriculum at EU more inclusive, the OT school more accessible to a wider population, and increase cultural humility.
“Occupational therapy, along with many other pathways of the allied healthcare system, are severely lacking in diversity, thus missing out on the potential significant contributions of the diverse population that exists in this country,” said Minaert at the SGA meeting.
“Their intentions are very good because they want to reach people and spread diversity, justice, equity, and inclusion in the field of occupational therapy,” said SGA VP Isabely Hernandez after the meeting.
“So I feel like that would be very helpful for first years and the entire community overall, since they do want to reach out beyond campus; they want to do work with surrounding neighborhoods, the city of Chicago, do fundraising.”
“The response I received from the SGA in regard to the approval of our COTAD chapter was so incredibly positive and validating,” said Minaert in an email to the Leader. “I would be lying if I said it didn’t bring a tear to my eye.”
More information about the new club can be found at Elmhurst.campuslabs.com/engage. More information about the organization COTAD can be found at cotad.org.