Recognizing GCED Leadership

The success of TOTA and GCED rests with our colleagues who serve the membership, volunteering numerous hours to keep you informed of healthcare changes impacting our practice, creating educational and networking opportunities, and delivering benefits to support your professional development and growth.

Barbara PalmerThis month, we are recognizing Barbara Palmer for her numerous years of leadership and service to TOTA.

What is your OT history? Where did you go to school? How many years have you practiced? What is/are your current practice area/s?

I have been an occupational therapist (OT) since 1982 and have practiced in most traditional physical disability settings but began my career in outpatient and inpatient mental health. My current practice areas are academic and skilled nursing. I am employed full-time as the OTA Program Director for Pima Medical Institute. However, I have experience working with pediatrics and adults of all ages but primarily have worked with adults and older adults in acute care and long-term care settings for the majority of my career. I am certified as a brain injury specialist, and graduated from the occupational therapy program at Wayne State University located in Detroit, Michigan.

Why do you serve as a Virtual Meeting Satellite Leader for the GCED members and colleagues?

I enjoy teaching and mentoring future OT practitioners and believe that staying connected to our local, state, national, and world OT associations is an important part of staying abreast of what is happening in the profession and being a part of shaping what happens to OT practitioners and our clients. I want to model what I encourage OT/OTA students and practitioners to do.

What professional or association issues, needs, concerns energize you and why?

Updating NBCOT testing accommodation criteria and options and increasing cultural safety and understanding about cultural diversity and how it impacts client outcomes. Why? Because existing standards and practices relevant to testing do not adequately take into account the learning styles and educational practices of OT and OTA students from underrepresented minority groups and culturally diverse backgrounds and how they differ from what works for the traditional OT and OTA student.

Which OT practitioner/s do you admire and why?

Karen Jacobs and Amy Lamb because they are out-of-the box thinkers who have been modeling the unique value and ways that OT practitioners have to contribute to changing the lives of people with and without disabilities, communities, industry, etc. both in the U.S. and globally.

What are your current areas of interest or study?

Cultural Diversity and Social Policy for Persons with Disabilities

Any thoughts or comments you want to share with our members?

Stay connected to the AOTA and WFOT in addition to your state membership because by doing so you stay abreast of current issues affecting the OT profession locally, nationally, and globally. Subsequently, you never stop learning and growing and you stay connected with what is changing and are more likely to be an agent of change instead of someone affected by changes with no understanding of why things have changed or are changing.

Barbara, thank you for your leadership and service to the TOTA members and colleagues!