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James Madison University

OT students attend VOTA’s Legislative Day in Richmond

Wednesday, February 1st, Dr. Twylla Kirchen and the second-year students from James Madison University’s Masters of Occupational Therapy program attended Virginia Occupational Therapy Association’s Legislative Day in Richmond, VA. There, they were able to network with OT students from other state programs and learn more about the “behind the scene” work involved with laws and regulations passing through the General Assembly. The OT students then had the opportunity to meet with legislative aides in the General Assembly to advocate for the support of two bills in particular that would have a meaningful impact for OT students and OT practitioners: HB 1484 and HB 1483. The first bill discussed specifications for licensure of OTs in the state of Virginia, listing approved organizations for Type 1 continuing education units. The second bill regarding Behavioral Health and Developmental Services would deem occupational therapy practitioners as Qualified Mental Health Professionals, allowing more individuals with mental health-related issues to be served. OT students also advocated for other legislation pertinent to all health professionals, such as for suicide prevention training. Overall, the students thoroughly enjoyed advocating for the profession and learning more about state government. One student reported, “I really feel like we are being heard and making a difference here today”.

PHOTO: AOTA

Pictured (from left to right): Dr. Twylla Kirchen and second-year students of the James Madison University Master’s of Occupational Therapy Program in Richmond, VA at the Virginia General Assembly for VOTA Legislative Day (Alex Le, Clara Wright, Meaghan Smith, Megan Dwyer, Torrey Bathurst, Katrina Lauer, Stephanie Jansen, Hope Sadowski, Hannah Fauber, Emily Lupin, Christie Briskey, Tara Tinsley, Katie Tuebner, Lindsey Sawyer, Savanah Howe, Chanele Molano, Elyse Powderley, Jake Gilbert & Heidi Maeyer).

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