WA Divisional Council

Occupational Therapy Australia WA Division represents the interests and provide services to members affiliated with the Division. The Divisional Council represents the membership and provides advice and support to the operations of the division.

2018 - 2019 WA Division Council Members

Chairperson

  • Felicity Beaulieu

Divisional Councillors

  • Lauren Britton
  • Joanna Grzech
  • Claire Bean
  • Christopher Pearce
  • Sharon Keesing
  • Jane Hopkins

Felicity Beaulieu (Chair)

Current Area/s of Practice: Chief Operating Officer - Community, Bethanie; Aged Care (Management); Depression, Stress and Anxiety Management (Private Practice)

Qualifications: BScOT (Curtin, 1991), Grad Cert in Health Professional Education (School of Medicine and Dentistry, UWA, 2010), Diploma of Business (2005), Certificate IV Assessment and Workplace Training.

Year commenced on the DC: 2017

Since graduating in 1991, I have worked in a variety of clinical areas both in Australia and overseas (UK and Canada). My passion for occupational therapy and its outcomes has been a key feature of any role that I have held throughout this career path. Although I have moved into health management in the more recent end of my career, I maintain a small private practice that grounds me in the work that we do. Having worked in both clinical and management roles (within profit, not for profit and government sectors) I bring a wealth of knowledge about how OT operates in a variety of settings.

I bring to the council the lens of future viability. Future proofing OT depends on developing a profession that is built on understanding the consumer market and its drivers (demand, service provision, financial sustainability). We are in the midst of a transition from a traditional allied health profession, to one that can flexibly respond to the new markets for the skillset that OTs can bring (not always under the banner of Occupational Therapist). The challenge is to maintain connectedness as a group within the diversity of what we offer, and not become so diluted that the profession itself becomes unrecognisable and unsustainable.

To use a building analogy, OT Australia is the architect, site manager and scaffolding for OT as a profession. As the peak body for OT, they work as the architect identifying the direction for growth, looking at a high level for the opportunities to promote the profession, identify where the services are required and when there is a risk in not considering the benefits that OT can bring to a situation. As a site manager, they monitor for risks that may impact the plan for the growth of the profession, and ensure that there are people working to achieve the outcomes required. They scaffold the profession by maintaining relationships with other peak bodies and political parties, advocating when required, and supporting the profession through education and training opportunities. All of this work is critical to our future as a profession, and requires both the financial commitment of members and the commitment of time and energy when we have this available.

Claire Bean

Current Area/s of Practice: Workers' Compensation / Workplace Rehabilitation / Business Development - Health Industry

​Qualifications: MBL (Dist.) BSc (OT)​

Year commenced on the DC: 2017

I have a commitment to promoting and growing opportunities for Occupational Therapists, who can add significant value, in a changing world of work. Understanding the applicability of OT across the lifespan and across multiple sectors I believe the scope for OT's to contribute to not only the health sector but also the corporate sector is vast. Challenging the status quo of the type of roles OT's perform will translate to expanded employment opportunities and innovation in areas that have previously gone unexplored by the profession. Plus, I am keen to see OT's consolidate and improve their current opportunities and remuneration in traditional fields.

I value the opportunity to be involved in the strategic level of our profession, and I hope to contribute to the ‘big picture’ thinking that will drive OT into a commanding position now and into the future.

My career experience has been across corporate, federal government, education, and clinical areas, which I believe gives me an understanding of a broad range of practice contexts. With a diverse professional and personal network, I hope to offer a pathway to developing working relationships that can facilitate expansion of OT Australia’s profile and reach.

I believe a strategic perspective for the profession of OT is critical to our ongoing relevance in a world that is changing at a rapid pace. The opportunities available to our profession are immense and to take advantage of these requires a high level approach that ensures sustainability and durability into the future. ​Our peak body is a vehicle to ensure that OT harnesses the momentum of change and we continue to add value to the wider community. Utilising a strategic approach to engage with government, both State and Federal, and other peak organisations means that the OT profession presents a united voice that has to be 'heard' by those with the ability to influence and change our context. The OT WA Divisional Council is an important representative group for the profession, and I believe it is vital to have links with the national council to cement OT's current role in traditional health care, and expand our reach into new ventures previously unexplored.

Joanna Grzech

Current Area/s of Practice: Community Rehabilitation for People 16-65 with Acquired Brain Injuries

Qualifications: Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) and part-way through Masters of Public Health

Year commenced on the DC: 2017

I love being an Occupational Therapist and am passionate about the holistic values that underpin Occupational Therapy. My experience working with occupational therapists in a number of areas has taught as a profession we have enormous amounts to offer in an ever changing and challenging health-world. Our skills continue to focus on the importance of remaining client centred.

The areas of health are changing. It is extremely important for Occupational Therapy to have a voice in amongst the changes and most importantly remind the health world that client care/welfare remains in the centre of all these changes.

Lauren Britton

Current area of practice: Education at Curtin University.

Qualifications: Bsc (OT) and MR-OCCT

Year commenced on divisional council: 2015

I joined the OTA divisional council as I feel passionately about representing occupational therapy at a local, state and national level. I value having an occupational therapy voice that is generated by occupational therapists, for occupational therapists. I believe my involvement in the divisional council reflects this value as I strive to ensure that occupational therapy is advocated for, and from within the profession on all platforms. I have worked as an occupational therapist for 10 years across a variety of clinical and non clinical settings. I am passionate about education and have recently completed my Master of Philosophy (Occupational therapy) into acute hospital occupational therapy practice. My commitment to advancing the profession has developed over many years of involvement in chairing state conferences, professional education opportunities and involvement in various professional councils.

I believe strongly in a unified profession that actively promotes the value of occupational therapy to individuals, communities and government. Being involved with occupational therapy Australia strengthens the voice we as a profession have when advocating for social justice and inclusion. To be agents of change for the profession we need to be proactive and contribute our own time to the profession to ensure a strengthened identity and ongoing relevance for occupational therapy in Australia. At a time when healthcare is changing and the role occupational therapy will complete in the coming years still open to discussion, being active with the professional association allows me to influence the direction of the profession in a positive way.

Jane Hopkins

Current Area/s of Practice: Tertiary Hospital - Acute CareQualifications: BSc (Occupational therapy) 2012, Masters of health administration – Due 2019

Year commenced on the DC: 2017

I am a spirited and enthusiastic Senior Occupational Therapist in an Acute Medical Unit (AMU). I have a keen interest in strategic planning for the future. In the AMU, I have a trans-professional role (skill sharing with physiotherapists). I continuously advocate for the role and need for occupational therapy in the acute setting. I am extremely passionate about promoting occupational therapy to the wider population and working towards building a stronger occupational therapy community.

My experiences range from burns, general surgery and gastroenterology to generalist roles in rural and remote areas of Western Australia (WA). I have had contact with various other specialties through taking on leave relief position at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH). I consistently strive for equitable and accessible care for people in rural and remote WA. My diverse experiences will be an asset towards advocating the needs for occupational therapists and service users in all of these areas. I hold an integral role in the development and maintenance of the online occupational therapy workspace at FSH and I believe my clinical and technological skills have relevant applications in the areas of advocacy and member services for the WA Divisional Council.

I believe that we all have the ability to contribute to the continuous promotion and development of occupational therapy as a profession. Be that by, completing research, supervising students, completing training, sharing information, by joining a peak body or by doing a combination of all of these things. Any actions that we take to further unite and promote ourselves will enhance our success in the ever-changing health environment. Now is an important time to have our voices heard for the profession and for the people we work to assist. I believe that by being involved with the OTA’s divisional councils, we can help to ensure that we are united on a state and then on a national level.

I signed up for the WA Divisional Council, as this is an opportunity to increase my capacity to build new and strengthen current relationships. I think by building stronger networks and working with people who I wouldn’t normally cross paths with professionally, is a way to remain engaged with all aspects of the profession. I am committed to lifelong learning and I want to give back to the organisation that has helped educate, motivate and support me over my years of membership.

Sharon Keesing

Current Area/s of Practice: Education at Curtin University

Qualifications: B.App.Sc (OT), M.Sc. (OT). PhD Candidate

Year commenced on the DC: 2017

I’ve worked as an occupational therapist for over 30 years in a variety of Australian states and have enjoyed the opportunity to experience many different care contexts. I really enjoy working with young people as part of my role at Curtin University, they have a wealth of ideas, that mean no two work days are the same!

I’ve discovered a real passion for research working in the education sector and have developed interests in the occupational therapy role for people with cancer, their carers and our important role with people approaching the end of life. I hope that my personal values and professional experiences will assist to help us work towards the shared goals of the Council, on behalf of its members.

The profession is very well placed to maintain its role as an ‘in demand’ career and has so many attributes that assist individuals and communities to achieve maximum health and well-being.

We are at the precipice of so many exciting (and challenging!) changes to our profession as a result of technology, health care and social reforms. I think we all have assets to offer our representative organisation, no matter how large or small, that make some contribution to the development of occupational therapy in the coming years.

 

WA Division CPD Committee

This committee meets every 2 - 3 months to guide and assist in the development of the WA Division CPD offerings. Committee members include Lauren Britton, Mereesha Gadiagellan, Joanna Grzech, Karla Cerna and Lea Rawlings (Chair). Members are encouraged to contact OTA to enquire about upcoming CPD plans and to share ideas.

Occupational Rehabilitation and Health Forum Advisory Group

This Advisory Group operates to inform the development and implementation of a one day forum event. The Advisory Group provides guidance and clinical advice to the planning and implementation of the forum. Group members include Joanna Grzech, Mereesha Gadiagellan, Claire Bean, and WA Division staff Karla Cerna and Lea Rawlings (Chair).

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