ACT Divisional Council

The Occupational Therapy Australia ACT Divisional Council represents the interests and provides advice to support the members affiliated with the Division. 

The Council comprises OTA members from across the state who bring a diversity of skills and experience to the Association. Council members welcome and value member input and feedback. If you would like to connect with any of our ACT Divisional Council members, please contact us at OTA and we will be happy to forward your information to the Council and/or Divisional Manager.

Members

  • Dr Daniela Castro de Jong
  • Lucy Coventry
  • Leah Epistola
  • Alison Hartigan
  • Asimina Peristeri
  • Bec O’Brien
  • Jess Wallace

Dr Daniela Castro de Jong

Daniela is a registered occupational therapist from Chile, where she was trained and worked in clinical, managerial, and community-based roles with children and older persons. She also worked as an academic there, with a keen interest in emerging areas of practice. She completed her Masters studies in Disability in Spain in 2004. Since 2016, she works as an academic in the occupational therapy program at the University of Canberra. Before moving to Australia, she completed her doctoral studies in Sweden, looking at the dialogues and tensions between occupational therapy and culture in Latin America. Her current areas of interest in research are related to the use of arts and humanities to promote and support the occupations and social participation of older persons and communities in general.

She brings to the Divisional Council an international understanding of the profession, shaped by her personal, educational, and professional experiences, as well as a strong commitment with the articulation of local and global professional networks.

Lucy Coventry

Lucy has worked as an occupational therapist in a variety of settings, including public and private hospital acute services, inpatient and community rehabilitation, community-based general occupational therapy services, and most recently leading a team of allied health professionals in the disability sector. Lucy has spent the majority of her career working in the Canberra region after graduating from Charles Sturt University in 2009.  She enjoys supervising and mentoring occupational therapists and other allied health professionals and has a keen interest in developing effective health services. She looks forward to being a member of the ACT Divisional Council to advocate for and support the occupational therapy profession into the future. 

Leah Epistola

Leah is a registered Occupational Therapist with 24 years of experience in a variety of clinical settings in both public and private practice. She completed her bachelor’s degree in the Philippines and has worked in acute care, community health and occupational rehabilitation to name a few. She also has a special interest in aged care, palliative care and women’s health care.

Leah is an active participant in a number of online OT focus groups where various topics related to clinical practice and professional development are discussed. She has also been an active member of OT Australia since 2012, including the inaugural members’ commemorative roll.

Leah considers herself at a point in my career where she would like to be able to give back to the profession. Coming also from a non-English speaking country and a first-generation migrant to Australia, she can provide representation for members who share a similar background. She is keen to share her insights, views and experiences with other colleagues in the ACT divisional council to help advocate for the OT profession which she is very passionate about.

Alison Hartigan                 

Alison is an occupational therapist, a Navy veteran, a Mum of three and a member of the OT Australia ACT Divisional Council. She completed the Masters of Occupational Therapy at the University of Canberra as a mature age student. Alison has worked in orthopaedic wards, occupational rehabilitation, in mental health occupational therapy in an acute mental health ward and with Open Arms veterans and families counselling service and is now working part time as a pain specialist occupational therapist at the ACT Pain Centre, as well as developing a role focused on post-high school autistic youth and adults with employment readiness at Employ for Ability. Initially Alison joined the Divisional Council as a student and continues to enjoy being part of the council to connect with and support the ACT Occupational Therapy community. She has a passion for supporting people to overcome barriers, to support participation, and improve their capacity to achieve their goals and live their best life and extends this to clients and advocacy for the occupational therapy profession. 

Bec O’Brien

Bec is an Occupational Therapist currently working in NDIS. Bec is a second-year graduate. After completing her studies, Bec worked in aged care in the community and registered aged care facilities where she developed an interest in pain, dementia and lymphedema. Bec completed her Master of Occupational Therapy at the University of Canberra as a mature aged student. Prior to becoming an Occupational Therapist, Bec worked in the Australian Public Service for 10 years. Bec had placements at the University of Canberra Cancer Clinic, within the community, occupational rehabilitation and an older person’s mental health unit. In 2022, Bec commenced a Master of Dementia Care at the University of Tasmania. Bec has joined the council to gain a new perspective on occupational therapy within the wider community, understand barriers within the community and to support new students and graduates.

Asimina Peristeri​​​​                 

Asimina has worked in a variety of settings including: dementia support specialist with Dementia Australia, community based blood cancer support services; general community rehabilitation including home modifications, and prescription for specialist aids and equipment; NDIS and My Aged care provider; and adult and older person’s community mental health. Asimina has an interest in health policy, especially as it relates to community services. She has been employed by the Commonwealth Government in policy and program management positions with Comcare, (Commonwealth Government’s worker’s compensation insurer), the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) as manager of the area that developed evidence-based health clinical health advice, the Commonwealth Government’s Office for Women, and the Commonwealth and ACT Departments of Health in primary health policy areas.

Jess Wallace

Jess is an Occupational Therapist currently working in paediatric private practice. She relocated back to the ACT after completing her Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) from the University of Sydney in 2020. While finishing her studies, Jess has also had experience working in areas involving assistive technology and equipment prescription in both community and hospital settings. Jess joined the Divisional Council as a new graduate in 2021 and is eager to support the needs and challenges for students and new clinicians transitioning to professional practice. As a part of the Council, Jess is also passionate about addressing the workforce shortages in the ACT to better support individuals and their families to access the services and care they need.

 

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