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Occupational therapists to meet in Sydney


Occupational therapists from around the world will join their Australian counterparts in Sydney for Occupational Therapy Australia’s (OTA) 28th National Conference and Exhibition. Running from 10 to 12 July, the conference’s theme Together Towards Tomorrow highlights the many ways in which occupational therapists work in partnership with consumers, communities and colleagues to support optimal occupational performance, health and well-being.

With the contribution of occupational therapy to the health of Australians increasingly well recognised, OTA President Dr Angela Berndt said the conference continues to grow in scope and size.

“There will be 66 concurrent sessions over the three days, with some 347 peer reviewed academic presentations, involving such core areas of occupational therapy as working with people of all ages with disability, falls prevention, cancer and palliative care, supporting people with dementia living at home, and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Dr Berndt said.

Keynote speakers at the conference include Walkley Award winning journalist, and anchor of ABC Television’s flagship current affairs program 7:30, Leigh Sales.

Dr Alison Gerlach, Associate Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, will speak of the role of rehabilitation, health care, and early intervention in breaking the links between children’s early experience of adversity and the higher risk of subsequent health and social inequities.

The professionally esteemed Sylvia Docker Lecture will be given by Professor Gail Whiteford, currently Project Lead and Chief Investigator for the World Federation of Occupational Therapists’ Occupational Narratives Data Base Project, and Chief Investigator of a linked international study on the relationship between occupation, social connectedness and wellbeing.  

“At a time of rapid change in how we connect to each other and how we spend our time, and as the rise of biopsychosocial disability becomes more evident, this international research is timely and important,” Dr Berndt said.

“And, as the administration of allied health services undergoes great change, with the NDIS and My Aged Care still very new, OTA’s National Conference is a chance for occupational therapists to focus on their professional skills. It facilitates the exchange of knowledge and new ideas around the delivery of care and support, helping ensure occupational therapists in Australia remain at the forefront of the profession.”

Prior to the conference, on Tuesday 9 July, OTA will conduct an Education Day focussing on new university program accreditation standards, best practice in curriculum development, and the pursuit of an academic career within the field of occupational therapy. This is particularly timely, given the growing number of occupational therapy programs across Australian universities and rising demand for a skilled workforce.

Approximately 1,250 delegates are expected to attend the conference, which will be held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre. The conference program is available online at www.otaus2019.com.au

More than 110 exhibitors will also be in attendance, with the exhibition hall open to the general public between 10:45am and 12:15pm on the Thursday and Friday. This Expo style opportunity enables consumers and families to view equipment, assistive technology and other services that meet their daily living needs and goals.

Occupational therapists are allied health professionals whose role is to enable their clients to participate in meaningful and productive activities.

Occupational therapists provide services such as physical and mental health therapy, vocational rehabilitation, assistive equipment advice, home modifications and chronic disease management, as well as key disability supports and services.

Media Contact
Michael Barrett | Government, Media and Public Relations
0403 795 505

About Occupational Therapy Australia
Occupational Therapy Australia is the national professional association representing occupational therapy in Australia. We offer opportunities for our members to enhance best practice through professional development, support, and access to profession-specific information.

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