WCU Occupational Therapy Students Promote Diversity at 2019 AOTA Conference in New Orleans

A group of West Coast University occupational therapy students with the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity presented a poster this April in New Orleans to promote the importance of diversity and inclusion in the school and workplace.

The team — made up of Whitney Harris, Jabari Hoyte, Bianca Callier and Christina Alabastro — presented at the national American Occupational Therapy Association conference in New Orleans. It was the first AOTA conference for most of the group and the students said they were encouraged by the response to their poster and what they had learned at the four-day event.

“Diversity is important because our clients are diverse,” WCU OT student Bianca Callier said. “We have such an array of people that we are working with and you need to make sure that we are able to have those culturally sensitive dialogues with our clients — and making sure that we’re we’re not portraying our views on them because everybody’s experience is different.”

WCU MSOT graduate Whitney Harris said she values diversity because living in Los Angeles is a constant reminder that not everyone sees problems or challenges the same way.

“I’m so grateful for West Coast because they do really support their alumni, they support their students and they understand the importance of bringing awareness to important topics,” Harris said. “They understand we do have a passion for certain things and being able to help us carry that out is really awesome.”

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