Wow, what a conference! This year’s Annual Fall Conference, with the theme of “Setting the Stage for Life-Long Learning”, took place in Pocatello at Idaho State University (ISU) on Friday, October 20th and Saturday, October 21st, and it was amazing! We want to thank all the 120 total participants, including our speakers, volunteers, vendors, and especially the attendees who made it that way. The first event of the conference involved the Annual Business Meeting, with major highlights including updates on the IOTA’s past year involvement in advocacy and legislative issues, voting in an updated version of the IOTA By-Laws, and voting on nominees for open Board positions of Secretary, OTA Representative, East District Representative, and President-Elect. Lou Figueroa then kicked off the conference presentation line up Friday morning with his lived experience and occupational therapy’s ability to address a broad range of topics from ADLs to mental health.
The conference continued with speakers from across the state (and country), representing a wide variety of practice areas and client populations, including orthopedic shoulder treatment, dementia interventions, pediatric incontinence, mental health in the acute care setting, and sensory integration with adults to name a few. Occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant students from the College of Western Idaho and Idaho State University programs respectively worked together to create a memorable student event with trivia, leading into the presentation given by Mel Henderson, our Idaho National Board Certification for Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) ambassador, providing important tips for the NBCOT exam. Alyson Stover, the president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), gave the keynote address Saturday morning, following inspiring welcome speeches from Idaho State University leadership, and later noted that Idaho OTPs are doing great things within our profession. Another highlight of the conference was hosting a Town Hall event, featuring both AOTA and NBCOT as well as Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (DOPL) leadership participating both virtually and in person.
Both current students and recent graduates also had the opportunity to showcase important topics and research projects via poster presentations Our conference concluded with another lived experience presentation by Melanie Shaw, a current ISU MOT student, sharing both through her personal lens and current evidence-based practice an inspirational message for attendees to work towards acceptance-based occupational therapy and the value of two-way communication in addressing stigma and misconceptions about autism. We cannot give enough thanks to all the excellent work and effort our presenters, attendees, and volunteers put forth to make this event possible. This was truly a celebration of occupational therapy and all it can do! We have already begun planning for next year’s conference, so please check back frequently on our website and follow us on social media, as we will announce our 2024 Annual Fall Conference date/location, call for both speaker proposals and for sponsors and exhibitors in the coming weeks and you won’t want to miss out.