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Awards Nomination Information


The AOTA Volunteer Leadership Development Committee (VLDC) encourages you to recognize colleagues who have made significant contributions to the profession by nominating them for one of the awards offered by the Association each year. Nomination forms for all awards are listed below. The Verification Form also needs to submitted along with the Nomination Form. Please read the description of the General Point System (pdf).

General Information & Procedures

Additional information and instructions can be found with the nomination forms.

  • Nominees for all awards shall be considered each year, but the awards will be made only when national recognition is merited. Individuals who are nominated and not selected may be nominated again at a later date.
  • Any individual or organization is eligible to submit nominations and may submit nominations on their own behalf.
  • No more than one award may be granted for the following award categories: Award of Merit, OTA Award of Excellence, Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award, Lindy Boggs Award, Gary Kielhofner Emerging Leader Award, and Outstanding Mentor Award. More than one award may be granted in other award categories.
  • All occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and occupational therapy students who are nominated for an award must be members in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award.
  • Organizations, occupational therapy students, and individuals who are not occupational therapy practitioners may be nominated only for the Health Advocate Award or Certificate of Appreciation.
  • Prior to nominating an individual for an award, it is suggested that you read the Awards FAQ.
  • Questions and requests for clarification can be e-mailed to the VLDC.
  • Awards will be presented during the Awards & Recognitions Ceremony at the next AOTA Annual Conference & Expo.

All nominations will be evaluated for the level of participation to include oral and written communication, professional volunteer service, and impact of contributions.

AWARD OF MERIT Nomination Form

Description: The Award of Merit is the highest Association honor for an occupational therapist.

Purpose:

  • TO HONOR occupational therapists who have made an outstanding global contribution to the profession of occupational therapy.
  • TO INSTILL in members a desire to contribute to the development and growth of the profession and the Association.
  • TO FOCUS public attention on the scope of occupational therapy to the end that many may be influenced to consider occupational therapy as a career and profession.
  • TO INCREASE awareness of occupational therapy as a health care profession whose body of knowledge and skills are innovative in research and in implementation of new approaches to increase the quality of life for each individual.

Minimal Requirements:

  • The nominee shall be an occupational therapist member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award.
  • The nominee shall have demonstrated an outstanding global contribution to the profession of occupational therapy that enhances quality of life.
  • The nominee shall have served as a leader within the professional and the health care community, fostering growth and development of the profession and the Association. Both scholarly contribution and volunteer organizational leadership will be considered.

OTA AWARD OF EXCELLENCE Nomination Form

Description: The Award of Excellence is the highest Association honor for an occupational therapy assistant.

The Award of Excellence is the  Association honor for an occupational therapy assistant.

Purpose:

  • TO HONOR occupational therapy assistants who have made outstanding contribution(s) to the advancement of occupational therapy.
  • TO RECOGNIZE individuals who exemplify the highest level of technical skills and knowledge and provide benefit to the profession of occupational therapy.
  • TO PROVIDE an incentive to contribute to the development and growth of the occupational therapy assistant and of the profession.
  • TO INCREASE awareness of occupational therapy as a health care profession.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The nominee(s) shall be an occupational therapy assistant member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award.
  2. The nominee shall have demonstrated excellence in contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy. Both scholarly contribution and volunteer organizational leadership will be considered.

ELEANOR CLARKE SLAGLE LECTURESHIP AWARD Nomination Form

Description: An academic honor established as a memorial to Eleanor Clarke Slagle, one of the outstanding pioneers in the profession of occupational therapy.

Purpose:

  • TO HONOR a member of the Association who has creatively contributed to the development of the body of knowledge of the profession through research, education, and/or clinical practice.
  • TO ACKNOWLEDGE the advancement of theory, standards, and improved methods that enhance service to consumers and promote public awareness and understanding of occupational therapy.
  • TO GIVE outstanding occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants a distinctive opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with the membership.
  • TO ENABLE members to benefit from new knowledge, innovative perspectives, and significant developments in the profession.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The nominee shall be an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant and a member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award.
  2. The nominee shall have made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge of the profession. This will be manifest in the development or refinement of professional theory and/or techniques that enhance clinical or educational practice and/or involvement in outstanding research activities.
  3. The nominee shall have shared his or her knowledge and inspired others through written publications and oral presentations.
  4. Both scholarly contribution and volunteer organizational leadership will be considered.

ROSTER OF FELLOWS Nomination Form 

Description & Purpose:

  • TO RECOGNIZE occupational therapists who with their knowledge and expertise have made a significant contribution to the continuing education and professional development of members of the Association.
  • TO PROVIDE an incentive to contribute to the advancement of the profession.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The nominee(s) shall be an occupational therapist member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award.
  2. The nominee(s) shall have made a significant contribution to the profession by utilizing special skills and/or knowledge in therapeutic practice, education, research, and/or administration. Both scholarly contribution and organizational leadership will be considered.

ROSTER OF HONOR Nomination Form

Description & Purpose:

  • TO RECOGNIZE occupational therapy assistants who, with their knowledge and expertise, have made a significant contribution to the continuing education and professional development of members of the Association.
  • TO PROVIDE an incentive to contribute to the advancement of the profession.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The nominee(s) shall be an occupational therapy assistant member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award.
  2. The nominee(s) shall be recognized by his or her peers as having made a significant contribution to the profession by using technical expertise and knowledge in therapeutic practice, education, administration/supervision, or research. Both scholarly contribution and volunteer organizational leadership will be considered.

RECOGNITION OF ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Nomination Form

Description & Purpose:

  • TO RECOGNIZE occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who have made notable contributions to the profession and its consumers in a focused area of occupational therapy practice.
  • TO ENCOURAGE other occupational therapy practitioners to develop and apply knowledge and skill to the advancement of the profession and in the interest of its consumers.

Minimal Requirements:

    • The nominee(s) shall be an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award.
    • The nominee(s) shall have evidence of notable contributions to practice (e.g., clinical, teaching, administration). This may include, but is not limited to:
  • Development and application of practice models, methods of evaluation, or treatment strategies that enhance service to consumers.
  • Development and application of academic, fieldwork, or continuing education models, programs, or methods that enhance professional or technical education and clinical practice.
  • Participation in research activities that benefit occupational therapy practice.
  • Involvement in advocacy activities that enhance the profession and benefit its consumers.
  • Development and application of administrative methods that enhance practice.
    • Nominees shall be recognized by supervisors, colleagues, consumers, or students as having made contributions to the profession or consumers through the dissemination of knowledge and expertise on local, state, regional, or national levels.  Both scholarly contribution and volunteer organizational leadership will be considered.

LINDY BOGGS AWARD Nomination Form

Description & Purpose:

  • TO RECOGNIZE the significant contributions by an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant in promoting occupational therapy in the political arena by increasing recognition of occupational therapy in federal or state legislation, regulations, or policies or by increasing appreciation and understanding of occupational therapy by elected or appointed officials.
  • TO PROVIDE an incentive for others to take an active role in the legislative process, advocacy, and policy-making that affects occupational therapy.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The nominee(s) shall be an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award. Current Association staff members are not eligible for this award.
  2. The nominee(s) shall have demonstrated outstanding contributions in one or more of the following categories:
    1. Assuming an active role in training and organizing occupational therapists and/or occupational therapy assistants to have an impact on federal or state legislation, regulations, or policies.
    2. Educating legislators or other key government officials about the purpose and function of occupational therapy.
    3. Responding to requests for action from the Public Policy Group of the Association.
    4. Acting as an advocate for consumers of health care and educational services.
    5. Playing an active role in state activities related to the American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee and/or state political action committees.

TERRY BRITTELL OTA/OT PARTNERSHIP AWARD Nomination Form

Description & Purpose:

  • TO RECOGNIZE an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) and an occupational therapist (OT) who, through their collaborative efforts to promote the profession of occupational therapy, exemplify the professional partnership.
  • TO PROVIDE an incentive for other OTA/OT partnerships to contribute to the advancement of occupational therapy through an OTA/OT partnership.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The nominees shall be an occupational therapy assistant and an occupational therapist member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award.
  2. The nominees shall have demonstrated evidence of a collaborative and unique OTA/OT partnership in the profession of occupational therapy.
  3. The nominees shall be recognized by their peers as having made a significant and unique contribution by their partnership to the profession in such areas as research, practice, and education. Demonstration of the unique partnership contribution may include, but is not limited to:
  • development of a practice model or method of evaluation and treatment with significant application;
  • development of academic or continuing education models, programs, or methods using the OTA/OT partnership to enhance the education of both occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapists;
  • participation in research activities that benefit the profession and that reflect the OTA/OT partnership.
  1. The nominees shall be recognized by their peers as having made a significant impact on their profession through their OTA/OT partnership by
  • significantly affecting state, regional, or national levels; and
  • collaboratively demonstrating and sharing their expertise and knowledge through publications and presentations.

GARY KIELHOFNER EMERGING LEADER Nomination Form

Description & Purpose:

  • TO RECOGNIZE an occupational therapy practitioner (clinician, educator, or researcher) who has demonstrated emerging leadership and/or extraordinary service early in his or her occupational therapy career. 
  • TO ACKNOWLEDGE an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant who has developed his or her leadership capacity to serve the profession, professional associations, or the community; and whose efforts and leadership skills have contributed to moving the profession closer to achieving the goals set forth in the Centennial Vision.
  • TO PROVIDE incentive for practitioners to model leadership development and enablement of others within the profession.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The nominee(s) shall be an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award who has been an Association member for no less than three consecutive years upon nomination and is not more than five years from formal graduation.
  2. The nominee(s) shall exemplify extraordinary leadership in one of or more of the following categories:
  • Development of an emerging practice area (i.e., innovative models of community-based OT practice, embracing new technologies in treatment provision, health promotion and wellness, etc.),
  • Advocacy (i.e., regulatory, legislative, policy and reimbursement issues; advocacy for a client need within the community, promotion of occupational therapy, etc.),
  • Service to their professional association on a state and/or national level,
  • Demonstrated contribution to the Centennial Vision,
  • Significant contribution to the body of occupational therapy knowledge, or
  • Notable impact on the profession by building the leadership capacity of others ( i.e. instilling the desire for leadership in others or growing leadership in their community),  and/or volunteerism which has met a significant need while inspiring others.

OUTSTANDING MENTOR AWARD Nomination Form

Description & Purpose

  • TO RECOGNIZE occupational therapy practitioners (clinician, educator, or researcher) who have demonstrated outstanding mentoring of a student, colleague, or employee in practice, academic, or research contexts in a sustained partnership, wherein mutual respect, guidance, and knowledge is shared.
  • TO PROVIDE incentives for practitioners to mentor others.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The nominee(s) shall be an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant member in good standing of the Association at the time of the nomination and presentation of the award. 
  2. The nominee(s) shall demonstrate excellent mentoring in one or more of the following categories:
  • Advising and guiding the mentee effectively,
  • Advocacy (i.e., advocating on behalf of the mentee, etc.),
  • Teaching the mentee specific skills/strategies or providing resources/opportunities for independent learning,
  • Communicating effectively and facilitating the mentee's progress toward achieving professional development goals, or
  • Serving as an inspiring role model for the mentee.

HEALTH ADVOCATE AWARD Nomination Form

Description & Purpose:

  • TO EXPRESS the appreciation of the Association for extraordinary contributions of national significance that led to the advancement of health promotion and/or health care.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. Nominee(s) shall have made significant contributions toward the advancement of health promotion and/or health care. These contributions may include, but are not limited to:
    1. Legislation
    2. Political support of health promotion and/or health care
    3. Financial contributions
    4. Leadership in improving health promotion and/or health care

CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION Nomination Form

Description & Purpose:

  • TO EXPRESS the appreciation of the Association for extraordinary contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. Nominees shall have made a significant contribution to the advancement of occupational therapy. Their efforts could include, but are not limited to: financial contributions, political support, pioneer work, or an outstanding leadership role.
    1. Members—an individual or group whose services or contributions are clearly beyond those of normal professional duties or responsibilities.
    2. Nonmembers—an individual or group whose services or contributions have markedly benefited occupational therapy.

SERVICE COMMENDATION

Description & Purpose:

  • TO RECOGNIZE individual members of the Association who have provided service to the Association and/or profession through time- or task-limited activities.
  • TO RECOGNIZE individual members who have served in national offices as chairpersons of standing and ad hoc committees of the Board and committee chairpersons of the Assembly.
  • TO RECOGNIZE individual members who have demonstrated commitment to the advancement of occupational therapy education who are retiring.

Minimal Requirements:

  1. The following individuals will automatically receive the Service Commendation at the Annual Conference of their last year in office:
    • President
    • Vice President
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Chairpersons of Board of Directors Standing Committees
    • Chairpersons of Board of Directors Ad Hoc Committees
    • Speaker Vice Speaker Recorder
    • Chairpersons of Assembly commissions/committees
    • Chairpersons of Special Interest Sections
    • Local Conference Committee Chairperson
    • Assembly Representatives and Alternate Representatives
    • State Affiliate Presidents
  2. Any of the above individuals who serve as Chairperson should designate members of their Association committees/commissions/boards who are to receive Service Commendations.