Asian/Pacific Islander

Luis de Leon Arabit, MS, OTR/L, BCPR

ArabitMy zealous quest for a fulfilling life career has led me to an uncharacteristic pattern of shifting course paths in college from medicine, psychology, and even the political sciences! My search ultimately guided me to the rewarding profession of occupational therapy. Although my discovery of occupational therapy was purely accidental, I considered it destiny, as one would have it. A university billboard that was advertising allied health careers particularly drew my attention to occupational therapy because of the unique yet exciting perspective it offered. Occupational therapy cares about people across the ages with a philosophy richly embedded in both the arts and sciences, all of which I am passionate about. Occupational therapy simply made sense and was an excellent fit for what I envisioned my life profession to be—combining my God-given talents and creativity by compassionately helping people design and live productive lives. Occupational therapy is indeed the definitive Profession of Life!

Ang aking masigasig na paghahanap nang isang makabuluhang propesyon ay naghatid sa akin upang subukan ang iba't ibang kurso sa kolehiyo tulad ng medisina,sikolohiya, gayon na rin ang kaalamang pampolitiko. Ginantimpalaan ang aking paghahanap ng matagpuan ko ang makabuluhang propesyon ng Occupational Therapy. Bagama't isang aksidente lamang ang pagkakadiskubre ng propesyong ito, binibilang kong guhit ito ng tadhana para sa akin. Isang anunsyo sa pamantasan ang tumawag ng aking pansin sa Occupational Therapy dahil sa naiibang pananaw ng serbisyong ito. Pingagalagaan ng Occupational Therapy ang iba't ibang tao sa ano mang edad, sa pamamagitan ng pilosopiyang naka-ugat sa sining at agham--mga kaalamang malapit sa aking puso at kalooban. Naging makabuluhan ang Occupational Therapy para sa akin at akma sa mga paniniwala ko sa buhay. Isinasabuhay nang propesyong ito ang lahat ng mga talinong kaloob ng Dios sa akin sa pamamagitan ng makataong pagtulong nito sa bawa't isa upang magkaroon sila ng buhay na mabunga at kaaya-aya. Para sa akin ang propesyon ng Occupational Therapy ay tunay na propesyon ng Buhay!

K. Kshepakaran, MEd, OTR/L

ShepakaranOccupational therapy has been my life occupation for the last 48 years. I got into this profession by accident. However, over the years I have grown to like it more and more.

My cultural background is East Indian. For part of my professional life I worked in India, developing and establishing occupational therapy departments to treat both children and adults. I have worked in this country for 41 years.

In spite of numerous odds against my professional advancement in the U.S. (for example, being male in a predominantly female profession my ethnic background, and differences in accent etc.) I consider my professional life a success story. I started my clinical practice as a staff therapist and advanced to managerial levels. In my teaching career, which spans 22 years, I started as an instructor and ended as a chairperson of an OT professional program. My involvement in the profession includes serving as accreditation evaluator for AOTA, a representative of AOTA’s Representative Assembly, and as an item writer for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Currently my interest is in the diversity and cultural competency of the profession. As an individual and through my involvement in the Association of Asian/Pacific Occupational Therapists in America for the last 16 years, I have tried to help newly arrived therapists from Asian countries with their struggle with the certification examination and assimilation with the professional milieu here. In addition, I work with other multicultural and diversity groups to promote diversity and inclusion through education recruitment and so forth..

I should say that I am content with my chosen profession of Occupational Therapy. I would encourage anybody who is contemplating a career in health care to choose Occupational Therapy. I am ready to work with, and assist, any prospective candidates—especially those who have an Asian/Pacific background.

QiLong Qi, MD, PhD, OTR/L

I was a physician from China, a country with more than 5,000 years of civilization, and yet occupational therapy is still mostly unknown by the public. I used to ask myself: “Does Chinese society need OT? What should be the role of an OT in the environment of strong Chinese traditional rehabilitation medicine?” I also remember that I got extremely frustrated when I was an intern in one of the best U.S. rehabilitation hospitals and I found out that some of the “classic techniques” for stroke patients that I had learned in OT school were not as effective as I thought. I doubted OT at that time. As a prospective student from a similar background, you may have the same concerns.

Now after continuously learning and practicing OT for more than 6 years, I can tell myself that I made the correct choice and I believe OT should have a great future in the modernizing Chinese society. The scope of OT is much larger than I could have imagined as a student. From school classrooms to nursing homes, from youth correction facilities to orphanage schools, from acute hospitals to outpatient hand therapy clinics, from day care centers to mental health facilities… I have experienced the amazing effects of OT on peoples’ lives.

The success of OT in western cultures is based on its core value, which is really to help people to “live life to its fullest.” This -person-oriented intervention is a bridge for individuals to achieve their goals in almost every aspect of life. OT can assist them in overcoming the barriers they e are facing, through knowledge, creativity, compassion, humanity and respect.

I believe the spirit of OT is greatly needed in current Chinese society, where rapid social and economic development can easily mislead people to the more “benefit-oriented” lifestyle and mentality. An economically developed society is not a successful society unless individual members can live life to its fullest. In fact, OT ideas and theories have been deeply rooted in the Chinese culture. I truly believe, in the near future, that OT will grow stronger in Chinese society and have a great impact on the development of traditional rehabilitation medicine. I feel lucky that I will witness this important transformation. And I also wish that you, the prospective Chinese OT student, will be a part of it too.         

In Chinese: (Chinese language pack must be installed to read this section. Please check your computer settings for details.)

中华民族拥有长达5千年的悠久文明, 古老而又现代的中医康复理论及技术更是中华医学的瑰宝。起源于近代西方社会的作业治疗(OT)在华人社会中还不被大多数人所了解。老实说, 作为一个西医出身, 并从事过多年基础及临床科研工作的我来说, 一开始也曾经对这项治疗有过多方面的疑问。华人社会需要OT 吗? 在中医康复治疗体系高度统治的社会中, OT 应该是个什么样的角色和地位呢? 而且记得我在美国最著名的康复医院实习时,就曾经对 OT 的所谓经典治疗手法产生过疑问, 因为我觉得它并不象我想象的那样对脑卒中病人有效。对于即将学习OT 的学生, 如果你们和我有相似的背景, 也许你们也会有和我相似的顾虑。

   经过多年的学习和实践, 我已经十分坚信OT 以及它所代表的西方康复医学理论一定会被不断现代化的广大华人社会所接受并深入和发展。OT 所服务的范围非常广阔: 从学校到护理老人院, 从少年管教所到孤残儿收养所, 从临床康复科到手部治疗门诊, 从社区康复部门到精神病科治疗室…… OT 在美国社会中无处不在, 它能非常有效地帮助提高病人及治疗对象的生活品质。 

    OT 在美国等西方社会的成功发展, 归根到底是由于它所体现的核心理念符合现代文明社会的发展方向, 即给予每一个社会成员充分完善自己的可能。这种以人为中心的治疗干预, 依靠OT治疗师的知识和创造力, 在人性化的和相互尊重的氛围下, 为患者或服务对象架起一座跨越困难, 通往人生目标的桥梁。我认为OT 治疗中所蕴涵和表达的这种精神正是目前社会经济正处于飞速发展的华人社会所应汲取的。经济建设的高速发展很容易将人错误地引导向以利益为中心的生活方式和思维方式, 而一个经济发达的社会还并不算是一个成功的社会。只有当每一个它的成员都能不受障碍的自由发挥, 而且社会能给予它不同背景的成员尽可能平等的发展空间, 那样的社会才是人类共同向往的。OT的工作正是帮助人们在身体, 精神, 和自然环境之间找到平衡点。

  实际上OT的理念早就扎根于华夏文明的土壤之中了。因此我相信她一定会在广大华人社会中茁壮成长, 并融汇于传统康复医学之中, 为华人社会的健康发展产生积极的影响。作为即将和正在学习OT 的学生们, 你们的选择是正确的。让我们一起为我们共同的理想努力吧