OTAO Creates Diversity Equity Inclusion Task Force 

The Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon (OTAO) is acting on its statement made in early June regarding racial injustices and systemic racism that continue to permeate culture. 

The Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon (OTAO) stands in solidarity with all people who are impacted by racial disparity, oppression, and bigotry. Recent events — the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor — have, once again, brought to light the intensity and depth of racism that permeates our communities and culture. We denounce all forms of hatred, violence and disrespect toward human beings. Our stance is consistent with AOTA’s statement on justice and racism, which can be found here. 

The OTAO Board of Directors has taken further action and approved to create a Task Force on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. We are committed to making changes individually as board members, at the association level and statewide. We are looking to partner with Oregon OT practitioners (OT/OTA) and students, volunteers, stakeholders and members to create positive and necessary change. 

The OTAO Board of Directors thanks all those who completed our questionnaire by July 14th! We received a great amount of responses and will be announcing our chairpersons and task force shortly. Our plan is to have at least 2 Chairperson’s and 6-12 Task Force Members from diverse backgrounds and experiences to lead Oregon OT practitioners and students in creating change for equality. This opportunity is NOT limited to OTAO members and the work of the Task Force will be supported by the OTAO Board of Directors.

The ‘attached‘ document Proposal for OTAO Task Force, which received Board approval on June 30, 2020, specifies a comprehensive framework for the task force to complete its charge. Announcements regarding recruitment of task force co-chairs and members are forthcoming.

Task Force Chairperson

Elizabeth Martin, OTD, MHA, OTR/L, QMHP

Elizabeth Martin, OTD, MHA, OTR/L, QMHP

Elizabeth (sometimes called Lizi) (she/her/hers) is a black, mixed-race, native (Cherokee), occupational therapist living in Portland, OR. She has led diversity taskforces at Pacific University and at Our House of Portland. Elizabeth developed one of the first Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) executive board positions in the nation that served to address concerns experienced by diverse students.

Elizabeth is the first in her nuclear and extended family to go to college, completing an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree. A few other constituencies Elizabeth hails from: LGBTQ+, cis-female, raised protestant/gentile (not currently practicing), raised working class - currently middle class, born/raised in the US, and English as a first language.

Elizabeth currently runs Holistic Community Therapy, a community-based private practice that seeks to support marginalized adults with cognitive impairment and mental health concerns in their homes and in the community.

Elizabeth is committed to protecting socio-economically and culturally vulnerable populations, through holistic service, with a strong emphasis on mental and spiritual well being. She believes OT to be a gateway of service for many who may slip through the cracks due to economic hardship and unjust societal exclusion. Her mission is to create, through practice, a world where all are included, respected and valued.

Task Force Members

 Kebra Rogers 

Katie-Ann Kailey 

Mia Hughey 

Alan Harris 

Dan Garrison 

Shannon Wagner 

Mara Erb 

Fallon Roderick 

Brittany Behrendt

Erin Taylor 

Lindsey Hoffman 

Kelsey Koll 

Stacey Vieyra-Braendle 

Claudia Anukam 

Johanka Lacolucci

Karen Peasley 

Janvi Patel 

Juliet Paul Naone 

Tess Sorensen 

Ashley Rigas 

Savel Sabol 

Nicole Villegas

We are looking for Chairperson’s and Task Force Members!

If you are interested in acting as chair of OTAO’s DEI Task Force or volunteering to be a part of the Task Force, please fill out our very quick questionnaire below by July 14, 2020 by 11:59 PM PST. The Task Force will be composed of approximately 6-12 members of diverse backgrounds and experiences. This opportunity is NOT limited to OTAO members. The work of the Task Force will be supported by OTAO Board of Directors. 

Note: this is not a defining factor in our decision making process.
Note: this is not a defining factor in our decision making process.


Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon
Phone: (971)266-4328 
Email: info@otao.com or president@otao.com