Counties in this region

Benton County

Lincoln County 

Linn County

Marion County 

Polk County


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Regional Resources

Regional Director

Heather Thomas 


Dr. Heather Thomas is the new chair of the Doctor Occupational Therapy program at Western University of Health Sciences in Lebanon, Oregon. She has a long history of working in occupational therapy education, starting at Loma Linda University where she served as full time faculty for 10 years and then in 2013 she transitioned over to West Coast University in Los Angeles where she helped develop the MSOT program and served as professor and curriculum coordinator. She was the program director for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at American Career College from 2016-2017. Most recently, she was a full time professor at the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, California. She has presented at international, national and state conferences, and was involved in providing OT services in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. She has served in a variety of leadership positions within the California state OT association, Los Angeles OT Leadership Forum, Los Angeles City, and the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is the author of the top selling activity analysis text book “Occupation-Based Activity Analysis” which is used across the world.  She was the winner of the 2016 Occupational Therapy Association of California Award of Excellence. Her practice background includes working in acute rehabilitation and acute settings, with those who have sustained traumatic and progressive neurological disorders.

OTAO Events

Interested in attending a regional event? Watch out for upcoming virtual and in person events on our calendar!