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President’s Message



President's Message - July 2016

As a clinician I have observed over the years that the people I work with may find it hard to imagine or conceive what they can possibly achieve and may need support to identify meaningful and achievable goals. It is all about identifying and pursuing potential.
So it is with the work of WFOT. The Federation has a major role to play in identifying and pursuing the potential of the profession across the three key areas of practice, education and research.

WFOT’s close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) provides occupational therapy with a strong voice in discussions concerning the global health agenda and enables WFOT to track the key global health issues that will impact on practice requirements around the world. WFOT does this through its collaboration plan with WHO which includes attendance at relevant meetings, submission of statements to these meetings and feedback on key WHO documents.

Recent WHO meetings which WFOT has attended or statements have been submitted to include:
• WHO Consensus Meeting: Assistive Products
• WHO meeting of Collaborating Centres, Professional Organisations and Organisations in Official Relations with the Disability and Rehabilitation Team
• World Health Professions Regulators Conference
• WHO Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly (WHA)
• WHO 139th Executive Board Meeting (statement submitted)
• Statements are available on this website

It is also pivotal that occupational therapy education, practice and services are promoted to members and the wider public.

The recent launch of the WFOT online forum “Occupational Therapy International Online Network” (OTION) is an exciting development in facilitating and supporting international connections. The forum groups at OTION are:
• Education
• Practice
• Research
• Students
• Working in another country
• Studying in another country
• Congress 2018

The success of OTION will be reliant on your engagement and involvement. I encourage all to participate and communicate.

Promoting and supporting occupational therapy education is a key remit for WFOT. At the WFOT World Council Meeting in Colombia earlier this year the revised Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists (2016) were endorsed. WFOT thanks everyone involved on the International Review Team for the considerable time, expertise and diligence that they contributed to this review.

The WFOT Minimum Standards are important to our profession in so many ways, with the overall perspective of:
• Enabling a societal view from local to national to global, linking persons through participation in environments
• Recognising that occupational therapists consider individuals, families, communities, societies and the world
• Linking a global perspective with local priorities and needs
• Establishing an integrated, inclusive, in-common approach to educational programme development
• Strengthening the occupational therapy community
• Fostering international research
• Meeting societal expectations
• Supporting and developing occupational therapy in countries without service
• Encouraging and facilitating exchange between programmes internationally
• Facilitating international professional mobility

The revised WFOT Minimum Standards will be available shortly and will become operational in January 2017.

WFOT is also committed to lifelong learning and the ‘WFOT Disaster Management for Occupational Therapists online educational module’ will be the first in a proposed series of online modules planned by WFOT. A preview of the module is available at

The premier educational event on the WFOT calendar is of course the WFOT World Congress and I invite you to attend WFOT2018 in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. There you will hear about new developments in practice, education and research as well as experience the wonderful uniqueness of South Africa. Team South Africa are working hard to make your experience unforgettable.

I am excited to be an occupational therapist and proud of my profession and I look forward to meeting many of you in South Africa. As Steve Jobs said “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.

I do and I hope you do too.

Best wishes
Marilyn Pattison

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