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President’s Message



Welcome to 2016

The beginning of a new year is a time to reflect as well as to look forward and the WFOT is proud of its significant achievements in 2015. On behalf of the WFOT and personally I would like to thank all of you who contributed to promoting and supporting the work of the organisation.

World Occupational Therapy Day on 27th October 2015 was again a resounding success, and I thank all who supported this event and celebrated our profession. I was delighted to see the diversity of activities that occurred in a wide variety of countries. I hope that you enjoy reading the reports from various countries - World OT Day 2015 roundup.

In 2015, the WFOT met with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Disability and Rehabilitation division in the United Kingdom. WFOT has continued to become increasingly involved in WHO projects, because it is at this level that the WFOT, as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) can make a great impact on the promotion of occupational therapy and occupational therapists as being a key service and providers working to improve the health and wellbeing of our world citizens. Looking forward to 2016, the WFOT aims to submit statements on relevant issues to the WHO Executive Board meetings and plans to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting later this year. The WFOT statements submitted to previous WHO meetings are available at this link.

There are also some other significant activities on the WFOT agenda in 2016. The Executive Management Team and Council Meetings will be held in Medellin, Colombia, from 29 February to 11 March. These meetings are imperative for the management of the WFOT business, and development of the organisation and the profession. The Executive Management Team (EMT) meeting is scheduled for the week before the Council Meeting. During this time, the EMT will review the progress of the many projects being undertaken by the WFOT, monitor the governance and financial management of the WFOT and discuss the agenda items that have been submitted by our Member Organisations.

Focus Day is on the day prior to the Council Meeting, and Delegates discuss issues of importance to the WFOT and the profession. Focus Day is also used to conduct environmental scans and discuss issues of regional importance. The information gathered from these meetings is used to inform policy direction and development for the WFOT.

The week long Council Meeting is attended by over 80 Delegates and Alternates, and several observers. This meeting invariably has a very full agenda, however the time is planned to maximise the input from Delegates, and to facilitate discussion and decision making. Whilst the Council Meeting is largely held in a formal setting, there are opportunities for smaller groups to work together on specific tasks within programme teams and, of course, the discussions continue at lunch time and at evening events. At the Council Meeting, the revision of the WFOT Minimum Standards for the Education of Occupational Therapists, and the review of the Mental Health master plan will be key items for the attention of the Council.

As always I am looking forward to attending the Executive and Council Meetings in Medellin and hearing about all of the activity that contributes to the success of the WFOT. I would like to thank our Colombian colleagues for their commitment to organising these meetings, social events and site visits.

The success of an organisation like the WFOT activities depends on the contribution of many volunteers – Executive Officers, Council and occupational therapists who are experts on a broad range of topics. I applaud you all for your contribution and thank you sincerely.

In looking forward to 2016 I am confident that we can face this year as a profession with so much to offer across so many global health initiatives. The focus internationally is on proactive rehabilitation, chronic disease management, maximising function and enabling people to be the best they can be in living their lives to the full – dear international colleagues – they are speaking our language.

I look forward to meeting many of you as the year progresses.

Best wishes
Marilyn Pattison

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