President's Message


Team Marilyn


Marilyn Pattison

Executive Liaison for: Asia Pacific

President’s Message for World Occupational Therapy Day 2019

In 2010 WFOT established Occupational Therapy International Day as a strategy to have individuals involved in promoting the value and impact of the profession. This created so much interest that the WFOT World Occupational Therapy Day on October 27th was successfully established as the premier international event for the celebration and promotion of our globally significant profession. Again this year, WFOT is pleased to bring to you key activities and resources for the promotion and celebration of World Occupational Therapy Day 2019.

‘Improving World Health and Wellbeing’ is the theme for World Occupational Therapy Day 2019.

WFOT is the international voice of the occupational therapy profession globally. Our members include national organisations, regional groups, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and occupational therapy students. Our global community also includes occupational therapy education programmes, employers of occupational therapists, and of course our clients, families and communities. The WFOT Human Resources Project 2018 (at > Resource Centre) will inform and inspire you about the profile of occupational therapy around the world.

WFOT is an influential and informed organisation, making major contributions to Improving World Health and Wellbeing, particularly through its official collaboration with the World Health Organisation, and through the work of all our Member Organisations, and occupational therapists around the world. World Occupational Therapy Day is the opportunity to heighten the visibility of the profession’s work and to promote the activities of WFOT locally, nationally, and internationally.

World Occupational Therapy Day provides many opportunities to inform others about our unique profession, and how occupational therapy contributes to Improving World Health and Wellbeing. There are many ways to tell people about occupational therapy and World Occupational Therapy Day – social media, posters, displays at local retail areas or hospitals, writing articles for local and other print media, posting YouTube videos, and more. Tell your friends, local communities, clients and families, local governments and others about what we do as occupational therapists and the important impact that occupational therapy can have on the well-being of others.

Ideas and free resources for World Occupational Therapy Day 2019 activities can be found at The Guide to World Occupational Therapy Day presentation; a wide range of graphics and social media resources; an international online network (OTION at; and opportunities for volunteering in your community are all wonderful ways to promote and celebrate our profession. WFOT values the continued collaboration with international colleagues on making some of these events available.

Be inspired by reports of activities from around the globe on previous World Occupational Therapy Days at; including local events to influence policy makers and service providers; promotional activities to local health care management; and to the general community. Share information on your activities on social media, and check out WFOT social media to see what others are doing. Remember to use the hashtag #worldotday.

I am always inspired to see so many wonderful activities that are undertaken with such great enthusiasm. While WFOT has designated October 27th as ‘World Occupational Therapy Day’, many countries celebrate Occupational Therapy month or week in October, and I encourage all to integrate World Occupational Therapy Day with other national celebrations and promotions of the mission and goals of occupational therapy. This will help to increase the awareness of occupational therapists and society in general of the truly global impact of occupational therapy in Improving World Health and Wellbeing.

You Can Contribute to WFOT

Become an Individual Member

Become part of our global community and connect with thousands of occupational therapists around the world. Subscribing to WFOT as an Individual Member provides outstanding value for money in addition to supporting the critical work that is needed to represent and develop the profession at an international level.

To join WFOT as an Individual Member you should contact your national occupational therapy association.

Become a volunteer

See the exciting future plans for WFOT – view the WFOT Strategic Plan 2019 - 2024 at >Resource Centre

If you wish to contribute to the global work of WFOT, please contact the WFOT Delegate in your country – details are available at

WFOT is proud of the many World Occupational Therapy Day promotional and celebratory activities that happen in communities of occupational therapists, both large and small, in so many countries around the world. Please join the celebration with your local and global community of colleagues.

With best wishes for a successful World Occupational Therapy Day on October 27th

Marilyn Pattison


President’s Message – June 2019

Read the message in German, Spanish.

It is hard to believe we are almost half way through 2019 and WFOT has sustained a high level of activity during these months.

Executive Management Team (EMT) Meeting 2019

The annual Executive Management Team meeting was held from 1st to 5th April, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The agenda was full however it also allowed for robust discussion, reflection and planning.
The EMT also joined in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Korean Association of Occupational Therapists (KAOT). KAOT worked hard to promote the profession and a significant number of high-ranking government officials and politicians attended and spoke at the celebration. It was exciting to hear of the development of the profession in Korea, to meet current leaders, and to present awards to those who have made a significant contribution. Meeting KAOT Executive and members provided great opportunities for the exchange of information, and support for the future. KAOT leaders were brimming with energy and spoke inspirationally about the future of the profession in Republic of Korea.
In addition to these activities the EMT visited the National Assistive Technology Centre and the National Centre for Mental Health which provided insights into occupational therapy practice in both physical rehabilitation and mental health.

World Health Organisation (WHO).

Key to WFOT’s plans is the ongoing collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). Ritchard Ledgerd, Executive Director, joined me at WHO in July, where we held discussions with WHO and related non-governmental organisations on specific issues including Rehabilitation 2030. We also commenced the dialogue around the WHO/WFOT collaboration plan for the coming 3 years.

Disaster Preparedness and Response (DP&R)

Disaster Preparedness and Response (DP&R) remains high on the WFOT agenda. Since 2004, WFOT has developed relevant reports and information manuals, and communicates directly with and provides support to Member Organisations at the time of any natural disaster in their country, including related issues such as human displacement. WFOT also liaises with the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding DP&R and related occupational therapy services. At the recent WHO meetings Marilyn Pattison and Ritchard Ledgerd participated in a session around Emergency Medical Teams of which rehabilitation personnel form an intrinsic part of the type 2 and 3 teams who identify needs beyond the immediate disaster and support self-management – clearly a strong role for occupational therapists.

Position Statements relating to DP&R have been developed by occupational therapy experts. These are available for free download from the WFOT website – Resources:

• Occupational Therapy in Disaster Preparedness and Response [2014]

• Occupational Therapy in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) [2016]

• Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation [2019]

• Occupational Therapy and Community Centred Practice [2019]

• Community Based Rehabilitation [2004]

• Diversity and Culture [2010]

• Human Displacement [2014]

• Human Rights [2006]

Resource Manual: Occupational Therapy for Displaced Persons

Also freely available at WFOT Resources, this manual provides general background knowledge and resources for occupational therapists working with displaced populations or considering such work. Contributions by occupational therapists who have experience of working with displaced people and populations make this a valuable resource.

Guide for Occupational Therapy First Responders to Disasters and Trauma
This WFOT Guide (free download) will help prepare first responder occupational therapists for their arrival at the field site. Essential strategies are also provided for use during and following the disaster. These strategies will help the first responders in sustaining clear thinking and maintaining personal well-being.

Online Education Modules

1. ‘Disaster Management for Occupational Therapists (DMOT)’ is a self-paced online programme which enhances occupational therapists’ knowledge and skills for tackling complex issues such as disaster response, resilience and disaster risk reduction. Many participants have already taken this opportunity to enhance their critical thinking through real life and fictitious problem solving activities. The textbook,’ Disaster and Development: An Occupational Perspective’ offers the adjunct materials to enhance learning and integration of the online module.

The DMOT online module incorporates the WFOT experience and agenda in DP&R and provides a flexible and accessible learning opportunity for occupational therapists regardless of their geographical location. This module is currently being updated but registration will re-open soon. Look out for this on the WFOT website and at

2. ‘Working with Displaced Persons - A VR experience’ is currently being developed. It will enable participants to experience, explore, and develop new paradigms for working in communities disrupted by climate change, war or social justice issues.

As mentioned in my previous President’s Message, WFOT is seeking donations to complete the development of this module, and your support would be most appreciated. The VR preview and Donation portal are available here


The WFOT Bulletin is the organisation’s peer reviewed publication. Recent WFOT Bulletins focussed on ‘Practicing across cultures’ (Volume 75:1, April 2019) and ‘Disaster Management and Human Displacement’ (Volume 74:2, November 2018).
The Bulletin is available online to Individual Members. Please register via this link.

Occupational Therapy International Online Network (OTION)

WFOT launched the Occupational Therapy International Online Network (OTION) in June 2016. This dedicated forum enables occupational therapists, assistants and students from across the world to network, share ideas and communicate with the profession as a whole.

OTION is a free resource that requires users to register. We urge everyone to register and share their ideas and feedback. A number of forums have been established within the OTION platform including:

• Education

• Practice

• Students

• Working in another country

• Studying in another country

• Evidence Based Practice and Research

Go to

If you haven’t already registered please feel free to check it out and see if there are global discussions you can contribute to.

World Occupational Therapy Day, 27 October

This is an early reminder that the WFOT World Occupational Therapy Day will again be celebrated on 27th October. The event has grown year by year since its inception in 2010. The theme for 2019 is “Improving world health and wellbeing” and we ask you all to participate and support this important global event.

Be inspired by previous World Occupational Therapy Day celebrations from around the world.

Start making your plans now – and look out for the related resources that will become available via the WFOT website over the coming months.

With best wishes,

Marilyn Pattison


Read the message in German, Spanish.