Jedlicka appointed to AOTA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Chair of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences Department of Occupational Therapy, Janet Jedlicka, has been named one of the inaugural members of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.

As the AOTA announcement noted, the DEI Committee “will encompass a broad scope of responsibilities, including updating and refining AOTA’s DEI Strategic Plan, guiding and informing the Board of Directors and other governance bodies on issues and opportunities related to DEI, and assessing progress achieving the goals of advancing inclusion and diversity within AOTA and the profession.”

Members of this committee were chosen by the AOTA Board of Directors at the recommendation of its Governance Enhancement Task Force. Applicants were evaluated and ranked by a blind review process following a recent call for applications.

“These nine OT professionals mirror the strength of the 62 members who applied,” said AOTA President Wendy Hildenbrand, “and we look forward to their contributions in guiding AOTA toward a stronger, more unified and inclusive OT community.”

Jedlicka noted that she has always been committed to engaging with the “full aspects” of diversity, which extends beyond race, ethnicity, and gender to include things like ability and social class.

“It is so much more than solely race or ethnicity,” she said. “It’s creating an environment where there is access and opportunity for everyone — practitioners and students with both visible and invisible disabilities and from all backgrounds. We have an obligation to make things better and hear from underrepresented groups. It has to be concrete action steps that make a difference, and we need to listen to and respect the experiences of the individual and not sugarcoat things to make those of us in positions able to make change feel better. This isn’t something we do for others — it’s something we have to do with them.”