Our students learn about policy-making and legislation

Student in Richmond

Faculty and the second-year students from James Madison University’s Masters of Occupational Therapy program attended Virginia Occupational Therapy Association’s Legislative Day in Richmond, VA. There, they were able to network with OT students from other state programs and learn more about the “behind the scene” work involved with laws and regulations passing through the General Assembly. The OT students then had the opportunity to meet with legislative aides in the General Assembly to advocate for the support of two bills in particular that would have a meaningful impact for OT students and OT practitioners: HB 1484 and HB 1483. The first bill discussed specifications for licensure of OTs in the state of Virginia, listing approved organizations for Type 1 continuing education units. The second bill regarding Behavioral Health and Developmental Services would deem occupational therapy practitioners as Qualified Mental Health Professionals, allowing more individuals with mental health-related issues to be served. OT students also advocated for other legislation pertinent to all health professionals, such as for suicide prevention training. Overall, the students thoroughly enjoyed advocating for the profession and learning more about state government. One student reported, “I really feel like we are being heard and making a difference here today."