President's Message


Team Marilyn


Marilyn Pattison

Executive Liaison for: Asia Pacific

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.