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News from Member Organisations June 2023 - Chile

This 5th April 2023, we are delighted to commemorate occupational therapy in Chile, which already has a 60-year history, since the first School of Occupational Therapy was founded in 1963 at the University of Chile. Since then, the profession has evolved and expanded throughout the country, with the formation of new schools and the creation of associations and organizations that have promoted the practice of occupational therapy in various areas.

During these six decades, occupational therapy in Chile has been recognized for its contribution to the care of people with disabilities, to social and labor inclusion, to the care of the elderly, and to the promotion of mental health. In addition, the profession has evolved in the incorporation of new technologies and therapeutic approaches to improve people's quality of life.

Chile has more than 40 training programs of high excellence with 5 years of training, where the acquisition of the degree of bachelor stands out in about 45 of the national institutions that teach occupational therapy in the country. Currently, there are 14550 occupational therapists registered with the Ministry of Health.

It also has a wide range of postgraduate and specialization courses in various areas of occupational therapy. In addition to the first Master's program in Spanish language in Latin America.

The 60 years of occupational therapy in Chile have been a story of the growth and development of a profession that has significantly contributed to the health and well-being of the population, and we look forward to seeing what the next 60 years of history will bring.

COLTO Chile AG, 5th April

The commemoration was held remotely, bringing together the association's members and occupational therapists from all over the country.

On this occasion, a keynote lecture was given by occupational therapists; Alberto Cisternas, an occupational therapist in the area of mental health and child and adolescent neuropsychiatrist, sharing his experience in one of the southernmost cities in the world, Punta Arenas, and Evelyn Contreras, occupational therapist of Avanza Inclusion, sharing her experience of labor inclusion in Viá del Mar.

In addition, the recognition of the emerging figure, which is an award for professionals with less than 10 years of experience and who have had an outstanding career, took place. The award went to Debora Grandon.

In addition, the Birigida Flores Award was presented, the highest national recognition, which acknowledges experience, contribution and trajectory. This year, the award went to Orquidea Miranda, Occupational Therapist, with a long career as a clinician and academic. and current director of the Universidad de Mayor.


Universidad de Chile

The University of Chile is the first school of OT in the country, and this year it celebrated its 60th anniversary.

On this occasion, on the 5th of April, a large number of professionals and students gathered in the aula magna of the University and carried out an emotional ceremony where they recognized the first generations of the country, thanking them for their contribution to the profession and the contribution they have made to the discipline.

Also with the presence of the president of the Chilean Association of Occupational Therapists and directors of other universities that were formed at the University of Chile.

You can review the ceremony below:

Recognition of outstanding TOs on the Instagram page of our school @to_uchile where the following were recognized: Andrea Mira, Rodrigo Cubillos, Luna Grandón, Claudia Muñoz, Magdalena Delpiano, Jimena Carrasco, Pilar Egaña, Alejandra Álvarez, Cristian Valderrama, Paula Mujica, Valeria Isaac, Luzmarina Silva, Tamara Miranda, María Alicia Valdés, Irene Muñoz, Daniela Olivares, Patricia Pinto, and Verónica Veliz, as well as recognizing School workers, fundamental in the training of our students: Jacqueline Maureira, Bernardino Gatica and Ana Cepeda.


Universidad Central

The Faculty of Health Sciences commemorated this day with the presentation of the theme "Occupational Therapies in Sexual and Gender Diversity", with the outstanding participation of two occupational therapists, very significant people for the School: Daniel Lagos, an academic who was part of the teaching team and currently works at the University of Chile, and Valentina Johnson, a graduate of the Central University, who has been very active in promoting the value of diversity since she was a student and currently works at Espacio Seguro, a center committed to supporting women and sexual and gender dissidence.

Valentina Johnson pointed out that "this activity allows us to give visibility to communities that have been enormously violated, discriminated against, excluded, not valued and, therefore, taken out of many contexts, often explicitly, but other times implicitly. Our occupational performance, our participation is affected by this discrimination. That is our objective, to make change visible and generate more awareness for change".

Meanwhile, Daniel emphasized that "the link between occupational therapies and sexual and gender diversity, which is a topic that is little known and we want to install this dialogue, this conversation from a rights-based approach, promoting the idea that occupational therapy is a tremendous opportunity to accompany people who are experiencing processes of exclusion, processes of discrimination, processes that ultimately have a negative impact on their health or well-being, on their quality of life, and as occupational therapists we can always be part of these processes, allowing greater participation of these people, promoting greater education on these issues, removing myths, prejudices, so that we can achieve a more inclusive society and greater equality for all people regardless of their sexual orientation".

The head of the school, Irene Muñoz, stressed that "our profession faces challenges and opportunities, I think it is important that all generations of occupational therapists, constantly reflect on our professional practice, bearing in mind the need to end the discriminatory practices that we still continue to live in our society. We need to be agents that promote inclusion, shared responsibility, openness, access, transparency, and respect for diversity. We must be an active profession that contributes to raising public awareness and promoting a culture of human rights that are not mere declarations, but that actively assume their defense, making us aware of the democratic and collective construction of knowledge and wisdom around the issues that our profession calls us to address".


Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello

At the Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello, several activities were highlighted throughout the country.

  • Concepción Campus, 5 April 2023: Conference on TO Day, "60 years of Chilean TO".
  • Viña del Mar, 11 April 2023: Commemoration of TO Day, Launch of TO magazine "Relatos".
  • Santiago, 3 April 2023: Launching of the book "Occupational Therapy in the fields of management and inclusive work".
  • Santiago, 5 April 2023: Commemoration of OT day, Launch of the OT magazine "Relatos".

Launch of the first issue of our RelaTOs magazine. Project led by a group of academics from the School of Occupational Therapy at its three campuses, which seeks to disseminate disciplinary knowledge and encourage the participation of teachers and students in the publication of research processes. research processes.

Book launch: Launch of the book Terapia Ocupacional en los ámbitos de gestión y trabajo inclusivo. The systematisation of experiences, prepared in conjunction with Ril Editores and supported by the occupational therapy schools of the Universidad de Playa Ancha, Universidad Bernardo O'Higgins and Universidad Santo Tomas.


Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Several activities took place between academics and students.

In addition, several national and international professionals were invited to send greetings to the university community, sharing their experiences; Why did you choose to be an occupational therapist? How do you imagine or dream of the future of occupational therapy? In our country, what do you think are the challenges for occupational therapists?

All these answers can be reviewed in the social networks of the career of Occupational Therapy at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in @terapeitaocupacionaluc


Universidad Mayor

Inclusion week takes place from 3 to 6 April, where the professional day is commemorated and the challenges of inclusion are highlighted. Its emphasis has been placed on awareness and the social change it requires. The entire Occupational Therapy community participates in its conception and development, and brings together the internal and external community of the Huechuraba Campus. Similarly, at the Temuco Campus, activities will take place throughout the whole of April 5th, with a deployment at the Alemania Campus.

Attached is the note from the Mayor newspaper which can be viewed here.


Universidad de Los Lagos, Campus Puerto Montt

On April 5th, the II CONVERSATORY IN CONTEXT "Recognising and valuing our history, our future is projected" was held. The first colleagues who arrived in the region in the 1990s, in the city of Puerto Montt, were invited to this event. With the aim of recognising and re-signifying the practice of TO in the south of Chile.

The invited colleagues were: Ms. Viviana Morán - Ms. Ana María Sierralta. Link to the press release with photos of the activity and more details can be viewed here.

On the left, T.O. teacher Valeria Ortiz, then TO Ana María Sierralta, TO Viviana Morán and Director of the OT school María Paz Sepúlveda.


Universidad del Desarrollo

As part of the celebration of 60 years of Occupational Therapy in Chile, invites you to participate in the "Panel of Occupational Therapy and Educational Inclusion: An international look" which was attended by leading occupational therapists who will present different projects of Educational Inclusion from around the world. Representatives from USA, Switzerland, Argentina and Pakistan were present.

Also, together the Department of Occupational Therapy of the University of Queensland, Australia, they carried out a Masterclass entitled "Contemporary Occupational Therapy Practice" to be conducted by leading Australian academics and researchers, Associate Professor, Dr. Jodie Copley and Dr. Merril Turpin and led by Professor Dr. Jenniffer García R.


Universidad Austral de Chile, Puerto Montt

In order to start the academic year 2023, the School of Occupational Therapy organised a series of activities, a course on "Wheelchairs, an extension of my body" by Sergio. Lillo And artistic intervention commissioned by the House of Arts and ended with a master class by Prof. Sebastian Gallegos-Berrios on the professional practice and new challenges of occupational therapy in rehabilitation.