Founding and History
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About the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association

The Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association was first formed in 1921 by graduates of the Philadelphia School of Occupational Therapy. Within 10 years, POTA had 150 members. Affiliation with the American Occupational Therapy Association began in 1937. Therapists from the western region of POTA passed a resolution to function as an independent entity and 2 separate associations were formed in 1940.

During the mid-1970s, rallying around an interest in supporting licensure of occupational therapy practice in Pennsylvania, Ellen Kolodner and Troy Osbourne, presidents of the Eastern and Western Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Associations led the reunification of both groups and formed the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association. POTA was incorporated in Philadelphia on June 17, 1976. Geographical districts were identified across the state, By Laws developed, and a referendum for licensure was formed. Clare Lapidus was elected POTA president in 1977.

The first Annual Conference was held in Harrisburg (October 1978). On June 15, 1983, Senate Bill 600, the occupational therapy licensure bill, was signed by the governor.

Today, POTA, guided by its specific Vision and Mission, remains a non-profit organization in the Commonwealth. POTA is also a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association's (AOTA) Affiliated State Associations. We collaborate with our national association to promote and advocate for high quality occupational therapy services that are accessible to our individual, groups and populations of consumers.

POTA history pre-1985 based on video, “State of the Art – Future Directions,” produced for the 8th Annual POTA Conference, October 11-13, 1985.

Watch the video!

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Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association | 600 West Germantown Pike, Suite 400 | Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 |