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Student Occupational Therapy Association Activities

SUNY Downstate's Student Occupational Therapy Association is dedicated to serving the OT student body by running a variety of events throughout the year that are educational, extracurricular, and benefit the community, such as:

  • New Student Orientation
  • Winter Holiday Party
  • Occupational Therapy Month in April
  • Backpack Awareness Day
  • Autism Fair
  • Disabilities in Medicine Week
  • Annual participation in the New York State Occupational Therapy Association's Lobby Day
  • American Occupational Therapy Association Capitol Hill Day
  • Triwall Project at Brooklyn UCP
  • Fundraising to support AOTA conference representative
  • National Alliance for Mental Illness annual NAMIWALK

Studying and reaching out to the community.


Pi Theta Epsilon, National Honor Society, Alpha KAPPA chapter


Each year, we induct students from our graduating class into the Alpha KAPPA chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the national honor society for the occupational therapy profession. pithetaepsilon

These students, who represent a wide range of undergraduate and professional backgrounds, have achieved academic excellence and made significant contributions through volunteer activities. They receive certificates and will wear the Pi Theta Epsilon honor cords at graduation.

National Backpack Awareness Day

Photo of school children weighing themselves with their backpacksGroup photo of Back Pack Day



Annually, students from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center's Occupational Therapy Program participate in Backpack Awareness Day in public schools across Brooklyn.  After teaching children the tenets of safe backpack use by using fun and interactive trivia, games, and skits, occupational therapy students hold a backpack weigh-in to determine if each student’s backpack meets weight guidelines.

This local effort is part of National School Backpack Awareness Day events sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Association and held around the country, to educate children, parents, teachers, and communities about the serious health effects from backpacks that are too heavy or worn improperly.

For more information, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) National School Backpack Awareness Day web site »


Capitol Hill Day & NYSOTA Lobby Day

Group photo of second year OT students on Capital Hill



To advocate for the profession, students from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center Occupational Therapy program attend the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Capitol Hill Day in Washington D.C. and the New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA) Lobby Day in Albany, N.Y.

For more information, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Hill Day web site »





Autism Fair, SUNY Downstate Developmental Disabilities Awareness


The occupational therapy students at SUNY Downstate participate in the Annual Autism Health Fair hosted by organizations affiliated with SUNY Downstate Medical Center and the local Brooklyn community. The Autism Fair provides a platform  for education and entertainment to local families. Under the guidance of pediatric specialist and assistant professor, Beth Elenko, PhD, OTR/L, first and second year OT students provide information about OT's role working with children with Autism and valuable tips for various issues to parents and family members who were looking for resources about Autism Spectrum Disorders. The OT department also organized a sensory playground for children to promote socialization among families and peers including a variety of sensory motor activities.

Triwall Project at UCP Brooklyn

Each year, as part of their course related to designing and customizing positioning systems and environments for people with disabilities, the occupational therapy students at SUNY Downstate fabricate a variety of seating and standing positioners for children with physical disabilities who receive services at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP Brooklyn).   Faculty member, Richard Sabel M.A., OTR, MPH, GCFP coordinates this event in collaboration with alumni Derrick Ko, MA, OTR and Adaptive Design Association.  Students work collaboratively with occupational therapists and special educators at UCP Brooklyn, who have identified children who would benefit from specialized equipment to improve their function and posture in the wheelchair, or enable them to stand, sit on the floor, or sit at a child-height-table. Triwall is a heavy cardboard material that is inexpensive, yet durable.  It is an ideal material for fabricating equipment for growing children, who will need new equipment on an annual basis.