Stacy Wilson, MS, OTR/L, who received his degree in occupational therapy in 2010, has been on the go since then. He was a traveling therapist, worked in inpatient rehabilitation, and is now the supervisor of the OT, PT, and SLP department at WakeMed Acute Care in Cary, NC. He is also a new father to a seven-month-old girl.

In addition to his work, Wilson has also taken on a number of projects aimed at increasing diversity in the field of occupational therapy. Immediately after graduation, he applied to be a part of AOTA’s Emerging Leaders. As part of the yearlong mentorship, Wilson had to participate in AOTA service projects. He noticed that he never saw anybody who looked like him at conferences, and he had not even heard of OT until he was a junior in college. Recognizing that this was a problem, Wilson spoke at the AOTA Student Conclave about this, and in 2011 established a Diversity Scholarship for UNC OT students. The scholarship is open to any minority in the field of OT: ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender, etc.

In 2014, Wilson co-founded the Coalition of OT Advocates for Diversity (COTAD). This is a nonprofit organization focused on diversity and inclusion which provides scholarships for diverse students and has a pipeline program for mentoring and recruitment in elementary, middle, and high schools.

Wilson believes that in order to meet the occupational needs of society, it is important to have a diverse group of therapists. Not only because there is diversity in learning styles, but because it is important to have an OT who looks like you. In his work with people with spinal cord injuries, Wilson treated many young, African American males. A lot of them were embarrassed to open up to their therapists about sexuality and self-catheterization, and really appreciated the opportunity to talk to Wilson, with whom they felt more comfortable discussing very intimate details of their lives.  

Through his diversity initiatives and new supervisor role, Wilson is looking forward to seeing how he can impact diversity in OT to improve the treatment for the clients we serve.

-Submitted