E11 Highlight: Collaborating with non-Health Professionals

“Although teams that are large, virtual, diverse, and composed of highly educated specialists are increasingly crucial with challenging projects, those same four characteristics make it hard for teams to get anything done” (Gratton & Erickson, 2007)

Occupational therapy practitioners are some of the most creative problem-solvers I know. Every day, they partner with clients to solve problems of every day living to enhance people’s lives. They use ordinary objects to do the extraordinary. They disrupt the notion that things need to be done a certain way, simply because that’s how they’ve always been done. 

Despite the creative energy that fuels OTs and OTAs to be exceptional, we repeatedly miss opportunities to take a seat at the table when products are designed and social issues are tackled. Collaboration with people outside of our healthcare sphere is difficult. The quote above is from a HBR article about the challenges and opportunities that come with collaborating with other professionals and highlights the paradox of teamwork. There are barriers to working with people who have a totally different professional jargon, or whose goals aren’t people-centered; we love the idea of diversity of perspectives, but in practice, it can be chaotic. And when it works, it can be beautiful. It is worth us branching out and learning how to be collaborative with others. We owe it to ourselves, our profession, and most importantly, the people we serve.

Amanda Jozkowski, a pediatric occupational therapist, saw a need among young children with SMA and their families for technology that facilitates communication and engagement. She had an idea for an important product, and took the next step of assembling a diverse team of specialists to approach the design and implementation from a holistic perspective. In this episode, Amanda shares the triumphs and trials of working with an inter-professional team, and how their collaboration has led to the creation of YCAT, which is increasing engagement for children with SMA. 

This episode also covers advice about working with people who have different perspectives so that you and I can take that next step toward cross-pollination of ideas and collaboration to better serve our communities and clients.

For more information on YCAT and Amanda’s other research projects, check out her recent publications, and send her an email. 

Featured Wine:

Beauty in Chaos Red Blend

Columbia Valley, WA

Thanks for listening. Cheers!

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