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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr October 01, 2019

Chris Eidson, MS, OTR/L, assistant professor in the UAB School of Health Professions’ Department of Occupational Therapy, is the Alabama Occupational Therapy Association‘s (ALOTA) 2019 Ann Cosby Service Award winner.

The award is given annually to an advocate “who has made contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy and/or health care” over their career.

“This is the most meaningful professional recognition I have received. Part of this is because it came from the Alabama Occupational Therapy Association – my peers from across the state – the other part of this is because it honors Ann Cosby,” said Eidson. “Ann’s son has a disabling condition, and has received occupational therapy services throughout his life including before we had licensure in Alabama. Ann saw a lack of OT licensure as a public health concern, and was a grassroots advocate to make this a requirement. I have known her my entire professional career and she is an amazing person.”

“Chris has contributed significantly to ALOTA through a number of different roles and has been at the forefront of advocacy for our profession in the state.  Every OT practicing in Alabama benefits from the work Chris has done to protect our profession through his leadership with Government Affairs and later as President,” said Rachel Ashcraft, president, ALOTA and occupational therapist, Child’s Play Therapy Center. “ALOTA has continued to grow in large part because of Chris's leadership to establish policies, procedures, and general infrastructure updates. Chris remains involved as an active member and advocate for ALOTA and occupational therapy.  I'm thankful to consider him one of my most influential mentors.”

Since 2006, Eidson has served the ALOTA in nearly every capacity available. Most recently he has served as Co-Chair, Government Affairs Committee (2008-16), President-Elect (2016) and President (2017). He was instrumental in the Alabama State Occupational Therapy Practice Act revision, co-founded the ALOTA Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee, plus served as co-chair of the ALOTA Government Affairs Committee and chair of the Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee.

In addition, he has twice presented and testified on House Bills affecting the OT profession to the Alabama House of Representatives. And in 2013, testified and presented to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners on administrative rule changes to the Alabama State Code.

 “Chris has contributed to so many behind the scenes efforts for ALOTA that the organization would not have been as successful as we are without him,” said Valley McCurry, MBA, OTR/L, former ALOTA president, and assistant professor, UAB Department of Occupational Therapy. “As ALOTA grew, so did Chris’ involvement and today he is influential as an advocate and protector of the occupational therapy practice for all in Alabama.”

Eidson was asked why he gives back so much.

 “That has never been something that I set out to do. I know that sounds funny, but it is true,” said Eidson, who also earned the ALOTA’s OT Award of Excellence in 2015. “It is more a case of seeing a need and knowing that if I helped out, it might make a difference. That has always been the sort of person I want to be – one that tries.”

Eidson has worked as an occupational therapist since 1999 including a position as OT and team leader with the UAB Civitan-Sparks Clinic. He joined the UAB OT faculty as an adjunct instructor in 2004 and transitioned to assistant professor and academic coordinator of fieldwork education in 2006. In 2015, he was named a Faculty Teaching Fellow of the UAB Center for Teaching and Learning.

The ALOTA award is named after Ann Cosby, who was the driving force behind occupational therapy being licensed in the state of Alabama, and who has now served as the executive director for the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy for nearly 30 years.

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