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Students/Faculty News Jessica Jernigan October 26, 2021

Valley McCurry, Ph.D., MBA, OTR/L, received the Alabama Occupational Therapy Association (ALOTA) Elsie Holmes McKibbin Award, the highest honor within the organization. It is presented to those who have made significant contributions to the profession's body of knowledge. 

"It is an incredible honor to be recognized in this way," said McCurry. "I'm so appreciative. As a member of the board since 2005, I've been passionate about the organization for a long time."

As an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, McCurry has dedicated her career to giving back to the profession she cares for so deeply by advocating for change and carving a path to push the practice forward in Alabama. 

She currently serves as the ALOTA government affairs chair, where she handles anything related to legislation that could impact occupational therapy practitioners, patients, or clients within the state. Earlier this year, McCurry contributed to passing the updated OT Practice Act that provides a clear procedure for the Alabama State Licensure Board to address impaired practitioners for the safety and protection of the occupational therapy service consumer.  

Along with her recent contribution to the wellness of occupational therapy practitioners, McCurry's impact on the profession within Alabama spans over a decade. She served as ALOTA president in 2007, and in 2013, it was her leadership that led to the first major revision of the Alabama State Occupational Therapy Practice Act since 1990. The monumental revision, co-authored by McCurry, significantly expanded the list of health care professionals who can refer clients for occupational therapy services. 

In 2017, she received the ALOTA Ann Cosby Award. The award's namesake was a consumer of OT services and spearheaded the licensing of occupational therapy in Alabama. McCurry also shared the ALOTA 2015 Award of Excellence with fellow UAB OT faculty member Christopher Eidson, MS, OTR/L. The penultimate honor culminated in her receiving the Elsie Holmes McKibbin Award as recognition for her devotion to occupational therapy. 

"As occupational therapists, I believe we all inherently have that passion for service. It is part of our responsibility to pay it forward by giving back to the profession, to the students, to the practitioners," said McCurry. "We not only help our clients, but our communities, our organizations, and our state." 

McCurry embodies what it means to serve as a champion of occupational therapy. As a committee member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, where she was vice-chair of the Affiliated State Association President's Council in 2014-17, she represents Alabama at a national level as an advocate for the profession. 

"I have always loved occupational therapy," said McCurry. "To be able to serve the profession and help shape it—it's a special experience."  

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