WOTA has a great passion for and history of advocating for Wisconsin occupational therapists and the profession of occupational therapy. As a movement towards strengthening advocacy for OT in Wisconsin, WOTA has created an Advocacy Committee! Currently, the functions/roles of the WOTA Advocacy Committee include:
Supporting occupational therapy practitioners with self-advocacy
Advocating in capitol, in community, in organizations.
Promoting the importance of occupational therapy to different organizations and disciplines
Increasing the awareness of occupational therapy in different settings.
Advocating for the inclusions of occupational therapy services as part of behavioral health
Meet the members:
Chair: Meghan Watry-Christian, PhD, MOT, OT
Meghan earned her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2007, and her PhD in Education, emphasis in Special Education from Northcentral University in 2019. The majority of Meghan’s clinical practice has been in school-based OT, with some adult acute care practice. Meghan transitioned to full-time academia as a professor in the Occupational Therapy program at Concordia University Wisconsin in 2013. Currently, Meghan is serving CUW as the Occupational Therapy department chair and MOT/OTD program director. Meghan’s passions include developing future OT practitioners with the skills and confidence to be change makers for the profession and advocating with/for parents navigating the special education process and system in K-12 settings.
Co-Chair: Sunshine Broeren, OTD, OTR
Sunshine obtained her Master’s degree in OT from St Catherine University in 2002, and her post-professional doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2023. Sunshine has worked the majority of her career in a variety of pediatric settings, and is currently working in a school based setting in the roles of Occupational Therapist and Social Emotional Learning Coordinator. She has focused her work in practice and advocacy efforts on expanding the role of occupational therapists to address mental health in youth.
Sarah Pushon, OTR
Sarah graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with her MOT in 2008. She has spent the last 11 years working for the VA in settings including acute care, inpatient mental health, and general outpatient. She is now living in Madison, WI and working remotely as a Whole Health Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist for the Puget Sound VA Healthcare System. Sarah will graduate with her CScD from the University of Pittsburgh in December 2023.
Ashley Ovaska-Weber, OTR
Ashley graduated from the University of Wisconsin - La crosse in 2011. She has always been passionate about OT’s role in mental health and mentoring OT students. The majority of her experience working with children and adolescents in a chronic pain management program, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and outpatient day programs. Currently she is the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the OTA Program at Bryant & Stratton where she is able to blend her mental health and education background.
Karen Besiada-Hansen, MS OTR
Karen graduated from MATC Madison in 1982 as a COTA, a BS from Mount Mary University in 1990 and a Masters degree in Organizational Management from UW Green Bay in 2003. Karen started two OT hand clinics, one at Wausau Medical Center and then the other for Bellin Hospital in 1994. She started her own company, Besiada Health Innovators, LLC in 1999.
The company provided nation-wide employer based healthcare clinics focussing on prevention and wellness. Prevention of MSDs and wellness for disease. Since 2012, Karen has worked in all areas of Occupational Therapy, and currently serves the Birth-3 population. Karen served on the WOTA BOD, Central WI Section Chair and has hosted WOTA conferences. I love serving as an Occupational Therapist and the opportunities it has awarded me.