Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD)

The Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) is a team comprised of OT students, educators, and clinicians who strive to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion across the OT workforce by ensuring that OT is accessible, inclusive, and effective for all. COTAD is a nationwide effort in which team members establish a safe place to conduct open dialogue about current events, unconscious bias, and how culture impacts occupation. Through this action-oriented approach, COTAD strives to promote occupational justice and end systemic racism.

The Columbia University COTAD chapter goals are:

  • Become more educated about the lack of diversity in the field of OT and discuss the implications this lack of diversity will have in our future practice
  • Identify ways to be more aware and check unconscious biases of ourselves and others
  • Promote dialogue with faculty about how cultural competency can be built into curriculum
  • Community outreach to high schools and colleges in underserved areas to promote a career in OT and provide resources about pursuing higher education
  • Build an environment within CUOT that is safe, inclusive, diverse, educational, and values cultural humility

Visit to find numerous free resources about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Their latest resource is on gender-affirming care to promote more inclusive provision of healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community. Other COTAD resource launches include the IGNITE series, a platform designed to elevate voices and help meet the needs of Black and brown members of the OT community.

Students interested in participating in COTAD can reach out to Nicole (Nikki) Salazar at

Here is a video from a recent socially distant COTAD event: