VOTA is Virginia's leading organization for occupational therapy practitioners and students. VOTA is committed to advocating for and further developing the profession of occupational therapy in our state.

VOTA's Communities of Practice

VOTA has developed a range of virtual Communities of Practice (CoPs) as an evidence-based strategy for building networking opportunities and professional occupational therapy connections across the state. CoPs allow occupational therapy practitioners, students and educators to connect across geographical boundaries and to focus on shared interests or concerns. As a VOTA member benefit, CoPs facilitate connections between members and strengthen not only individual practice, but also the organization.

What is a Community of Practice?

A community of practice (CoP) is a “group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (Wenger et. al., 2002, p.4.). CoPs are social learning groups that focus on networking, sharing information, and creating new knowledge together to advance a domain of professional practice.  

What are the benefits of a CoP?

CoPs provide opportunities for participants to come together and have a shared learning experience around a common passion or interest. This can happen virtually, making participation possible across a wide geographical area and without the need for travel time! CoPs are a good fit for individuals at all stages of their career as they focus on the sharing of experiences and ideas. Provided that accurate documentation is kept, participation in a CoP can contribute to earning professional development units (PDUs).

What is the purpose of a CoP? 

  • Engage people in learning more about a common theme, topic, passion or interest.
  • Provide a shared context for people to communicate and share information, stories, and personal experiences in a way that builds understanding and insight.  
  • Enable dialogue between people who come together to explore new possibilities, solve challenging problems, and create new opportunities.  
  • Stimulate learning through collaborative processes that include communication, coaching, and self-reflection. 
  • Share knowledge and explore evidence-based practices.
  • Facilitate knowledge translation and ultimately improve practice in changing contexts.

CoP Facilitator Guide

VOTA Community of Practice Guidelines

If you are interested in starting up a CoP, please contact Pam Stephenson at pstephenson@marybaldwin.edu

Communities of Practice Forums and Information

Membership required to access


The Adult Community of Practice (CoP) is a group of OTs and OTAs from around the state who gather virtually to share experiences & ideas as well as collaborate about practice.  Practitioners come from a variety of practice areas including acute care, rehab, home health, long term care, and outpatient.  Our meetings offer opportunities to talk about practice challenges, learn from guest speakers, and review current evidence.  Please join us!

Mental Health

This CoP is open to anyone looking to help advance OT's role in mental health throughout the lifespan. Topics include advocacy, the unique roles of OT in mental health. trauma informed care, and more! Together we hope to open the discussion around increasing OTs presence and involvement in mental health settings and promote the impact of mental health in all practice areas to enhance holistic care and improve function.  


This CoP is for inpatient, outpatient and early intervention providers. Topics covered include behavioral management, feeding, documentation, PCIT, communication with families, and mentoring. Look for future topics that cover all areas of occupation for the birth to 21 age group. Contact if you have a topic you want to discuss!

Communities of Practice Calendar of Events


Wednesday September 7 (7-8pm)

Occupational Therapy as Part of the Sports Health Team

Facilitator: Michelle Weddle

Monday October 17 (7-8pm)

Focus on Function: Bringing the Occupation Back to OT

Facilitator: Cody LaRue

Thursday December 8 (7-8pm)

Acute Care Considerations: Showering after Sternotomy

Facilitator: Jacque Cherry

Mental Health

Monday September 12 (7-8pm)

Advocacy discussion with lobbyist, Alexander Macauley

Monday October 10 (7-8pm)

Medications discussion with Dr. Kathryn Jones


Monday September 19 (8-9pm)

Dealing with difficult parents

Monday October 17 (8-9pm)

Article Review of the role of OT in primary care

Monday November 21 (8-9pm)

Collaboration of ST, OT, PT in service delivery

Monday December 19 (8-9pm)

PCIT talk with Dr. Andrew Burkley, more information to come

School-Based and Maternal Health CoP's coming soon!

Contact Us5101 Monument Avenue | Richmond | VA | 23230
T: (804) 523-2911

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