Virginia “Ginny” Stoffel has played a large part in my career without her even being aware of it. Her co-authored textbook helped shape a large portion of my early mental health practice knowledge and I continue to use the latest edition of it with the students I teach today. I was super excited to talk to this phenomenal OT and garner her perspectives on life, MH and OT. Ginny was also the recipient of the 2020 AOTA OT Award of Merit. The OT Award of Merit (Est. 1950) is the highest Association honor recognizing an OT who has demonstrated extensive leadership through sustained and significant contributions to the profession.
We discussed her amazing story of finding the profession. Her growth with it and the amazing impact she has had on OT. Topics range from mental health to leadership, from technology to the future of the profession. One thing that really stood out to me is Ginnys unwavering priority to her family above all else. This was a conversation that was an absolute gift to me with someone who I very much admire.
From the AOTA website:
Dr Stoffel is an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Science & Technology at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She has also served as AOTA’s vice president. In that role, she was responsible for the organization’s strategic planning activities and chaired its Centennial Vision commission.
Stoffel served as AOTA president from 2013-2016. In her capacity as president, Stoffel chaired the Association’s Board of Directors, serve as an ambassador for occupational therapy in the United States and internationally, and work to foster the development of the profession and its members.
An AOTA member since 1975, Stoffel earned a PhD in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Cardinal Stritch University in 2007, an MS in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1983, and a BA in Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine’s in 1977.
Dr. Stoffel has worked on numerous leadership and service projects with AOTA and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF). She has served on the AOTA Specialties Board establishing Board Certification in Mental Health. Among many publications, Stoffel co-authored the mental health text, Occupational Therapy in Mental Health: A Vision for Participation.