Thursday, May 5, 2011

And Where do You "Where To"?: Dr. Arameh Anvarizadeh and Occupational Therapy

I’m a pretty phenomenal person, if I might say so myself, but I certainly can’t take all of the credit for my fabulosity; many teachers, role models and guardian angels have helped me to reach newer heights each and every day.

One mentor in particular is Dr. Arameh Anvarizadeh (pictured on the right side, along with myself on the left and our friend Abies in the middle, circa 2007), who took me under her wing during my college years and inspired me to become a savvy, “do-it-all-and-still-look-cute-while-doing-it” diva.

Frighteningly charming and wise beyond her years, she has a plethora of accomplishments under her belt, from launching a collegiate community service organization to starting her own business. And this is all while she pursues a career in a field she loves, occupational therapy.

Speaking of occupational therapy, it just so happens to be that April was National Occupational Therapy month. I had to help out Arameh and Shawn Phipps, the president of the Occupational Therapy Association of California (both pictured to the right) by spreading the word about this great profession - even after April.

So read on to learn a little about this interesting field and where all the occupational therapists like to hang in the city. Be sure to check out the video at the end, too!:

Miss Wilson: What is occupational therapy (OT) all about?
Dr. Anvarizadeh: In its simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Some great sites to look at are http://www.otaconline.org (state website) and http://www.aota.org ( national website).

In a nutshell, occupational therapists focus on getting an individual to be as functional and independent in activities that are meaningful to them. Living life to its fullest.

MW: Is OT a recession-proof field?
Dr. Anvarizadeh: Occupational Therapy has been named one of the top recession-proof professions – check out Newsweek. Actually, our schools have become packed for individuals trying to change professions. November, 2010 issue of Money Magazine ranks OT as one of the best jobs in America and Yahoo's Hot Jobs identified occupational therapy as one of five careers with high potential.

MW: Why did you choose to get into OT?
Dr. Anvarizadeh: Initially, I was studying pre-med to attend medical school to become a neurosurgeon. I always have had a passion for neurology. One day, an occupational therapist came to speak to the pre-med bio class. The possibilities she discussed were endless and I began to realize that I wanted to have a more long-term impact of an individual's life. It seemed more meaningful to me.

MW: What's the most rewarding part about this career?
Dr. Anvarizadeh: The inspiration I get from my clients. It is always so amazing to see someone who once was dependent or required assistance become independent again because of the progress they made in rehab.

MW: Where do Occupational Therapists like to hang out and have fun when they're not on their job?
Dr. Anvarizadeh: I love restaurants in Pasadena, Los Feliz, and Silverlake. I am really enjoying the La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena. My neighborhood, Studio City, is always amazing. Pitfire in North Hollywood is fun. The Alcove, Aroma Cafe, and Urth Caffe are relaxing places to grab a delicious bite to eat. As far as going out: Downtown is totally revamped and fun to hang. I enjoy lots of places to watch sports like Capitol City and The Game.


For more information, check out the video on Occupational Therapy below!