The 2024 AOTA Elections are HERE! Voting is open from February 2nd to February 23 at 11:59am EST. (So – if you’re on Pacific time, you should probably just vote on the 22nd).
This year, I decided to do our first ever Amplify OT interview series with the candidates! I interviewed all four president-elect candidates and the two vice president candidates. This is the transcript for my interview with Michael Pizzi for the 2024 AOTA Elections. You can also watch/read my interview with the three other candidates at amplifyot.com/elections.
Participating in AOTA elections is crucial for shaping the future of our profession. And this election is a biggie! Not only do we have four candidates running for president-elect, but we have two for VP, three for board member, and numerous other positions that are on the ballot! Board members will serve 3-year terms starting in July, which means they’ll be at the table to shape the 2030 vision for AOTA and help establish the strategic priorities.
In our interviews, we discuss their perspectives on AOTA, membership, advocacy, leadership, and more. I encourage you to watch all four interviews because there are so many ways in which these candidates overlap in vision, but many ways in which they differ as well. Even if you think you know who you’re going to vote for, I encourage you to listen to their different perspectives anyway. You’ll either reaffirm that you’re making the right decision, or you may find another candidate who interests you!
**Please note that Amplify OT does not endorse any specific candidate on the ballot**
If you are a member, you can vote at aota.org/elections.
Below is the transcript for my interview with Dr. Michael Pizzi. I have removed the intro and outro from the transcript so it just contains the interview and bio. Michael’s full bio is at the end of this article. I also added headings to indicate where questions were asked to help you navigate the large body of text.
Michael Pizzi Bio
[00:02:53] Clarice Grote: Our next interview is with Dr. Michael Pizzi. He’s a distinguished occupational therapist, holds the prestigious award for excellence in the advancement of occupational therapy, and was one of the youngest therapists to become fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.
[00:03:10] He pioneered the first childhood obesity occupation and client centered assessment, which is currently undergoing psychometric testing and is used nationally. He is also the author of the valid and reliable Pizzi Holistic Wellness Assessment, or PHWA, which has been used in the US and abroad in OT curricula and in clinical settings with over 60 peer-reviewed articles and chapters.
[00:03:34] He’s a forerunner in areas such as HIV rehabilitation, childhood obesity, and health promotion, co-editor to internationally used OT textbooks, and is the founder of the Wellsongs Project, which showcases compositions inspired by OT interviews with children with special needs.
[00:03:51] He currently serves as a reviewer of the American, Canadian, and Australian OT journals, and is a reviewer for OT and healthcare. Dr. Pizzi was also on the editorial board of Annals for the International Occupational Therapy and was an associate editor of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, or AJOT. So without further ado, let’s welcome Michael Pizzi.
Start of Interview with Michael Pizzi
[00:04:10] Well, welcome Michael to the Amplify OT Podcast. I am so excited to have you here as part of our individuals running for president-elect of AOTA series. And so, welcome. And I’d love for you to tell our Amplifiers a little bit about yourself and all the amazing things that you’ve done that we’ve been talking about.
[00:04:27] Michael Pizzi: Yes, we’ve had a wonderful conversation already. Well, to launch right into the candidacy piece, I think experience accounts for a lot. I’ve been an OT leader for nearly all of my 42 years of being an occupational therapist, starting with my first AJOT article in 1984 on hospice care. I was 26 years old, so I was asked to write the article, and I was beyond excited because I had just presented at AOTA on hospice and 400 people attended because it was a brand new innovative way of looking at occupational therapy and the application of occupation.
[00:05:10] And I was beyond excited. So 26 years old and all these leaders of the professor were talking to me, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, who, who, what did I just do?” It was very exciting. So I led the way through developing innovative and fresh ideas and perspectives on where OT could be and where we could make a difference, including hospice and end of life care.
[00:05:34] HIV/AIDS, childhood obesity, and health and wellness are the last three topics, I was actually privileged to be asked to be the guest editor of AJOT for, and I believe I’m the only occupational therapist that has guest edited three different topics for AJOT. So that’s pretty exciting.
[00:05:57] A lot of people know me through my publications. I have over 60 peer-reviewed articles, numerous book chapters, co editor of two textbooks on health and wellbeing. I was one of the youngest OTs to get a fellow when the Political Action Committee was created. I was on the first board and I was on the first board of directors of AOTA, which is…
[00:06:22] Clarice Grote: Oh wow!
[00:06:23] Michael Pizzi: Pretty cool.
[00:06:24] Yeah. I’ve gotten lots of awards from AOTA for my service and leadership for various task groups, including the recognition of achievement award, the award of excellence in the advancement of OT, and two alumni awards. Now, besides all those OT kinds of things that that sort of promote my leadership and service,
[00:06:48] I’m also a professional actor and singer. I created a not-for-profit about 15 years ago called Touching Humanity, which is fully committed to putting diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, accessibility, and belonging into action. Our mission is to promote disability awareness and occupational and social justice through the arts and education.
[00:07:14] So I was writing about and doing occupational justice kinds of things long before the definition of occupational justice was published. So I believe that I’m a pretty strong leader in those kinds of areas. I also started a theater company, and my theater company is in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
[00:07:37] And it is one where we do a lot of different, I create a lot of different shows, and we donate some of the proceeds to the food bank because I think food insecurity is a place where we need to help our communities more.
[00:07:52] Absolutely. Yeah. I think it’s such a, you know, we’re connected on this of both having a musical background. But yeah, it’s great to see the integration of OT in numerous different facets.
[00:08:04] And I know that’s something that I talk about a lot, right? That OT is a skillset. It’s not just what we do, but it’s how we use those skills. And clearly you’ve applied those to many different facets of your interests, your occupational interests as well as different areas of life.
[00:08:18] Yeah, it’s such a privilege to help the community, but I get to do it through the arts, which is something that I also have loved doing for… Since I was five years old, I’ve been singing. It’s a real joy.
[00:08:31] Clarice Grote: That’s great. I’ve been singing since I was five too, but no one wants to listen to me, you know.
[00:08:36] Michael Pizzi: I don’t play the flute like you do.
Why are you running for AOTA President, and why now?
[00:08:39] Clarice Grote: Yeah, that’s how I say no one wants to hear the actual voice. Perfect. So, why are you running for AOTA president? So why this moment, and why president?
[00:08:49] Michael Pizzi: Like I said, I’ve been a leader in OT for over 40 years and I thought this was a nice culmination to my career and a new beginning for me because I just left academia last August. So I don’t have a full time job. I don’t have a family that I had to talk to and be responsible for all the time.
[00:09:11] So I have a lot of time. And so I want to dedicate that to transforming how we see occupation and occupational therapy in the world. And I want to, in using your terms, I want to amplify OT throughout the country and throughout the world. And I don’t think our public understands us still. And I want to be able to change that.
[00:09:36] I think visibility and communication is what is often missing in our profession, which is so weird because we pride ourselves on communication skills. But I think that we don’t communicate enough to our members. And I want to change that as well. I also want to make a strong point that last year’s conference left me very concerned and upset about the direction where we seem to be heading. There was such a lack of civility, dignity, and professionalism with a protest and a call to boycott this year’s conference. I want to bring civility back, professionalism, and transparent communication to our organization through our membership.
[00:10:22] And I want to align all of the different groups that we have within our profession so that we’re all talking the same talk and walking the same walk. When some leaders call for boycotts and don’t speak out about issues that tear us down, it’s time for new leadership that promotes unity and collaboration and lifts us up.
[00:10:43] And I think that’s where I’m headed right now.
What would be your ‘day one’ priorities as AOTA president?
[00:10:46] Clarice Grote: So with that line, you kind of touched on these points already, but right, what would be your kind of day one priorities? If you could be like the American president and have executive decisions, what would be kind of the things that would be on your list of what you want to tackle right away?
[00:10:59] Michael Pizzi: Right. Well, membership is number one because we are a membership-driven profession. We do not communicate enough with our members. We not do not do enough with our members. We’re not transparent enough with our members. And I think that all of that needs to change, and I think that might be, to answer a question…
[00:11:18] … you’re going to ask later… One of the driving forces that drives us is driving members away, is that they don’t feel valued and we need to value them and we need to make sure that they understand where their dollars are going and why they need to become a member. We need to do better and provide, first, better communication about that value, and second, find ways to provide members more for their money.
[00:11:44] And I feel strongly about that. The second day one priority is to work with the board and others to increase our visibility and show the general public our power and strength as an organization. Emails are just not sufficient for our members anymore. We must show other kinds of actions. We must do more community outreach.
[00:12:06] We need to educate others to our value, going into marginalized communities for recruitment of more members, and educating about OT. That to me seems like, it seems so simple. And I think I would call upon a lot of member volunteers to help me go out and make people more aware.I’ve been advocating for visibility for decades.
[00:12:30] I’ve been screaming about it, and I got tired of always having to explain OT and differentiating us from other disciplines. I believe we still have a media arm to AOTA, and that’s what I would… I would work hand in hand with them to see what else we can do.
[00:12:50] I know we have many papers and educational materials that we can give out to people. But we need to get it into the hands of our educators, our practitioners, and all these other people that can help get the word out. Finally, I’d really like to look at our vision and mission statements because I think they need to be expanded and they need to be altered.
[00:13:13] I don’t think they’re complete. I think they don’t include a lot of issues that we’re dealing with right now. And I would like to change that. So I would do that in collaboration with membership. What do members think about our vision and mission? And don’t just make it a board activity, but let’s get input from all people.
[00:13:40] Clarice Grote: Yeah.
[00:13:41] Michael Pizzi: And, and I think we can do better with that.
[00:13:44] Clarice Grote: Are there any specific areas that you would want to see added that you think are missing currently?
[00:13:49] Michael Pizzi: Well, I think the whole diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, accessibility, and belonging issue needs to be addressed in a bigger way. It’s really interesting.
[00:14:00] Our vision statement starts with ‘as an inclusive profession.’ Well, I don’t know if we’re there yet. And it’s silly that we start with the phrase ‘as an inclusive profession.’ I don’t think we need to say that. I think it’s through our actions and through our other statements, through our mission and vision statements, that we can actually demonstrate that we are an inclusive profession.
[00:14:26] Clarice Grote: So making sure we’re walking the walk and talking the talk, right?
[00:14:29] Michael Pizzi: Exactly. I think we talk the talk too much. And we need to have demonstrable outcomes.
What do you believe is the primary role or mission of AOTA within our profession?
[00:14:38] Clarice Grote: Yeah. So what, and you’ve kind of touched on this as well, like, what in your opinion do you think is the primary role or mission of AOTA within our profession?
[00:14:48] Michael Pizzi: Yeah. So we have a mission statement “to advance OT practice, education, and research,” but I think that’s very insufficient. It doesn’t really say much. I think we must include advocacy, inclusivity, and be much more specific about our mission so more members can understand where we stand and rally behind that mission.
[00:15:11] If you ask any number of OTs, including students, what our mission and vision statements are, I bet they have no idea.
[00:15:19] Clarice Grote: I’m not sure I could even tell you if I’m completely honest.
[00:15:22] Michael Pizzi: Exactly. And, and I would like to, again, that needs to be out there more for all of our members to understand and to take action around.
[00:15:32] And we, we don’t do a great job of that right now. And I think that we can and should. So our mission is also to be a unified voice for our clients and not to be divisive among ourselves. I mean, division is not going to help us in any way, shape or form. We have to all be on the same page.
[00:15:54] Clarice Grote: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of, a lot of different areas to heal and move forward, I think we’ve had quite a few rough years across the country, and it’s nice to kind of, you know, hopefully we can find a unified way forward.
[00:16:05] Michael Pizzi: Right. We need to collaborate more, we need to advocate for ourselves more, and for each other more, and not do some postings that tear other people down. That, that’s just, it’s unethical. It’s unprofessional, it’s irresponsible, and I think that we need to, we can be better. And we can be more optimistic about our future.
Do you believe AOTA membership is important or not, and why?
[00:16:30] Clarice Grote: Right, so in your opinion, do you believe that membership is important or not, and why do you believe that?
[00:16:37] Michael Pizzi: Yeah. So I’ve been a proud member for over 40 years. I have a great experience in leadership and scholarship and service to the profession.
[00:16:48] And I have loved being a member because I feel that being a member gives me a sense of belonging and shows me that I can be included among professionals that respect and value you. What it is I do and what we do as a profession that changes the world, and we need to sort of show other people that we can do that. But we need more members so that we have more advocacy.
[00:17:17] People don’t also understand that it’s so important to be a member because it helps us with our Political Action Committee and it helps us to be more politically onboarding in Congress and with our politicians on a state and federal level. And we need to really get the word out, but sometimes that takes dollars.
[00:17:38] And people need to understand that those dollars is what can help us continue our licensure, help us with regulatory practices, help us to get OT more visible and paid for through third-party payers. And I think that we need to advocate more for ourselves. I’d also like to figure out a way with the board and with our members how to maintain membership for all those students. So we need to figure out a way to make that happen. And that’s a priority of mine.
[00:18:15] Clarice Grote: And so why have you been a member of AOTA over these last 40 years. What has kind of kept you committed? And why are you still a member?
[00:18:24] Michael Pizzi: Well, just being a part of the organization and the profession, it has provided me an identity that is important to me.
[00:18:36] A lot of people, maybe they have left because they don’t feel a professional identity. They don’t feel a sense of belonging. Well, I’d like to uncover the reasons why. I think it’s vital. I also have recognized being part of the Political Action Committee myself and having donated over the many years that I, that that’s where we also need to be politically.
[00:19:02] We need to work with our Congress people so that they understand what it is we do and why we do it, and help them to get bills passed that will help us as a profession. But when it helps us, it helps all of our clients, and sometimes we lose sight of that. So your membership actually helps your clients, their families, and helps you develop a professional identity.
[00:19:30] Clarice Grote: Yeah, so I’m hearing those overall themes of community and advocacy. Is that fair to summarize that up?
[00:19:38] Michael Pizzi: Absolutely. It’s a sense of belonging, yes, which we all aspire to, because we can’t do this alone. We just can’t. Members cannot depend on the board to do everything perfectly either.
[00:19:58] I mean, there are some times people will make mistakes, and I think a sense of forgiveness and understanding and kindness needs to come back to our profession. We do not want to reflect what’s going on in society right now. We do want to reflect goodness and that compassion. And that’s why I believe that I would bring compassionate leadership to the fore.
[00:20:28] Clarice Grote: I like that term, compassionate leadership.
[00:20:31] Michael Pizzi: Yeah.
Workforce and Membership Concerns: How can we address this?
[00:20:31] Clarice Grote: Yeah. So in our last workforce study, and you touched on this, it showed that 25 percent, right, of practitioners are considering leaving the field of OT. And AOTA had a 7 percent drop in membership this past year. So how, or do you think these issues are related? And what do you think is the best way to address these issues within our workforce and within our profession?
[00:20:56] Michael Pizzi: Well, one of the things that I think we need to aspire to and cultivate is a culture of cultural humility. I think that we need to have more respect for each other and with each other. Because if we don’t have that respect, then people are going to say, why should I belong to this organization?
[00:21:19] That’s one thing. I think the other thing is visibility. I think a lot of OTs are tired of having to define themselves and tell people what it is we do and how we do it now. I love it. I love to find an occupation for people. I love explaining what it is I do and how I do it. I put everything in the context of promoting health, wellbeing, and quality of life because I think we’re missing the boat on that too.
[00:21:48] And I believe that it’s a matter of being more public, making the public more aware of who we are and what we do, and showing them the value of what we do. And it’s not just through scholarship. I mean, our scholars do that really well. I think every member needs to say, you know, “I had a patient the other day,” blah, blah, blah…
[00:22:12] “And this is where they, what they presented to me. And this is the outcome. And it’s because of occupational therapy that they’re living a quality of life now.”
[00:22:22] Clarice Grote: Yeah.
[00:22:22] Michael Pizzi: Those are the kinds of stories, those clinical stories that we need to put out there in the world. My new textbook, Interprofessional Perspectives for Community Practice Promoting Health, Wellbeing, and Quality of Life, is coming out shortly, hopefully in the next month.
[00:22:38] And in there, I developed two very important chapters. One is totally on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The second is clinical stories. And I asked clinicians from all over the country to write a short, 2-3 page story about how they are engaging people towards promoting health, wellbeing, and quality of life from a community perspective, from an interprofessional perspective.
[00:23:10] And the stories have been amazing, but it’s now a chapter in the book. So instead of like a case study, which is in all of our chapters, we have a whole chapter dedicated to just stories. And I think our academics can teach those stories to our students and say, “That’s the value of occupational therapy.”
[00:23:30] Clarice Grote: Yeah. Not only that advocacy at that higher level, right, the national level, but also that individual advocacy of speaking up for yourself and for the profession at that local level.
[00:23:42] Michael Pizzi: Absolutely. And it shows care and concern and compassion and kindness through those stories, which is something we forget to talk about. And I think it’s important that we talk about those kinds of issues.
What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in volunteering or being a leader?
[00:23:56] Clarice Grote: Yeah. So what advice would you give to someone who’s interested in volunteering or taking on a leadership role?
[00:24:05] Michael Pizzi: Yeah, I love that question. So first of all, be committed fully to your profession and to the clients you serve. Be committed.
[00:24:16] If you can’t walk the walk and you’re just talking the talk, you shouldn’t be a volunteer leader. So I think it’s important that you walk the walk as well. You want to make a difference for and within your profession. What kind of a difference can you make having your voice heard? And it shouldn’t be a single agenda.
[00:24:40] It should be looking at the broader issues that are presented to us. So I think those are the three things that I would recommend to potential volunteer leaders.
[00:24:54] Clarice Grote: Yeah, I think there’s always… Either there’s hesitancy, right, where we don’t feel like we know enough or we’re not prepared…
[00:24:59] Michael Pizzi: Yeah.
[00:25:00] Clarice Grote: … to be a leader, and that’s always a difficult thing to overcome. But I think it’s that kind of the doing- the-work perspective of making sure that we’re actually involved in what it is that we want to do. And I think all of us who have found ourselves in leadership positions, it’s because we’ve seen something we didn’t like and we want to change it. And so who’s going to do it? And you volunteer yourself, right? I think that’s kind of the age-old story of leadership, is seeing something you wouldn’t like and wanting to make a difference.
[00:25:28] Michael Pizzi: Exactly. And a lot of people… I liked how you touched on people think they don’t have the skills or the experience.
[00:25:35] If you think you have skills and experience that can forward the profession and forward AOTA, then you should definitely be a volunteer leader. Because even if you think you’re too shy or too embarrassed or not too confident, you might have the skills and then develop that sense of confidence by demonstrating your competence.
[00:26:00] And I think that translates really well. So I would encourage anyone with certain skills that can forward our profession to volunteer.
[00:26:11] I’m a big advocate for people volunteering. I think that’s something you and I share, of getting involved very early in our careers.
[00:26:19] Very early. And having people that empower you, I think that that’s really, really important.
[00:26:30] Clarice Grote: Yeah. My mentors have made a huge difference in getting me to where I am and having that circle. And so having someone who makes you, who pumps you up is always really, really helpful.
[00:26:41] Michael Pizzi: Oh, definitely. Definitely. I’ve had a wonderful mentor named Ellen Kalodner since I became an OT, just a short few years after that.
[00:26:52] And she has given me some wonderful advice over the years that helped to shape and guide my career, for all these years.
[00:27:01] Clarice Grote: And I think bringing that back again, right, to that community piece.
[00:27:04] Michael Pizzi: Absolutely.
Why should someone vote for Michael Pizzi?
[00:27:05] Clarice Grote: So, the final question to sum up. Why – the big question – why should someone vote for Michael Pizzi? Which I should mention, I loved your little slogan, right? “If it’s easy vote for Pizzi.” I thought that was very clever.
[00:27:17] Michael Pizzi: It’s easy just vote for Pizzi – remember that folks – exactly. Well, first of all, I’ve been a leader for many years, as we’ve been talking about, and a strong advocate for the profession through my leadership, my service, and through scholarship.
[00:27:35] So I think if anybody knows me that they might know me through my scholarship work, they might know me through my many task forces that I’ve been on, the awards that I’ve won, et cetera. But all those things don’t matter except when it translates into using those and using all of my skills that I’ve learned over the years to become a strong leader.
[00:27:59] I can reach across many differences, listen and hear issues, and see beyond those issues in developing ways that we can all work together. I think there’s a lot of division right now in our profession and I’d like to be… So one of the things that I am is a unifier and a collaborator.
[00:28:22] I listened to all the voices. As a person of a marginalized community… I’m a gay man for many, many years. Well, for many, many years,
[00:28:36] Um, yes, I’ve been gay for many, many years. We could probably edit that a little bit.
[00:28:45] Clarice Grote: I think it’s good. I think it’s good.
[00:28:48] Michael Pizzi: I know what it’s like to be marginalized and like to be bullied and feel less than, and so it’s important. So I can absolutely recognize the need to be as inclusive as we possibly can.
[00:29:05] Finally, I’m an innovator, and I see where occupational therapy can go. Not just where we are and where we’ve been. It’s been evident in my scholarship, in my lectures all over the world, and my keynotes that I’ve been so blessed to have given. But I want to end with a quick story.
[00:29:31] 1985, when I was 27 years old and four years practicing, I used the principle of hospice care, where the family is the unit of care, and created the social environment questionnaire because I believed we needed to include the family in some of our occupational therapy treatment plans. This was 1985. I presented to hundreds of OTs at an AOTA conference and one person asked how they would get paid for that.
[00:30:04] My response was that sometimes you just do things out of care and concern for others. That got great applause and afterwards, the great Wilma West looked for me and said, “Keep going. You’re onto something with how forward thinking you are.” And I carried that one interaction with me my entire career, because if Wilma West said that, it must be true.
[00:30:35] I have been so blessed to do so many things in our profession, and I see this as another avenue to continue that mission, to forward the profession.
[00:30:47] Clarice Grote: I love that story, and I think that’s even a good summary of occupational therapy where we don’t always realize how those one-moment interactions can change and influence someone’s life.
[00:30:59] And I think that’s, for me, one of the most rewarding parts of being an occupational therapy practitioner – is those little moments that can change the trajectory of someone’s life.
[00:31:09] Michael Pizzi: Especially coming from a leader in our profession, when they pull you aside and they tell you these remarkable things, you have to believe them. And you go…
[00:31:20] Clarice Grote: Right.
[00:31:21] Michael Pizzi: … “I guess I’m on the right track.” I think I should keep doing that. And that, like I said, that one interaction almost 40 years ago changed the entire trajectory of my career. So I feel very, very lucky to have known many, many amazing leaders in my 42 years of being an OT. And I hope that I would be a good role model for people as a leader in our profession.
[00:31:50] Clarice Grote: Well, excellent. Well, thank you so much, Michael, for coming on the podcast, answering my questions. I’m sure you agree with this, that everyone should go vote and participate in this year’s election.
[00:32:00] Michael Pizzi: Please.
[00:32:01] Clarice Grote: It’s exciting to see the competition, I think. And so, I just want to thank you for being here and giving members and the general community as a whole the opportunity to hear from you and your perspectives.
[00:32:13] Michael Pizzi: Well, you are doing wonderful work, Clarice, and keep going yourself.
[00:32:17] Clarice Grote: Thank you. I will carry that with me.
About Michael A. Pizzi, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Formerly Doctoral Capstone Coordinator, Program in Occupational Therapy, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)
Editor, Interprofessional Perspectives for Community Practice: Promoting Health, Well-Being and Quality of Life (due out February 2024)
Dr. Pizzi was awarded the Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Occupational Therapy and was one of the youngest therapists to have the honor of becoming a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (FAOTA), given to those who demonstrate scholarship, leadership and service to the profession. He was recently guest editor of the Special Issue on Childhood Obesity and the Special Issue on Health, Well-Being and Quality of Life for the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
Dr. Pizzi was the Doctoral Capstone Coordinator at New York Institute of Technology, NYC. He developed the first childhood obesity occupation and client-centered assessment which has been utilized nationally and is undergoing psychometric testing and is being used in research in the US and Israel. He has also developed the Pizzi Health and Wellness Assessment (PHWA) and the Pizzi healthy Weight Management Assessment (PHWMA) which have been utilized in several research studies and was presented at AOTA 2014-18. Besides writing and research, in 2014, Dr. Pizzi was selected for the Executive Board of the Leaders and Legacies Society (LLS) Steering Committee.
He has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters on topics including HIV rehabilitation, hospice, entrepreneurship, childhood obesity and health, well-being and quality of life and was a forerunner in these areas. There are over 100 lectures, workshops and keynote addresses focusing on advancing occupational therapy practice in the area of health and well-being to his credit. Dr. Pizzi co-edited the OT textbook “Occupational Therapy in the Promotion of Health and Wellness” which is used internationally and is co-editor of the forthcoming book “Interprofessional Perspectives for Community Practice: Promoting Health, Well-Being and Quality of Life”.
He believes in developing a spirited and collaborative teaching environment where students can actively learn, utilize their creativity, and apply knowledge for the betterment of society. Dr. Pizzi takes great pride in mentoring future clinical scholars. He currently serves as a reviewer of the American, Canadian and Australian OT journals, is a reviewer for OT in Health Care. Dr. Pizzi was also on the editorial board of Annals of International Occupational Therapy and was an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT).
Dr. Pizzi is also the founder of The Wellsongs Project, which has composers write original compositions from an OT interview with a child with special needs and their families. The CD of the first 14 of these songs can be found at www.wellsongsproject.com.