Harriett Bynum Receives Ohio’s Highest OT Honor
Harriett Bynum, program director for the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Kent State East Liverpool, received the Award of Merit from the Ohio Occupational Therapy Association at its annual conference in October.
This award is OOTA’s highest level of recognition and is presented to a member who demonstrates qualities of leadership, academics and clinical achievement in the field of occupational therapy in Ohio. It further recognizes efforts to develop and perpetuate occupational therapy throughout the state.
Bynum began her career at Kent State 18 years ago as an assistant professor, but her career as an OT professional spans 44 years. Her clinical career included working in the rehabilitation department at a Pittsburgh hospital, where she advanced from staff therapist to director. Bynum also worked in home health and skilled nursing settings.
Aside from leading the OTA program on the East Liverpool Campus, Bynum served as the founding program director of the OTA program at the Ashtabula Campus for several years. While there, she helped lead the design phase of a new health and science wing that provided state-of-the-art learning spaces for students to develop their skills and techniques.
She is active in the Youngstown-Warren district of OOTA and participates at the national level with the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) on its Roster of Accreditation Evaluators and as a board member.
Bynum is a strong proponent of legislative advocacy for the profession. For several years, her students have traveled to Washington, D.C., where each attend personal meetings with their legislators to advocate for the profession as part of AOTA Hill Day.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Thiel College and an OT certificate from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, before earning her master’s degree in health related professions from the University of Pittsburgh.
Bynum was nominated for this award by her peer, Julie Mirabell, OTA program director on the Ashtabula Campus. She wrote:
“As a faculty member and then program director of the occupational therapy assistant program at Kent State University, Harriett has worked tirelessly to promote the profession by preparing the next generation of practitioners for the future of healthcare in our region. Her leadership in OTA education has impacted the skills and professionalism of 400-plus occupational therapy assistants who have graduated from KSU’s program and their provision of high quality services to those in need.
“…As an OTA educator, it is humbling to reflect on the impact of training a significant number of students and graduates of the program and, therefore, all of the clients receiving the services of those graduates. In addition to the outstanding influence on graduates of KSU’s East Liverpool program, it is through the generous and limitless sharing of her knowledge that numerous other practitioners and students benefit as well.”