AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference & Expo is scheduled for March 21-23, 2024, in Orlando, Florida. Here we answer some common questions about why Orlando was selected, how we will carry out our mission to advance occupational therapy practice, and how we are creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all participants.
Why is AOTA hosting AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida?
AOTA has always rotated the annual conference and expo around the nation to create more accessible and inclusive opportunities for practitioners and students to participate in our profession’s premier education and networking event as we advance occupational therapy practice together.
Orlando was selected as the host city for AOTA’s 2024 conference in 2018. Our return to Orlando for the first time since 2010 creates the opportunity for practitioners to gather and extend their stay in the most visited destination in the United States.
How does AOTA select the sites for its annual conference and expo?
There are currently 32 convention facilities in 20 states that are large enough to accommodate a conference the size of AOTA’s conference. AOTA evaluates potential sites based on accessibility, venue quality, affordability, and other factors. Some large convention facilities are prohibitively expensive or have contractual requirements that AOTA and our attendees cannot meet, which reduces the number of viable sites. AOTA must reserve convention facilities of this size 4 to 5 years in advance.
Will new laws in Florida that do not align with the occupational therapy profession’s commitments and values impact AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference & Expo?
Occupational therapy practitioners provide client-centered care every day, in all 50 states and territories, amid evolving federal and state laws that are sometimes in stark contrast with the values and beliefs of the occupational therapy profession.
AOTA will not limit any topics at AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference & Expo in relation to Florida laws. AOTA has the right to select the programming offered at the Orange County Convention Center during our conference, as reinforced by Visit Orlando, the Official Tourism Association for Orlando. We remain committed to carrying out our mission to advance occupational therapy practice and education.
How will AOTA create a welcoming and safe environment at AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference & Expo, especially considering Florida’s anti-LGBTQ and anti-DEI laws?
AOTA is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive conference in person in Orlando and on-demand online. AOTA upholds Occupational Therapy's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Representative Assembly’s policies “Affirming Gender Diversity” (2021) and “Affirming Sexual Orientation” (2022). The City of Orlando has received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for nine consecutive years, based on how inclusive their municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ residents and visitors. Attendees will be welcome to use the restroom that matches their gender identity. As a lessee of the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), AOTA can request that restrooms be used as they specify.
AOTA recognizes that some attendees may have concerns about their safety while onsite in Orlando. AOTA will be working closely with our industry partners – to include the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), all AOTA contracted hotels, and the shuttle provider to ensure our attendees experience a welcoming and safe environment. The OCCC Security team’s mission is to provide a safe and friendly environment for everyone. Center security detail maintains 24-hour security, overseeing all public areas, concourses, back of house areas, parking lots, and related exterior grounds. Additionally, they maintain an extensive relationship with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, as well as many federal law enforcement agencies. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office assigns deputies to the facility on a regular basis. In addition, everyone in the OCCC must have an AOTA registration badge or an OCCC staff badge.
All AOTA event participants are expected to treat others with respect and follow the AOTA Event Code of Conduct.
Will AOTA consider relocating AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference & Expo?
No, AOTA will not relocate AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference & Expo. There are limited venues in the nation that are large enough to accommodate our conference, which are booked years in advance and have decreased capacity in 2024 due to pent up demand. Additionally, Orlando would penalize AOTA and its members with a $2.5 million cancellation fee, and a cancellation would impact workers in the service industry who are employed for large-scale conferences.
Will there be a virtual or hybrid component to INSPIRE 2024?
At this time, we do not plan to offer a virtual or hybrid component to the conference. A limited number of sessions will be recorded onsite and available for purchase in the AOTA Store in May 2024. If we receive significant interest, we will consider offering an on-demand option similar to what was offered for INSPIRE 2023. As a reminder, AOTA offers a number of live Webinars, throughout the year that can be accessed here.
How will AOTA support local social justice in Orlando, Florida?
AOTA will contribute to local organizations that support social justice issues. AOTA is pleased with the Local Conference Committee's efforts to identify worthy organizations to support, such as those that advocate for the LGBTQ community, marginalized communities, and access to banned books. To see the list of conference charities, please go to https://inspire.aota.org/registration/conference-charity/.
Where will future AOTA annual conferences be held?
The 2025 event will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the 2026 event will be held in Anaheim, California. AOTA will be announcing the locations and dates of the 2027, 2028, and 2029 annual conferences by the end of 2023.
Florida law no longer requires a permit to carry a handgun. Will AOTA allow guns at AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference & Expo?
AOTA and the Orange County Convention Center will be a gun-free zone. No guns will be allowed at the conference, and signage at the convention center will reiterate this policy.
Where may I direct my questions or comments?
You are welcome to send your questions and comments about AOTA INSPIRE | 2024 Annual Conference & Expo to firstname.lastname@example.org.