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New York State Black Occupational Therapy Caucus 

In the News - Clover Hutchinson, President

July 29, 2021 1:06 AM | Clover Hutchinson (Administrator)
News & Press: Member News

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Meet Clover Hutchinson: Her Journey and Drive for Engagement

Thursday, July 29, 2021  
Posted by: Catherine Arora


We are delighted to feature our very own, Dr. Clover Hutchinson, NYSOTA member and Trustee, as July’s Member of the Month. Dr. Hutchinson has done almost everything there is to do as an Occupational Therapist from practicing clinician to Chief OT to full time faculty at CUNY York College to President of the NYS Black OT Caucus, but occupational therapy was not the original plan for her life.

Her Journey to Occupational Therapy

Dr. Hutchinson began at York College as a student pursuing nursing when her grandfather shared a story of a friend receiving therapy. This story ultimately led her down the path to discovering Occupational Therapy. That circuitous route continued in her early years as a therapist. Thinking she would like to work with people who had suffered burns, Dr. Hutchinson was delighted to be hired in exactly that setting only to experience her first professional encounter with racism. Through the help of a friend, Dr. Hutchinson was able to move on to a different facility which fully appreciated what she had to offer. Her supervisor there continues to be a mentor today and it was through this experience that Dr. Hutchinson discovered her passion for hand therapy.

Her next and final appointment in her clinical career was at Brookdale Hospital where she rose from outpatient OT to chief OT when she implemented the inpatient Occupational Therapy program. Dr. Hutchinson served as Chief OT for 23 years up until 2020. Her final year at Brookdale coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic which would come to affect Dr. Hutchinson and her team in a very personal way.

The Early Days of COVID-19

Dr. Hutchinson’s recounting of the early days of the pandemic were infused with the traits which led Flo Hannes, President of NYSOTA, to describe her as a “caring and compassionate leader”. She describes the emotions that her team experienced which are unfortunately familiar to all of us – denial, doubt, fear, and overwhelm.

Guiding Her Team Through the Pandemic

Dr. Hutchinson’s final days at Brookdale were spent guiding her team through this challenging time with grace, compassion, and understanding as staff navigated new work conditions and secondment to unfamiliar departments and roles. The experience was made worse when a colleague and best friend, Yves Roseus, contracted COVID and was hospitalized at Brookdale. She describes the team rallying together to support their friend through the difficulties of being diagnosed, to his admission to Brookdale, to multiple daily visits and therapeutic interventions to help him battle the disease. Tragically, Yves succumbed to the disease. Continuing his life’s ambition to train Haitian OTs is a driving force for Dr. Hutchinson who along with NYSOTA established the Dr. Yves Roseus Memorial Lecture & Practicum Fund.

Community Engagement and Giving Back

Given her personal experience overcoming racism and her efforts to fulfill her friend’s life dream, it is not surprising that Dr. Hutchinson has a strong record in giving back to the occupational therapy community via volunteer roles in various organizations. She has served as Trustee on the NYSOTA Board, is an evaluator on the AOTA Accreditation Roster of Evaluators, and is currently President of the New York State Black Occupational Therapy Caucus (NYSBOTC). She feels compelled to give back to the occupational therapy community which has given her so much in a career that she says she has “never looked back on with regret”. She laments the reticence she sometimes sees in clinicians who view clinical education of interns as a burden or practicing OTs who are not aware of all that NYSOTA does for the profession especially in terms of advocacy. As a member of the NYSBOTC she describes how “awesome” it was to be in a room of OTs “who looked like myself” and, as President, is proud of the “opportunities for networking and mentorship for students and clinicians” which the Caucus provides. Dr. Hutchinson credits her entry into volunteer roles to observing her fellow OTs engaged in their community which “plant(ed) the seed”. There is no doubt that she is now planting the seed of community engagement for the next generation of OTs.

Address: NYSBOTC, PO BOX 110359, CAMBRIA HEIGHTS, NY 11411

Phone: (917) 991-6130


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