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Research Article  |   March 2002
Occupational Therapy’s Dance With Diversity
Author Affiliations
  • Roxie M. Black, MS, OTR/L, is Director and Associate Professor, Master of Occupational Therapy Program, University of Southern Maine/Lewiston–Auburn College, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston, Maine 04240; rblack@usm.maine.edu
Article Information
Professional Issues / Diversity and Occupational Therapy
Research Article   |   March 2002
Occupational Therapy’s Dance With Diversity
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2002, Vol. 56, 140-148. doi:10.5014/ajot.56.2.140
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2002, Vol. 56, 140-148. doi:10.5014/ajot.56.2.140
Abstract

As the demographics of the United States continue to change and we become a more pluralistic society, the increased diversity of the occupational therapy workforce and our consumers calls for an examination of the profession’s stance on multiculturalism and diversity. Using the metaphor of dance, this article identifies the dance partners as the organization’s leaders and its members. A historical review of the profession from the 1940s to the present traces the partners’ steps to determine which led the dance of diversity during the profession’s development. In this review, I discovered that the period when the profession most effectively and productively explored issues of diversity was during the early- to mid-1990s—a time when the organization and its members worked in harmony. At that time, occupational therapy’s dance with diversity flowed with rhythm and synchronicity.