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Research Article  |   January 2009
Social Justice and Resource Utilization in a Community-Based Organization: A Case Illustration of the Role of the Occupational Therapist
Author Affiliations
  • Brent Braveman, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Clinical Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, M/C 811, Room 347, 1919 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612; bbravema@uic.edu
  • Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, PhD, is Professor and Department Head, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
Article Information
Ethics / Social Justice and Health Disparities
Research Article   |   January 2009
Social Justice and Resource Utilization in a Community-Based Organization: A Case Illustration of the Role of the Occupational Therapist
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 13-23. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.13
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 13-23. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.13
Abstract

Social justice and occupational justice have received increased attention in the occupational therapy literature. This evolving discourse has focused on establishing a connection between the effects of social injustice and the resulting negative influences on occupational participation. This literature has also addressed the role of occupational therapists in responding to social injustice at the societal, population, or individual levels. We examine the two most well-known theories of social justice to understand the responsibility of organizations, institutions, or governments in providing for people who have experienced difficulties in maintaining self-sufficiency. We use two case examples to illustrate how community-based organizations act as brokers of human, financial, and other resources and the challenges they face in distributing these resources in a manner consistent with social justice concepts. Finally, we suggest how an occupational therapist might assist such organizations in fairly distributing resources by applying occupational therapy paradigmatic knowledge and skills.