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Research Article  |   January 2009
Health Disparities: Examination of Evidence Relevant for Occupational Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • Julie D. Bass-Haugen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, The College of St. Catherine, Mail #4092, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105; jdbasshaugen@stkate.edu
Article Information
Advocacy / Social Justice and Health Disparities
Research Article   |   January 2009
Health Disparities: Examination of Evidence Relevant for Occupational Therapy
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 24-34. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.24
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 24-34. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.24
Abstract

Healthy People 2010 identified elimination of health disparities as a national priority. Few studies in the occupational therapy literature document health disparities. The purpose of this study was to examine the evidence on U.S. health disparities with specific relevance to occupational therapy and by racial/ethnic groups and income levels. National survey data were used to identify variables related to occupational performance or occupational therapy services that showed evidence of disparities. Data on U.S. citizens included health and behavioral characteristics, activity profiles, home and work environments, experiences in health systems, and outcomes of health care services. On many variables, the nature of differences for non-White groups and lower income–level groups provide evidence of health disparities. The findings support the National Healthcare Disparities Reports, which concluded that health disparities are still prevalent in the United States, and opportunities remain in health professions, like occupational therapy, to improve the health of all citizens.