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Research Article  |   January 1992
Maintaining Autonomy: The Struggle Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Medicine
Author Affiliations
  • Wendy Colman, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is in private practice, The Benson East, 100 Old York Road, Suite 1208, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania 19046
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Research
Research Article   |   January 1992
Maintaining Autonomy: The Struggle Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Medicine
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 1992, Vol. 46, 63-70. doi:10.5014/ajot.46.1.63
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 1992, Vol. 46, 63-70. doi:10.5014/ajot.46.1.63
Abstract

In 1948, several physiatrists, representing the emerging medical specialty of physical medicine, held a meeting at which they aggressively attempted to wrest control of occupational therapy’s educational programs and national registry from the jurisdiction of the American Occupational Therapy Association. This paper offers one view of the events that led up to that meeting and the consequences of that struggle for occupational therapy autonomy. It focuses on several critical incidents in the struggle, the salient issues debated, and the strategies used by both physical medicine and occupational therapy to influence the outcome. The consequences of the confrontation as they affected occupational therapy education and practice are discussed.