Research Article  |   December 2016
Justice and U.S. Occupational Therapy Practice: A Relationship 100 Years in the Making
Author Affiliations
  • Rebecca M. Aldrich, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Doisy College of Health Sciences, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO; raldrich@slu.edu
  • Tessa L. Boston, MOTS, is Graduate Student, Master of Occupational Therapy program, Doisy College of Health Sciences, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO
  • Claire E. Daaleman, MOTS, is Graduate Student, Master of Occupational Therapy program, Doisy College of Health Sciences, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Education of OTs and OTAs / Centennial Topics
Research Article   |   December 2016
Justice and U.S. Occupational Therapy Practice: A Relationship 100 Years in the Making
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2016, Vol. 71, 7101100040p1-7101100040p5. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.023085
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2016, Vol. 71, 7101100040p1-7101100040p5. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.023085
Abstract

At 99 years old, occupational therapy is a global health care profession with a growing orientation toward justice. Because much of the occupational justice discourse has developed outside the United States, parallels between the profession’s ethos and its current focus on justice must be examined more closely in this country. Although occupational therapy practitioners in the United States are better equipped than their predecessors with language and theories that explicitly emphasize justice, the potential for bringing that focus to bear depends on practitioners’ willingness to think differently about their practices. We argue that a focus on justice can be naturally integrated with curriculum standards by emphasizing the link between cultural humility, client-centeredness, and embodied habits of “seeking out unknown others.” Outside formal education, practitioners can be encouraged to think of justice as something that already intersects with practice, not something that practitioners must choose whether to take up.