Wendy Colman; Maintaining Autonomy: The Struggle Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Medicine. Am J Occup Ther 1992;46(1):63–70. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.46.1.63
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
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.
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