OT Practice: Interdisciplinary Research

Do you get tired of constantly working to define lines and defend your area of practice with PT and SLP?  

If a desire of yours is to truly be interdisciplinary, maybe research is a path to consider pursuing. 

The Q&A with Kenneth Ottenbacher in the January OT Practice (pg. 33) highlights the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, where there is a growing push for rehabilitation science as an interdisciplinary research field. Ottenbacher states that the rehab professions are much smaller, less coordinated and much less homogenous then, say, nursing.  It seems that a key to progressing in science and research for our field is to give up our battle lines and collectively work to study rehab. 

In a fragmented field, I was pleased to find this little gem that seems to espouse the development of best practice over defending our individual practice areas. For further reading check out "Looking Back and Thinking Forward: 20 Years of Disability and Rehabilitation Research."


At a clinical practice level there has always been a need for autonomy, which is mostly justifiable. You need to have some separation, because rehab professions are different. They provide different services. They have different standards of practice, different licensure laws, so they need to be autonomous at the level of practice. But when you talk about the development of science the reasons are not as convincing.  -- Kenneth Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR