Anti-racist OT Praxis

Earn 1 hour of continuing education by joining the OT Potential Club after listening to this OT Potential Podcast course on Anti-racist OT Praxis.

Anti-racist OT Praxis with Khalilah R. Johnson and Ryan Lavalley

As occupational therapy providers, we have a duty to truly understand the word “occupation.” 

This means acknowledging the role occupation has played in shaping societal policies and norms, many of which are fundamentally unjust.

We also need to admit that our professional knowledge base, itself, is skewed.

The foundations of OT have evolved from an exclusionary context that privileged White skin, as well as other false social hierarchies. So much of what we learn, teach, and practice as OTs comes from a lens of being able to accumulate social, economic, and political power.

The article we are focusing on in this 1-hour course is a commentary that calls us to confront occupation’s role in injustice. It also provides concrete strategies for moving toward anti-racist action. We DO have the power to transform society by introducing the concept of anti-racism into our classrooms, policies, and daily practice.

After we review the article, we will be joined by its authors  Khalilah R. Johnson, PhD, MS, OTR/L and Ryan Lavalley, PhD, MOT, OTR/L to discuss ways you can create meaningful change.

See all listening platforms for the OT Potential Podcast.

Primary Journal Article Explored

When you log in, be sure to check out the OT Potential Club’s written breakdown of the following research article. Then, share your questions and thoughts with fellow practitioners.

Johnson, K. R., &; Lavalley, R. (2020). From racialized think-pieces toward anti-racist praxis in our science, education, and practice. Journal of Occupational Science, 28(3), 404–409.

Supporting Research and Journal Articles

Lavalley, R., &; Johnson, K. R. (2020). Occupation, injustice, and anti-black racism in the United States of America. Journal of Occupational Science, 29(4), 487–499. 

Salsberg, E., Richwine, C., Westergaard, S., Portela Martinez, M., Oyeyemi, T., Vichare, A., &; Chen, C. P. (2021). Estimation and comparison of current and future racial/ethnic representation in the US Health Care Workforce. JAMA Network Open, 4(3).

More Reading Materials on Anti-racism in OT

Learning Objectives

  • You will be able to recognize the various areas in which antiracism work can manifest in the occupational therapy profession.
  • You will be able to identify the typical barriers and challenges to implementing these changes in your own practice.


Intro (5 minutes)

Breakdown and analysis of journal article (5 minutes)

  • Quick background on racism and occupation
  • How this commentary came about
  • The purpose of this commentary
  • Author positionality
  • The authors’ charge to occupational scientists
  • Conclusion
  • Takeaways for OT practitioners

Discussion on practical implications for OTs (with Khalilah R. Johnson and Ryan Lavalley) (50 minutes)

  • How did you become interested in OS and OT research?
  • Why was it important to you to write this paper? 
  • What sorts of concrete strategies do you use to implement some of what you discuss in your own classes or work?
  • When has this gone really well?
  • When has it gone not so well?
  • What do you think are the biggest barriers for occupational scientists and occupational therapy practitioners to implementing your suggestions?
  • How does our profession need to change?
  • Looking on the horizon, what makes you excited for our profession?

Contact Hours

1 hour (0.1 AOTA CEUs). Released online from Aurora, NE.

This course on Anti-racist OT Praxis is AOTA approved!

Target Audience/Educational Level

Our target audience is occupational therapy practitioners who are looking to learn about Anti-racist OT Praxis.  The educational level is introductory.

Instructional Methods/Registration/Special Needs Requests/Cancellation Policy

This course is an independent/self-study course delivered via podcast on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. Explore your listening options on the OT Potential Podcast page.

If you need accommodations to take this course, please contact us and we will address your needs on an individual basis.

If this course were to be canceled, please see our cancellation policy on our terms page.

Course Completion Requirements

In order to receive a certificate for this course, you must first listen to the podcast in its entirety. Then, you will need to take the test (found at the top of this page) and earn 75% or higher. If you pass, a certificate will be automatically generated and sent to your email.

Financial and Non-financial Disclosures

It is the policy of OT Potential to disclose any financial and non-financial interest the provider or instructor may have in a product or service mentioned during an activity. This is to ensure that the audience is made aware of any bias of the speaker.

We here at OT Potential have no financial stake in this topic.  Our guests, Khalilah R. Johnson and Ryan Lavalley, also have no financial disclosures. 


Khalilah R. Johnson, PhD, MS, OTR/L

Khalilah is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Science in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. She also serves as an affiliate research faculty member in the Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention at Virginia Commonwealth University. Broadly, Dr. Johnson’s research sits at the intersections of critical qualitative methodologies, intellectual and developmental disabilities, health equity, disability and social justice. Additionally, she is involved in research aimed to address pathways to occupational therapy education for Black students and racial equity in occupational science and occupational therapy curricula. Her research interests are informed by 16 years of clinical experience spanning Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. 

Dr. Johnson is an activist scholar. She was named the 2022 Hortense McClinton Outstanding Faculty Award by the UNC Alumni Association, the 2021 MLK Unsung Hero by the UNC Office for Diversity and Inclusion and UNC Office of the Provost, as well as recognized by the Brenau University Alumni Hall of Fame. Additionally, she is a member of the inaugural cohort of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Equity Scholars for Action grantees. Dr. Johnson sits on the boards of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation Scientific Advisory Council, the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Autism in Adulthood, and the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity.

Ryan Lavalley, PhD, MOT, OTR/L

Ryan  is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Science in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Dr. Lavalley has nearly 10 years of experience in community practice of occupational therapy. Broadly, his practice and research sits at the intersections of aging, housing, and anti-oppression. In 2021 as a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Lavalley was honored with the Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for Partnership from the Carolina Center for Public Service. He is the primary lead for the department’s Community Practice Lab and has experience conducting community program development and evaluation in partnership with multiple partners including non-profits, local governments, and community institutions. His research has explored collective processes of everyday life and the sociological implications of doing together in community, including both positive outcomes such as language inclusion and negative outcomes such as racism.

Further, Dr. Lavalley is an active member of the occupational science and occupational therapy community. He is currently the Research Chair for the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA, a coordinating member of the International Social Transformation through Occupation Network, and the Chair of Operations for the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD).  Personally, Dr. Lavalley is proudly queer, originally hails from West Virginia, and enjoys gardening and anything outdoors.

This course was designed to meet your continuing education requirements

We designed the courses in the Club to meet the requirements for “online” and “independent/self-study” courses. For more details read our blog post: Can I earn OT CEUS from a podcast? To verify the requirements from your specific state (within the US), check out our post, OT Continuing Education Explained. If you are outside of the United States and have questions, please contact us.

We are proud to be an AOTA Approved Provider and to meet the requirements for your NBCOT renewal.

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See our other OT courses!

  • Cancer Rehab for Older Adults
  • OT & Smart Home Tech Adoption
  • Anti-racist OT Praxis
  • Racism and Occupation
  • OT and Social Determinants of Health
  • Participation-focused Knowledge Translation in Pediatric OT

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