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Released July 11, 2021 from Aurora, NE
Any occupational therapy practitioner knows that we often face tough questions surrounding ethics and justice.
We work in imperfect systems, and each day we see how societal systems favor some, while placing others at a disadvantage.
So, how do we process all of this? And, how do we see ourselves as contributing to the greater good?
One framework that has been taught in many OT schools is “occupational injustice.” But, the article we will review is a critique of this familiar framework. And, instead, it will introduce you to the concept of “capabilities theory.”
To discuss how these big-picture questions impact how you show up as an OT—including how your work can help address unjust systems—we’ll be talking to Antonia Suszek, OTR/L, BCPR.
Primary Research 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.
Hammell, K. R. W., & Beagan, B. (2017). Occupational injustice: A critique: L’injustice occupationnelle : une critique. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 84(1), 58–68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0008417416638858
Gerlach AJ, Teachman G, Laliberte-Rudman D, Aldrich RM, Huot S. Expanding beyond individualism: Engaging critical perspectives on occupation. Scand J Occup Ther. 2018 Jan;25(1):35-43. doi: 10.1080/11038128.2017.1327616. Epub 2017 May 23. PMID: 28535745.
Bailliard, A. L., Dallman, A. R., Carroll, A., Lee, B. D., & Szendrey, S. (2020). Doing Occupational Justice: A Central Dimension of Everyday Occupational Therapy Practice. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 87(2), 144–152. https://doi.org/10.1177/0008417419898930
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations
- Occupational Therapy and Human Rights, WFOT
- Creating Capabilities, Martha Nussbaum
- You will be able to identify the primary critiques of “occupational injustice.”
- You will be able to recall the basic pillars of “capabilities theory.”
Intro (5 minutes)
Breakdown and analysis of journal article (10 minutes)
- Why was this paper written?
- What is occupational injustice?
- What is the history of occupation injustice?
- The manifestations of occupational injustice and related critiques:
- Occupational deprivation
- Occupational alienation
- Occupational imbalance
- Occupational marginalization
- Occupational apartheid
- Further overarching critiques
- Advocating for a focus on occupational rights
- Advocating for a capabilities approach
- Authors’ conclusion and recommendations
- Takeaways for OT practitioners
Discussion on practical implications for OTs (with guest Antonia Suszek) (45 minutes)
- Occupational justice is written in our practice framework; should we feel uncomfortable critiquing it?
- Do you think that how we think about justice and injustice impacts the way we show up as OTs?
- Do you find practical value in the concepts behind occupational injustice?
- Did you find capabilities theory to be a helpful framework?
- The article seems to imply that self-critique and reflection are essential in pursuing justice; do you think that is true?
- What are some practical ways we can show up in a more “just” way for our clients?
- What are practical ways we can be involved in changing the systems around us to be more just?
- Moving forward, how do you hope to see the concept of justice guiding the occupational therapy profession?
1 hour (0.1 AOTA CEUs)
Target Audience/Educational Level
Our target audience is occupational therapy practitioners who are looking to learn more about occupational injustice. 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 cancelled, 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.
Antonia Suszek, OTR/L, BCPR:
Antonia completed her undergraduate studies in music and religion at St. Olaf College. Before becoming an occupational therapist, she worked to develop leadership skills in young people through cooperative play. She also organized restaurant workers pursuing fair wages, paid sick leave, and equal employment.
While earning her master’s degree in occupational therapy from Rush University in 2014, Antonia was voted the student “who best exemplifies the seven core values and attitudes of occupational therapy practice.” She considers this a step up from being named “most attached to the desk writer” in second grade. Since graduation, Antonia has primarily worked in the acute care setting at Level 1 trauma centers, but she also has some experience in outpatient hand therapy and acute inpatient rehabilitation.
Antonia recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest for the mountains and trees, and she is thrilled to work for an employer who prioritizes healthcare for vulnerable populations.
Sarah Lyon, OTR/L:
Sarah’s passion is helping fellow OT practitioners translate evidence into daily practice. Sarah earned her BA in religion from St. Olaf College, then earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy from New York University in 2011. Since then, she’s worked in numerous facilities, including a critical access hospital, an acute trauma hospital, and a state inpatient psychiatric hospital.
In 2011, Sarah launched OT Potential because she realized we needed a reliable source of quality occupational therapy-related content and resources. She has also had the opportunity to create content for brands like WebPT, MedBridge, Saebo, and NeuroLutions.
She launched the OT Potential Club in 2019 to marry her love of simplifying complex topics with her desire to help therapists access the most important OT-related research released each year.
Sarah is a prairie girl at heart, which is why she returned to her hometown to raise her children in Aurora, Nebraska (home of the strobe light).
This course was designed to meet your continuing education requirements
Every state, entity, and country has different requirements for what counts as continuing education, and we have done our best to make sure it meets yours. Please double check with particular requirements, and let us know if you have any questions about whether it meets your needs.
This course is designed to meet the requirements of NBCOT PDUs. But, you are advised to make your own determination as to whether the course will be beneficial to your practice. NBCOT does not endorse any specific professional development units.
See #14 on the NBCOT Renewal Activities Chart to see what this podcast would qualify under. (OT Potential is considered a 3rd party entity.)
State license renewal (within the US):
Our OT Potential Podcast is intended to meet the requirements for “online” and “independent/self-study” courses. If you have any questions about your particular continuing education requirements, please check with the licensing entity in your state.