OT Education for Planetary Health

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OT Education for Planetary Health with Moses Ikiugu

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What does planetary health have to do with occupational therapy? 

The author’s of this week’s article argue that engagement with environmental sustainability is foundational for our profession. 

The authors aim to help OT students and professionals translate environmental awareness to practical action. They theorize 3 skills to do so: 

  1. Clinical reasoning
  2. Bi-directional questioning 
  3. Interprofessional education. 

To help us unpack this, we are excited to welcome to the podcast Moses Ikiugu, PhD, OTR/L, FAOT. Dr. Ikiugu has been a pioneer in connecting OT practice to global health. He’ll share how his own query into the area has influenced his own work as an OT educator—and the practical implications for your own OT practice. 

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1. Listen to the podcast for free.

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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.

Hess, K. Y., & Rihtman, T. (2023). Moving from theory to practice in occupational therapy education for planetary health: A theoretical view. Australian occupational therapy journal, 10.1111/1440-1630.12868. Advance online publication. 

Supporting Research and Journal Articles

Learning Objectives

  • You will be able to recognize the components of “environmental reasoning” a form of clinical reasoning to be taught to novice OTs. 
  • You will be able to identify the components of bidirectional questioning, a skill that was proposed to be taught to OT students.

Supplemental Materials


Intro (5 minutes)

Breakdown and analysis of journal article (5 minutes)

  • What is Planetary Health?
  • What does planetary health have to do with OT? 
  • Planetary Health and OT Education
  • What was the purpose of this paper?
  • Discussion
  • Takeaways for OT practitioners

Discussion on practical implications for OTs (with Moses Ikiugu) (50 minutes)

  • How did you first find OT?
  • How did you become interested in OT and planetary health?
  • You’ve been involved in multiple publications on OT and planetary health, including the The WFOT guiding principles on sustainability, how have these collaborations influenced your own teaching at South Dakota? 
  • What was your initial impression of this 2023 article? 
  • Do you find that there is “broad agreement” about the urgency of tackling sustainability in OT education? & What would you say to someone who is skeptical about the importance of this topic?
  • What are some examples of how OTs can embed clinical reasoning into practice, in at a novice level (along the lines of reduce, reuse, recycle)?
  • How can we begin to employ more complex clinical reasoning, through thinking about “people” “planet” and “profit”?
  • The article called us to move beyond person-centered care to “climate-just person centered care”, which the authors called this “two-eyed seeing”. Was this a helpful concept to you? And, how can you see OTs utilizing it? 
  • What are some examples of interprofessional collaboration that have inspired you? 
  • Promoting planetary health in OT is hard, complex work. What keeps you motivated? 
This course on OT Education for Planetary Health is AOTA approved!

This course is an independent/self-study course delivered via podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play & more. 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.

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.

Target Audience/Educational Level

Our target audience is occupational therapy practitioners who are looking to learn about OT Education for Planetary Health.  The educational level is introductory.

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 guest, Moses Ikiugu, also has no financial disclosures.


Moses Ikiugu

Moses N. Ikiugu, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Moses N. Ikiugu, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA Professor, Occupational Therapy University of South Dakota I received a diploma in occupational therapy from Kenya Medical Training College, Nairobi; diploma in counseling psychology from the Amani Counseling Center and Training Institute, Nairobi, Kenya; Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and Master’s degree in counseling psychology from the United States International University, San Diego; and a PhD degree in occupational therapy from Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas.  

Prior to joining the occupational therapy faculty at The University of South Dakota in 2005, I was an assistant professor in the occupational therapy program at the University of Scranton in North East Pennsylvania. Read full bio.

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L

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. Sarah is the founder/owner of OT Potential. Read more about OT Potential here.

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. To verify the requirements from your specific state (within the US), check out our post, OT Continuing Education Requirements. If you are outside of the United States and have questions, please contact us.

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See our other OT courses!

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OT Education for Planetary Health • OT Potential

Today we’ll be covering “OT Education for Planetary Health.” We’ll look at new research and discuss it with Moses Ikiugu.

Course Provider: Organization

Course Provider Name: OT Potential

Course Provider URL: https://otpotential.com/

Course Mode: Online

Start Date: 2023-07-10

Duration: 01:00:00

Repeat Count: 5

Repeat Frequency: Yearly

Course Type: Subscription

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