Date Presented 04/02/2022

Justice-Based Occupational Therapy (JBOT) convened a network of OTs and key stakeholders in justice reform who identified actions needed to advance occupational justice: advocacy and policy, education, resources, and research. In this project, we compiled and analyzed the activities of the JBOT network and other OT associations who took action toward occupational justice during the past year. Findings indicate current events surrounding racial injustices sparked high levels of activity, and sustainability will be explored.

Primary Author and Speaker: Lisa Jaegers

Additional Authors and Speakers: Alyssa Cepon, Natalie Hoeferkamp, Drashti Topiwala

Contributing Authors: Mary Beth Dillon, Crystal Dieleman, Jaime P. Muñoz, Sandra Rogers, Karen Barney

PURPOSE: Justice Based Occupational Therapy (JBOT) assembled an international network of OTs and key stakeholders to promote justice reform. The goals of JBOT are to (1) explore the role of occupational therapy in justice-based practice, teaching, and research, identifying which information is critical for sharing with a wider audience; and (2) disseminate resources to articulate the role of occupational therapy in justice-based practice (Jaegers et al., 2020a). In early 2020, we identified four needed actions: advocacy/policy, education, resources, and research to advance occupational justice. On May 25, 2020, the killing of a Black man by white police officers sparked national outrage and demands for addressing systemic racism and a flawed criminal justice system in the United States. In response, the JBOT network called for participation and leadership to enable a more diverse, unified, aware, and occupationally just profession (Jaegers et al., 2020b. In this study we sought to compile activities related to occupational justice during the past year to describe actions taken.

DESIGN: A descriptive study design was used to identify and compile activities information. Using a qualitative approach, the JBOT team described types of artifacts that qualified as an occupational justice-related activity. They defined constructs for coding artifacts into the four main action categories: advocacy/policy, education, resources, and resource.

METHOD: We sought to identify the inclusion of occupational justice topics in OT journals, association activities, educational opportunities, and online outreach from March 2020-March 2021. Artifacts were gathered through discussion in JBOT network meetings (n = 9), through social media networks, literature searches, and online searches.

RESULTS: The four focus areas of JBOT were substantially represented within JBOT and the OT community in the form of 56 artifacts. Solutions (n = 26), Concerns (n = 17) and other feedback were suggested. Information was shared by OT faculty, students, educational program representatives, and JBOT members. Artifact findings indicate that the overarching theme of occupational justice is becoming more prominent in legislation, practice, and education. Example action steps included: combating health disparities, advocating for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color representation in academia, incorporating occupational justice into OT curriculum, and funding research to identify the hardships that practitioners, students, and academics face regarding systemic injustices.

CONCLUSION: Since the first publication by JBOT in March 2020, there has been high activity in occupational justice-related advocacy/policy, education, resources, and research. This project shows the forward momentum of these efforts and the need for exploration of sustainability. A powerful influence on occupational therapy has been exhibited in one year by way of need actions identified by JBOT, however, wider spread dissemination is needed for maximizing impact.  


Jaegers, L. A., Dieleman, C., Dillon, M. B., Rogers, S., Muñoz, J. & Barney, K. F. (2020a). Justice-based occupational therapy initiative: Advancing occupational justice in criminal justice systems. Annals of International Occupational Therapy.

Jaegers, L. A., Muñoz, J., Washington, S., Rogers, S., Skinner, E., Dieleman, C., White, J. A., Haworth, C., Shea, C.-K., Conners, B., Millsap, M., Young, C., West-Bruce, S., Hennessy, A., Nelson, M., Dillon, M. B., Daaleman, C., Barney, K. F. (2020b, June 16). Justice-based occupational therapy response to occupational therapy statements on justice and racism. JBOT, 2(2).