The School of Occupational Therapy is focused on enacting change that recognizes the needs individuals and communities as related to health and well being, social inclusion and social justice. These pillars serve as a foundation for the research, teaching and service activities in the School of Occupational Therapy.
Health is more than the absence of disease. From a holistic and humanistic perspective, it encompasses optimal physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing to support a dynamic way of life, characterized by balance, purpose and life satisfaction. Through this lens, occupation has the power to help people engage in the world around them to the highest level of purpose and meaning within their capacity.
Social inclusion encompasses equitable and effective participation of all members of a society in diverse spheres of community life, including occupations such as education, work, volunteering, and leisure. Expanding occupational possibilities for individuals and collectives who face barriers to participating in society, tied to factors such as ability status, age, gender, race, citizenship status or employment status, is a powerful means to enhance social inclusion.
A variety of social factors, such as access to food, housing, transportation and education, are key determinants of health and well-being, and the inequitable distribution of such determinants is a matter of social (in)justice. Occupation-based practice and research addressing social justice seeks to not only raise awareness of situations of injustice, but also works with collectives to enact social change aimed at promoting justice.