Alison Gerlach from the University of British Columbia in Canada has just had a paper published that challenges occupational therapists to think more critically about their work with individuals, families and groups who experience different forms of marginalization. She says about the paper “I think we need to be much more active in the international dialogue on health equity and we need to make sure that our thinking is as complex as the lives of the people that we aim to support.”
These are issues that are as relevant to physiotherapists as they are to OTs and the other health professions, so I thought it would be good to promote the paper here. In the spirit of sharing, Alison says that show “would absolutely love to hear any thoughts, feelings, and feedback from the network!”
Alison can be contacted here: Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences, University of British Columbia, T-325-2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 2B5, Canada. Telephone: 604-822-7392.
Background. An emerging and important area of occupational therapy practice involves engaging with various individuals and population groups who live in marginalizing conditions that result in health inequities.
Purpose. This paper calls for more critical and intersectional analyses of occupational therapy in the context of marginalized populations.
Key Issues. Intersectionality has the potential to reveal important and complex interactions among social systems that create and sustain marginalization and to inform more nuanced, contextualized, and socially responsive forms of occupational therapy. Central to this process is the co-construction of knowledge with people who experience marginalization. Engaging in this work requires occupational therapists to undertake ongoing critical reflexivity to attend to our sociohistorical positioning of power and privilege in relation to marginalized populations.
Implications. Complicating our discourse on marginalized populations is imperative to enacting our critical potential in working toward social justice and health equity.
Gerlach, Alison J. (2015). Sharpening our critical edge: Occupational therapy in the context of marginalized populations / Aiguiser notre sens critique : L’ergothérapie dans le contexte des populations marginalisées. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. doi: 10.1177/0008417415571730.