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Diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural humility are given emphasis in the efforts of both students and faculty in the Division of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy. Current and ongoing initiatives are highlighted below.


Book clubs:

Anti-Racism Book Club

Started by MSOT student Kate Hickert in the summer of 2020, this book club is open to all students and faculty in the Division of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy. Over the summer three books were read and discussed, and another book was read and discussed in the fall of 2020. Books included The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot; How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi; Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity by Ann Arnett Ferguson; and Thick, by Tressie McMillian Cottom.  No book was chosen for  spring 2021, but the book club will resume in the summer.

Inter-professional Education Book Club: Fall 2020

First year MSOT students participated in reading and inter-professional discussion of the book Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald. First year students in all of the programs in the Department of Allied Health Sciences were included in this IPE event.

Conference Presentations:

Minority Paths to Occupational Therapy (AOTA Inspire Conference Spring 2021):

The lack of diversity within OT needs correction. Without a better understanding of the supports and barriers experienced by minorities preparing for a career in OT, academic programs struggle to implement effective recruitment strategies. A qualitative study was conducted to explore the experiences of 50 Black women as they pursued a career in OT. Results will be presented, followed by reflection on how they can inform recruitment, retainment, and welcome of Black women into the profession. Presented by UNC faculty Dr. Linn Wakeford and Dr. Khalilah Johnson, PhD student Kierra Peak, and MSOT student Breonna Caldwell.

Justice, Equity, Diversity &  Inclusion: Learning Activities (NCOTA Spring Conference 2021)

This panel presentation included OT and OTA student reflections on events and activities that their educational programs have offered related to issues of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Activity details were shared so that occupational therapy practitioners in educational programs, agencies, institutions, and other workplaces could replicate or adapt the activities to fit their setting. This presentation is intended to advance efforts of educational and practice settings to offer multiple types of opportunities for students, educators, and practitioners to address issues of race, racism, diversity of all kinds, equity, justice, and inclusion. Participants included faculty and students from the OTA program at Durham Technical Community College, the MSOT program at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Entry-Level OTD program at Wingate University.

Equity in Teaching: Inclusion by Design (NCOTA Fall Conference 2020)

This presentation was provided for the Education & Research Special Interest Section session by UNC faculty, Dr. Linn Wakeford. The focus of the session was on teaching strategies that OT/OTA educational programs may consider to help develop and maintain an equitable and inclusive environment for students from multiple underrepresented groups.

Therapy Entrepreneurs and Leaders of Color podcast

     Tomeico Faison
    Khalilah Johnson

This podcast series was created by Tomeico Faison, MS, OTR/L, an alumna of the UNC MSOT program. The purpose of this podcast is to inspire therapists by sharing the accomplishments of therapy entrepreneurs and leaders of color and to support them in their roles. UNC OT faculty member, Dr. Khalilah Johnson, is featured in the second podcast, which is linked here:  Podcast: Dr. Khalilah Johnson. Tomeico, a leader and entrepreneur herself, has captured meaningful and important stories from leaders of color in our field, so please take a listen!


Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) Diversity & Inclusion Committee

The work of this committee includes developing materials for and connections with local public schools and undergraduate groups on the UNC campus to promote OT as a possible career for students from underrepresented minorities. UNC SOTA is also an active chapter of the Coalition for Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity, an organization that operates at the national level.

Diversity Awareness Scholarship

This scholarship was initiated by UNC OT Alumnus Stacy Wilson, Class of 2010. Stacy is a founding member of COTAD, and is also working with the Dive-In committee. Application for the scholarship requires that the student outline a way in which he or she will conduct an outreach event that supports the recruitment of diverse individuals into occupational therapy.