Becoming Anti-Racist Occupational Therapy Practitioners: A Scoping Study

Julia Sterman, Janet Njelesani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ongoing racism pandemic in the United States negatively impacts the health, safety, and occupations of Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color. Although occupational therapy (OT) practitioners have a pressing obligation to actively address racism’s causes and consequences, they lack guidance on what to do. This scoping study sought to identify and synthesize existing knowledge on ways OT practitioners and the profession can engage in anti-racist actions. Six databases were searched for content related to OT and anti-racism. The 31 included articles indicated that OT practitioners should: engage in reflexivity on ways their power and privilege impact therapeutic relationships, use inclusive models, consider how racism can impact client occupations and health care access, and address structural racism through advocacy and occupations as means. Although being anti-racist is a lifelong process, strategies within this study can support OT practitioners and the profession to initiate concrete anti-racist actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-242
Number of pages11
JournalOTJR Occupation, Participation and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • client-centered practice
  • cultural/culture sensitivity
  • evidence-based practice
  • occupational injustice
  • occupational therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


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