Perspectives about Occupational Justice


Program Description:

Imagine what it might feel like to be unable to participate in many of the day to day activities that most of us take for granted. Brushing our teeth in the morning, making breakfast, engaging in a job or classroom, taking care of our home, family and pets, enjoying a book or newspaper, preparing meals, preparing a place to sleep. These sample just a few of the life activities in which humans typically participate....referred to as occupations in the field of occupational science. Occupations vary substantially from culture to culture and also depend on access to material and political resources. Occupations in which people engage contribute to their health, identity, and sense of purpose. Occupation in its purest form can be simply termed as the purposeful act of doing something or conceptually defined as the performance of meaningful activities with a set goal in mind. In this paper we will explore the concept of occupational justice, a term that describes a basic human right to have the opportunities and rights to participate in those activities and occupations that define us as individuals, family and community members by providing meaning and purpose to our lives. Conditions of poverty preclude the ability to participate in a wide range of activities and occupations that support well-being. An anticipated outcome of this presentation is to explore how poverty negatively influences engagement in those activities and occupations that support health, productivity and life satisfaction. This program was developed as a part of the University Dialog Program.


Sajay Arthanat

Sajay Arthanat is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of New Hampshire. He graduated with his Bachelors Degree in Occupational Therapy from India, and holds an Advanced Certificate in Assistive Technology and a Doctoral Degree in Rehabilitation Science from University at Buffalo. He has worked extensively with children and adults with physical disabilities both in India and the United States. His interest with the Discovery Program's Dialogue on Poverty and Opportunity stem from his experiences with people with disabilities who live in conditions of third world poverty. Dr.Arthanat’s research centers on technological interventions and environmental access for people with disabilities that enable them to engage in meaningful occupations.

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Elizabeth Crepeau

Elizabeth B. Crepeau, professor emerita of occupational therapy at the University of New Hampshire received her BS in occupational therapy and MA and PhD in sociology from the University of New Hampshire. Her scholarship has focused on the clinical reasoning in occupational therapy practice and the relation of everyday occupation to health and well-being. She was named a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association in 1984 and was inaugural chair of the England Professorship in Occupational Therapy from 2005 until her retirement in May 2008. In addition she has received numerous awards including the CHHS Teaching Excellence Award, the UNH Outstanding Associate Professor Award, and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation Meritorious Service Award.

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