Diversity & Inclusion

 2020 has been an incredible year of change and awakening that is causing organizations, institutions, and individuals to examine their beliefs and systems. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is one of those organizations. In August 2020, AOTA released its “AOTA’s Guide to Acknowledging the Impact of Discrimination, Stigma, and Implicit Bias on Provision of Services”, which defines key terms and lists next steps which all occupational therapists and practices should take. The entire article can be found at the following link:  https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/Practice/Guide-Acknowledging-Impact-Discrimination-Stigma-Implicit-Bias.pdf

     It is imperative to highlight one of the terms defined in this thoughtful document: implicit bias. “Implicit biases do not require one’s active awareness. Hence, they are also known as unconscious biases because of the underlying thread of behavior and actions (Blair, et al., 2011). Practitioners can form inaccurate views about various clients and fellow practitioners because of implicit biases. The AOTA document states, “Such views affect the therapist-client relationship beyond that of cultural competence (for example, unconsciously creating barriers to treatment, like overlooking necessary treatment interventions or providing appropriate referrals)” (AOTA, 2020). 

     As therapists and professionals dedicated to high standards, we must examine our individual implicit biases to ensure we are providing high levels of care to all our clients, cultivating strong relationships with our peers, and ensuring occupational justice for all. Accessing and reading the AOTA article referenced above and taking The Implicit Association Test (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html) developed by Harvard University are excellent steps in the right direction.


American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). AOTA’s guide to acknowledging the impact of discrimination, stigma, and implicit bias on provision of services. Retrieved from: https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/Practice/Guide-Acknowledging-Impact-Discrimination-Stigma-Implicit-Bias.pdf

Blair, I., Steiner, J. & Havranek, E. (2011). Unconscious (implicit) bias and health disparities: Where do we go from here? The Permanente Journal: 15(2): 71-78.



Diversity and Inclusion Committee 

If you'd like to learn more about our initiatives or have questions, please contact the diversity and inclusion committee.