My understanding of social justice has broadened while attending the occupational therapy program at Touro University Nevada. Touro University Nevada has provided me with many different opportunities to go into the community through different class assignments. For example, I had the opportunity to interview a victim of sex trafficking. This interview really changed my perspective and helped me to become more sensitive to others. My experiences at Touro helped me to recognize the importance of equality and justice for all people, not just those I agree with or find easily understandable. I am more intentionally proactive in my community, and look for opportunities to help the marginalized or oppressed. I have learned to be more open-minded, listen to others, and go out of my comfort zone to help others. I have learned that I don’t know everything about the marginalized or the oppressed; I have become more willing to listen and understand them. The growth and understanding I have acquired will help me as a practitioner to be kind, understanding and willing to go the extra mile to make sure my clients’ concerns are heard. It’s important to make sure each and every client is free from occupational deprivation, occupational marginalization, occupational isolation, occupational imbalance.
Through the opportunities at Touro, I have learned how to be a self-starter and gained the resources to pave my own path when seeking information. Information is powerful, and so is knowing how to find it. I have learned where to find the knowledge I need to be an effective therapist. For example, I know that evidence-based practice is important in finding effective interventions and providing clients with the knowledge to make informed decisions; I can find this information in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT), or OT Practice Magazine, among other resources; I can join my state association and use it to connect with informational groups (e.g., a pediatrics interest group) that will help me learn from the clinical experience of others. Knowledge is powerful: the more you know, the better you can equip clients to make informed decisions. I can provide the best care for my clients if I know how to evaluate and administer occupation-based assessments, and I keep abreast of changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), as well as new treatments, discoveries, and diagnoses.
It is important to remember that, as occupational therapists, we don’t just provide medical services—we are serving our patients and humanity at large by helping each patient to live the type of life they want. We accomplish this through individualized treatment, but also through public service, volunteer opportunities, and philanthropy. I grew up with the idea that my life was intended to be used to serve others; I have chosen occupational therapy as a tool to that end alone.