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Wanda J. Mahoney, PhD, OTR/L
Anne F. Kiraly-Alvarez, OTD, OTR/L, SCSS


The authors of this Topics in Education article, who are both occupational therapy educators, reflect on challenging concepts related to decolonizing occupational therapy education, an idea they first encountered at the 2018 World Federation of Occupational Therapists Congress. They acknowledge that Western views heavily influence the occupational therapy concepts they teach to their students. The downside of approaching occupational therapy education and practice primarily from a Western worldview is that occupational therapy students and practitioners may perpetuate societal inequities through their practices and are not well-prepared to address the occupational needs of individuals and communities around the world. This article describes existing alternative views, including occupational consciousness, cultural humility, and ubuntu, and how these concepts can be applied to occupational therapy practice and education. Practical recommendations are made about reconsidering how occupational therapy concepts are taught in educational settings and applied in practice.


The authors report that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.