Sarah Schwartz, Ashley Ystaas

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The purpose of this study was to examine the life of Dr. Sarah Nielsen through the use of a life history approach. The focus of this life history approach was Sarah's involvement in the evolution of OT practice in North Dakota. She is an active and influential individual in the OT profession as she has served various positions in the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and North Dakota Occupational Therapy Association (NDOTA), as well as a variety of committees at the University of North Dakota (UND). Sarah is currently an associate professor in the Department of OT at the UND. She practiced for ten years at Trinity Child Adolescent Partial Hospitalization at Trinity Health in Minot, North Dakota prior to becoming a professor. The researchers are personally acquainted with Sarah as she is one of their professors in the OT program at UND.

This life history is one of 29 life history interviews which are a part of a larger project, Life Histories of Individuals Who Have Been Influential in Developing Occupational Therapy in North Dakota and Wyoming. The purpose of the project is to gather information about the history and evolution of OT practice in North Dakota and Wyoming through life histories of individuals who have been influential in developing OT in these two states. It is anticipated that the life history process will be a powerful way to gather this information. This study is intended to provide current and future generations of occupational therapists a view of the history and how OT practice has evolved from its inception to current practice in North Dakota and Wyoming.

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