Thomas Fisher


Hailey Axtell, Ty Berg

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Purpose: The purpose of the study is to provide current and future generations of occupational therapists a view of the history and how occupational therapy practice has evolved from its inception to current practice through the life history stories of occupational therapists who have held leadership roles at the national level and beyond. It is anticipated that the life history process will be a powerful way to gather this information.

Methods: The life history of Dr. Thomas Fisher was a qualitative study using the life history approach. Purposive sampling was used by the project directors to obtain the participants for this project. Data was collected through participant interviews. The interview questions were prepared by the project directors in advance, and the researchers modified or added questions as needed for each individual interview. Interview questions were structured to incorporate the Kawa Model while addressing the participant’s experiences in OT practice.

Results: Data was analyzed through coding of transcribed interviews, and four categories emerged from this process. These were: occupational therapy politics, professional journey, occupational therapy practice, and occupational therapy association. Patterns emerged through each category.

Conclusion: A final assertion summarizing the findings was made by the researchers: Dr. Fisher has used his leadership positions in practice settings, state associations, and at the national association to advocate for the profession; he has been a key participant in legislative efforts for the initial OT licensure in several states to protect the domain of occupational therapy practice. Dr. Fisher stressed the importance of being a member of the AOTA and state associations to help with the advocacy for OT practice and ultimately protecting the domain of OT.

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