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Objective: 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.

Method: A detailed, semi-structured interview was conducted at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The interview took approximately 120 minutes to complete, followed by a transcription and data analysis used to organize the information collected from the interview into 21 codes and further create eight emerging themes.

Results: Four themes were derived from the data analysis which represent key aspects of Dr. Skidmore’s life and career: her values which have guided her career decisions, her role in overarching systems which have allowed her to advocate for others, her willingness to seek opportunities, and the factors of success and challenge which have motivated her to continue to make an impact on others.

Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that Dr. Skidmore has had many experiences that have shaped her values, motivated her, and given her opportunities to become an advocate, mentor, and leader to others as an educator and a therapist.

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Document Type



Occupational Therapists, Influential, Advocate, Mentor, Research


Occupational Therapy

Evolution of Occupational Therapy Practice: Life History of Elizabeth Skidmore, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, FACRM