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Objective: The purpose of 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: An in depth, semi-structured, 75-minute interview was conducted from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences through Zoom. The interview was transcribed verbatim and coded. The codes were grouped into categories, then themes arose. A final assertion was then made.

Results: The predominant categories that represent the major element of Dr. Costa’s success as a leader include her professional journey, personal/professional achievement, and occupational therapy (OT) education. The themes for the categories indicate that Dr. Costa has made a substantial impact in OT practice, has advocated strongly for the profession, and caring and serving her clients is of utmost importance.

Conclusion: Dr. Costa has been a dedicated leader and advocate for the continually changing profession of occupational therapy. Throughout her work, she has influenced many clients, coworkers, and other fellow therapists through her drive, passion, and love for the profession. She has maintained integrity and ethics by staying true to the core of occupational therapy.

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Occupational Therapists, Advocacy, interprofessional teams, Innovative.


Occupational Therapy

Evolution of Occupational Therapy Practice: Life History of Donna Costa