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Objective: The purpose of the life history of Dr. Shirley Wells is to gain an insight about her life experiences and leadership throughout her years of work in the profession of occupational therapy.

Method: An in-depth, semi-structured, hour and a half interview was conducted via the telecommunication app, Zoom. The interview was later transcribed verbatim and coded for the emergent categories and corresponding themes.

Results: The predominant categories representing the major elements of her life history were overcoming challenges, providing a seat at the table, and developing practice. The findings indicate that she made a significant impact for the profession through serving the needs of others and being an advocate for the profession.

Conclusion: As occupational therapy is continually changing, Dr. Shirley Wells has been dedicated to making a change and advocating for the profession. She has a strong passion for the integration of diversity, community-based practice, and the necessity for the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) to facilitate and propel occupational therapy to the next level.

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Life History, Diversity, Community-based Practice, advocacy


Occupational Therapy

The Evolution of Occupational Therapy: Life History of Shirley A. Wells, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA