Taff, Steve, PhD, OTR/L, FNAP, FAOTA

Clinical Interests

School-based pediatrics, visual perception, and the impact of sociopolitical environments on occupational engagement

Research Interests

Dr. Taff’s research interests include graduate student and faculty mental health and flourishing, developing and evaluating inclusive learning climates, impact of philosophy of teaching statements on student learning, critical thinking, use of theory and philosophy in occupational therapy education, critical learning theory, and continuous improvement practices in higher education.

Teaching Roles

In the MSOT program, Dr. Taff teaches Applied Learning Strategies in Practice and Teaching. In the OTD program, he teaches OT Practice Model I and II and the Doctoral Seminar in Education Strategies. In the PhD program, Dr. Taff guides the Teaching Practicum.


2005: PhD in education and educational psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis
1997: MS in occupational therapy, Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Occupational Therapy
1989: BS in microbiology, Missouri State University


Dr. Taff earned his bachelor's degree in microbiology in 1989 from Missouri State University, his master's degree in occupational therapy in 1997 from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and his doctoral degree in education and educational psychology in 2005 from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. After graduating from the Program in 1997, Dr. Taff worked as a pediatric occupational therapist at Special School District (SSD) in St. Louis County before accepting a management position as the director for the occupational therapy, physical therapy and adaptive physical education department at SSD, where he served for nearly seven years. Dr. Taff has also served as adjunct professor in St. Louis University’s School for Professional Studies, teaching courses in special education, human growth and development, classroom management, and teaching methods. Dr. Taff has continued interests in curriculum development (formal, informal, and hidden); program evaluation and continuous improvement models; educational research and the scholarship of teaching and learning; critical learning theories; and the historical, philosophical, and sociocultural aspects of education and occupational therapy. He also is heavily involved in School of Medicine diversity, equity and inclusion, inter-professional education, and leadership initiatives.

Selected Publications

Hooper, B., Krishnagiri, S., Price, P., Taff, S. D., & Bilics, A. (2020). Assignment Artifacts and What They Reveal About How Occupation Is Addressed in US Occupational Therapy Curricula. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(4), 7404205090p1-7404205090p11. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.036012.

Bakhshi, P., Taff, S.D., Trani, J-F., & Kaplan, I. (8 June 2020) Inclusion in education: A very useful crisis. UNESCO Futures of Education Ideas LAB. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation/ideas-lab/inclusion-education-very-useful-crisis

Kyler, D. & Taff, S.D. (2020). Sociological consciousness: A concept analysis and implications for occupational therapy. Cadernos Brasileiros de Terapia Ocupacional, Ahead of Print. https://doi.org/10.4322/2526-8910.ctoAO2054

Berg, C., Philipp, R., & Taff, S.D. (2019). Critical thinking and transformational learning: Using case studies as narrative frameworks for threshold concepts. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 3(3), 1-14. https://encompass.eku.edu/jote/vol3/iss3/13.

Brottman, M., Char, D., Hattori, R., Heeb, R., & Taff, S.D. (2019). Toward cultural competency in health care: A scoping literature review of diversity and inclusion education literature. Academic Medicine. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002995.

Babulal, G.M., Selvaratnam, A., & Taff, S.D. (2018). Existentialism and occupational therapy: Implications for practice, research, and education. Occupational Therapy in Healthcare, 1-19.

Taff, S.D., Hooper, B., Krishnagiri, S., Bilics, A., & Price, P. (2018). Traversing hills and valleys: Exploring doing, being, becoming, and belonging, experiences in teaching and studying occupation. Journal of Occupational Science. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2018.1488606

Hooper, B., Gupta, J., Bilics, A., & Taff, S.D. (2018). Balancing efficacy and effectiveness with philosophy, history and theory-building in occupational therapy education research. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 6 (1), 1-9.

Krishnagiri, S., Hooper, B., Price, P., Taff, S.D., & Bilics, A. (2017). Explicit or hidden? Exploring how occupation is taught in U.S. occupational therapy curricula. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71 (2), 7102230020p1-7102230020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.024174

Taff, S.D., & Blash, D. (2017). Diversity and inclusion in occupational therapy: Where we are, where we must go. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 31 (1), 72-83.

Hooper, B., Mitcham, M.D., Taff, S.D., M. Krishnagiri, S., Price, P., & Bilics, A. (2015). Energizing occupation as the center of teaching and learning. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69 (Suppl. 2), 6912360010. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.018242

Taff, S.D., Babulal, G.M., & Bakhshi, P. (2014). The accountability-wellbeing-ethics framework: A new philosophical foundation for occupational therapy. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81, 320-329. doi: 10.1177/0008417414546742

Book Chapters and Other

Taff, S.D., Grajo, L.C., & Hooper, B.R. (Eds.). (2020). Perspectives on occupational therapy education: Past, present, and future. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.

Taff, S.D. (Ed.). (In press). Philosophy and occupational therapy: Informing education, practice, and research. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.

Taff, S.D. & Danforth, S. (2016). John Dewey and philosophy of disability. In M.A. Peters (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Springer.

Clough, C., Gronski, M.P., & Taff, S.D. (2019). Best practices in preparing students to practice occupational therapy in schools. In G.F. Clark, J. Rioux, & B. Chandler (Eds.). Best practices for occupational therapy in schools (2nd. Ed.). Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.

Taff, S.D., Grajo, L.C., & Hooper, B.R. (2020). Occupational therapy education: Weaving together the past, present, and future. In S.D. Taff, L.C. Grajo, & B.R. Hooper (Eds.). Perspectives on occupational therapy education: Past, present, and future. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.

Taff, S.D. (2020). Educational philosophies influencing the development of early occupational therapy curricula. In S.D. Taff, L.C. Grajo, & B.R. Hooper (Eds.). Perspectives on occupational therapy education: Past, present, and future. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.

Harvison, N., Taff, S.D., Grajo, L.C., & Hooper, B.R. (2020). Imagining the occupational therapy educational landscape in 2050. In S.D. Taff, L.C. Grajo, & B.R. Hooper (Eds.). Perspectives on occupational therapy education: Past, present, and future. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.


2019: Inaugural Fellow, Academy of Educators, Washington University School of Medicine
2017: Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award, Emerson Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri
2016: Roster of Fellows Award, Advancing education, promoting diversity, and supporting collaboration, American Occupational Therapy Association
2008: Excellence in Teaching Award, St. Louis University, School for Professional Studies

Taff, Steve

Taff, Steve, PhD, OTR/L, FNAP, FAOTA

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Medicine
Director, Teaching Scholars Program,
Washington University School of Medicine

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Phone: (314) 286-0043
Fax: (314) 286-1601


Innovations in Education



Ranked as the Number Three OT Program in the Nation

Close Get Started Panel

Get Started

We welcome inquiries from prospective students, potential collaborators, community partners, alumni and others who want to connect with us. Please complete the form below to begin the conversation.

Close Schedule a Visit Panel

Schedule a Virtual Visit

Current, future and accepted applicants are encouraged to virtual visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our virtual visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion,  followed by a chat with a current student.

Upcoming VIRTUAL visit sessions*:

*At least two to three visit sessions are scheduled every month. All times are Central Standard Time (CST). Click here for more info.

Schedule a Visit Directions


Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610
or Robin Hattori at (314) 286-1653