The Program in Occupational Therapy believes that the definition of health and well-being cannot be defined only in a medical context. Health is viewed as the ability to engage in occupation (Baum & Law, 1998; Wilcock, 2006). A system of care must include community partners so that each and every individual can engage in meaningful occupations in their environment. Our faculty, clinicians and students understand this vital component of occupational therapy, and seek out opportunities to impact people’s lives through community research, engagement and collaboration.
Community engagement is a critical part of our Program’s research, curriculum, collaborations and student activities as we strive to promote healthy communities by enhancing population health. We work with more than 100 community organizations in the St. Louis region alone each year and provide more than 105,000 hours of service through fieldwork, engaged research and community outreach projects.
By its very nature, occupational therapy lends itself to outreach with community partners to develop sustainable programs designed to meet the needs of all members of a community. In our current environment, the needs of our community are varied and many. For us, an opportunity exists to work closely with community partners in order to develop innovative programs to promote building stronger, more resilient communities.