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Celebrating Black History Month

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation would like to acknowledge those contributing to the research and evidence of OT. While our field continues to strive for more diversity, equity and inclusion, those of the African American community have and continue to influence the profession specifically in the area of research. 

The following is not comprehensive, but highlights some of the work by our fellow African American OTs acknowledged during the OT Centennial. 

Black History MonthLela Llorens, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, played a vital role in establishing OT research as she chaired AOTA's Research Advisory Council in the mid-1980s. Dr. Lela Llorens guided AOTF grant funding for over 10 years and continues to contribute as a member of the Volunteer Development and Nomination Committee. She's received numerous honors in recognition of her accomplishments and leadership: the AOTA-AOTF Presidents Commendation in Honor of Wilma L. West, the A. Jean Ayres Award, the Meritous Service Award and the Certificate of Appreciation from AOTF among many others. Her efforts in the field are vast and were acknowledged during the AOTA Centennial. In tribute, the Lela Llorens Endowed Scholarship established in 2017 by AOTF, supports future minority leaders in the field of occupational therapy.


Jerry Bentley, MS, OTR, FAOTA, has been an advocate and activist for social justice for decades. She is a supporter of the Foundation and volunteer. Shirley Jackson-Jackson, PhD, OT/L, FAOTA, scholarly activity extends from 1986 as an academic and researcher. She has a focus on diversity and health disparities research.
Panelpha (Penny) L. Kyler, ScD, OT, FAOTA, has impacted our field by being the first occupational therapist in the area of translational genetics and OT's role in treatment and intervention.
Joyce Lane, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, influenced the profession's focus on social justice. Dr. Lane's research is in the area of policy decision making and on professional development.
Letha J. Mosley, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA (1957-2017), focused her research on health disparities. She implemented community-based participatory research establishing community programs for health and wellness.
Shirley A. Wells, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA, scholarship relates to culture and health. She is an advocate and driver for the use of gender neutral language in AOTA official documents. 
Retrieved (February 24, 2020) from 100 Influential People in Occupational Therapy's 100 Year
History
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