From the Associate Dean
For over 70 years, the University of Southern California has been dedicated to ensuring that people of every age and from all circumstances can live their lives to the fullest, no matter what. When I first entered the profession over three decades ago, I looked to USC because of its legacy of occupational therapy leadership throughout the 20th century. Today, I am honored to continue propelling this tradition of Trojan leadership forward into the 21st century.
Shaping the future of health care, by meeting today’s domestic and global health needs, will depend upon the creative, science-driven and humanistic health and wellness profession of occupational therapy. Utilizing scientific tools, evidence-based practices and reflective practitioner experiences, occupational therapists address, adapt and overcome the physical, psychological, emotional and sociocultural issues that prevent people from participating in their occupations, defined as the activities typically performed throughout a normal day. Since 1942, USC has been educating generations of occupational therapists who subsequently help others find their way to a better quality of life by maximizing their potential for doing life’s everyday activities.
Recognizing that a basic research science was necessary to fully understand and appreciate the uniquely complex nature of the phenomenon of human occupation, USC faculty founded the academic discipline of occupational science in the late 1980’s. In the few decades since, occupational science has spread throughout research communities and universities worldwide. What began purely as the intellectual curiosities of USC occupational therapy faculty has grown into a legitimate academic discipline influencing the ways in which many related research disciplines and clinical professions understand not only occupation, but its associated concepts of human health, quality of life and wellness. And today, our rigorous, interdisciplinary research programs, which have together attracted millions of dollars in federal research funding, continue yielding outcomes with relevant implications for real-world interventions.
USC established the first graduate programs in occupational therapy and occupational science, and is consistently rated amongst the top of the field. USC offers more programs, more degree combinations and more advanced clinical practice courses than any other institution. And in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the occupational therapy profession in 2017, we have recently redesigned our professional program curriculum to help realize the Centennial Vision of the American Occupational Therapy Association: that occupational therapy will become a “powerful, widely recognized, science-driven and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs.”
If you are a prospective student, I hope you will consider applying to our programs, which I believe continue to define this rewarding profession. By choosing USC, not only will you become part of a great academic tradition, but you will also become a lifelong member of the Trojan Family. If you would like to receive more information about any of our academic programs, please feel free to use our online Program Information Request form.
At our Division, occupational scientists and occupational therapists alike take intellectual risks and give back to local and global communities. We aim to fulfill both the original vision of occupational therapy’s founders and of today’s AOTA Centennial Vision: to create practitioners, leaders and scientists who will help people of all backgrounds and circumstances—especially those with disability, injury, unhealthy lifestyle or illness—to live life to the fullest.
Florence A. Clark PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Associate Dean, Professor and Chair
USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC