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Research Priorities to Advance Full Participation in Meaningful Life Activities

These research priorities emerged from a year-long process which included a comprehensive environment scan of: 1) the strategic plans of federal agencies and major foundations; 2) a survey from OT stakeholders including researchers and clinicians; and 3) focus groups with OT researchers. Data from the environmental scan was reviewed by the AOTF Scientific Advisory Council and AOTF Board. Input was also obtained from other AOTF's key stakeholder groups prior to the development and/or revisions of the final priorities. Future AOTF research initiatives will address these priorities to support our vision of having a vibrant science that builds knowledge to support effective, evidence-based occupational therapy. 

Health Promotion, Prevention and Management of Chronic Conditions

Health Promotion, Prevention and Management of Chronic Conditions

The prevention and management of chronic conditions is a national priority for improved quality of life and population health. Programs and interventions that support positive health behaviors are needed to improve outcomes for diverse groups of people across a range of chronic conditions.

Mental Health and Well-Being

Mental Health and Well-Being

Mental health is about the way thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence daily life, and is critical for well-being. Research is needed to understand protective factors supporting resilience and to assess participation-based approaches that support mental, behavioral, and emotional health (e.g. mindfulness and trauma-informed care).

Technology and Environmental Supports in the Home and Community

Technology and Environmental Supports in the Home and Community

Technology and environmental supports are ubiquitous across all areas of society. Technology use is a means to enhance occupational therapy interventions as well as a significant form of occupational engagement and social participation. Technology and environmental supports are a priority area across the lifespan in home, clinical, and community settings.

Development and Transitions for Individuals and Families

Development and Transitions for Individuals and Families

Across the life course, people experience a wide range of planned and unanticipated transitions. There is a critical need for interventions to support people, families, and communities as they experience these transitions. Example transitions may include disability onset/identification/diagnosis, starting and ending educational and training programs, transitions across systems of care, retirement, aging in place, and end of life.

Equitable Access and Use of Health and Community Services

Equitable Access and Use of Health and Community Services

Access to quality and affordable health services is shaped by social determinants of health and organizational structures and processes, financing systems, and behaviors that shape the development of disparities in service coverage, timeliness, and utilization.

Family and Caregiver Supports, Resiliency, and Well-Being

Family and Caregiver Supports, Resiliency, and Well-Being

Families and caregivers are critical influences on the development and health of the people they engage with and support across the life course. Effectively supporting families and caregivers is critical to promoting participation of the people they support. Research is needed to better understand effective methods of supporting family and caregiver capacity, resiliency, and well-being

Novel Practice Areas and Approaches to Service Delivery

Novel Practice Areas and Approaches to Service Delivery

Occupational therapy has an important and expanding role in non-traditional settings and emerging practice areas outside of the healthcare system. This has impacted types of service delivery models and expanded a focus on community-based practice and outcomes. Additionally, OT’s role in traditional medical care has evolved into new settings and functions. In response, there is a need to determine the effectiveness of both models of service delivery and the interventions.