The American Association of Occupational Therapy (AOTA) is celebrating 100 years of occupational therapy as a discipline, and we are proud to share that many members of the NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy community have made the list of 100 Most Influential People. Included on the list are Steinhardt graduates Wimberly Edwards, MS, OTR, Paula Kramer, PhD, OT, FAOTA, Lorraine Pedretti, MS, OTR, and Professor Emeritus’ and former department chairs Anne Cronin Mosey, PhD, OT, FAOTA and Jim Hinojosa, PhD, OTR, FAOTA.
We spoke with Dr. Hinojosa, who recently retired from the Department in 2016, about his career, how it feels to be included on this list, and what he predicts for the future of the profession.
What do you consider to be the most significant accomplishment in your career?
I would say that my most significant accomplishment in the profession has been my scholarly work, including publications and research. I also have committed extensive service to the profession serving on the Executive Boards of the American Occupational Therapy Association Executive Board, American Occupational Therapy Foundation, and the New York State Occupational Therapy Association. I specifically served 13 years on the AOTA Commission on Practice, six years as chair.
What are you most proud of about being named one of 100 most influential OT’s?
I am most proud of being nominated by some of my peers whom I really respect. It is an incredible honor as the profession prepares to celebrate its centennial. I think I am most proud of what one nominator wrote about me being a “Prime mover in most of the major developments in the profession over his entire, long career. In this nomination, I would principally stress his scholarly contributions which have had a major influence on the dissemination and formation of occupational therapy knowledge. This is true within the USA for occupational therapy practitioners and academics; for many, many students, and, as well, internationally, in occupational therapy and other health professions. . . His work is followed by thinkers throughout the world.”
What are the most significant changes in the profession that you’ve witnessed over the past 20 years?
Over the past 20 years, Occupational Therapy has responded to changes in society and rapidly adopted new knowledge and technological advances. Most significant is the adoption of evidence-based practice to support the importance of addressing people with disabilities, and to address daily occupations in the natural environment. In pediatrics, occupational therapy has become standard practice addressing the unique needs of young children.
Where is the profession headed? What do you see as the next big change?
This is an interesting question. As I am not sure what the big change will be–but I can speculate that the next major change will be an advancement in dealing with people with psychosocial disabilities in the natural setting. While I’m sure it will continue to become more evidence-based and scientific, my hope is it will not lose its art of practice in the importance of client-centered care.