Background: Participation in professional advocacy amongst occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) is necessary for strengthening the profession. Although advocacy remains essential for practice, specific activities of OTPs in professional advocacy remain inconsistent and unclear.

Purpose: To examine the activities occupational therapy practitioners are engaging in related to professional advocacy. To identify key strategies and future opportunities to strengthen OT practitioner participation in professional advocacy.

Methods: We systematically searched 4 databases and 1 search engine for relevant articles- MEDLINE via PubMed, The Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) Complete via Ebscohost, ERIC via Ebscohost, APA PsycInfo via OvidSP, and Google Scholar. A total of 1297 articles were retrieved and 69 underwent full-text review. The final review included 30 studies.

Findings: The key activities of OT practitioners engaging in professional advocacy included five themes: empowering communities, engaging in advocacy organizations, involvement in policy-making process, outcome reporting, and staying current in professional issues. Opportunities to expand further OT practitioner involvement in professional advocacy were categorized into three themes: leadership programming, creation of frameworks, and advocacy campaigns.

Conclusions and Relevance: Occupational therapy practitioners have a substantial role in strengthening the profession through professional advocacy; however, there are opportunities to expand the knowledge and skills of OTPs in their role in professional advocacy and resources to support participation. Literature regarding professional advocacy in OT remains poorly researched.

Keywords: occupational therapy, professional advocacy, advocacy, policy, political action

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.



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