Founders of Occupational Therapy: Susan Johnson

Published - April 27, 2017

In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month, CBD College is spotlighting the founders of this integral field.  CBD College looks forward to spreading OT awareness this month and every month.

Susan JohnsonSusan Johnson

Born: 1876

Died: 1932

Hometown: unknown

Susan Johnson was a founding member of the National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy.  She was an educational Occupational Therapist.  Susan trained as a teacher and began her career by teaching high school arts and crafts in Berkley, California.  She then traveled to the Philippines for a brief stint of teaching crafts. She later returned to the U.S. in 1912 and secured a job as the Director of the Occupations Committee for the Department of Public Charities of New York State.

Susan soon went on to teach occupational therapy in the nursing department at Columbia and organize and direct an occupational therapy department at Montefiore Home and Hospital.  Johnson was a strong advocate for using crafts in Occupational Therapy to redirect thoughts, strengthen bodies, and regain self-confidence.  Johnson also wrote multiple articles about occupational therapy for Modern Hospital.  She served as NSPOT’s Chair of Admissions and Positions for 4 years, but she left in 1923 over a dispute regarding her report for educating students.


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