Celebrating 100 years of the profession

TODAY – 15th March 2017,  is the centenary of the inaugural meeting of the National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy at Consolation House, Clifton Springs in up-state New York – the first occupational therapy professional organisation.

The five founding members from L to R were: Miss Susan Cox Johnson, an arts and crafts teacher; Dr. William Rush Dunton jr. a neuro-psychiatrist and Director of Occupation Therapy at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, Towson, Maryland, Mr George Barton, an architect who established Consolation House as a rehabilitation and voational training centre; Mr Thomas Kidner, an architect (originally from Bristol, England) fro Ottawa, Canada and Vocational Secretary for the Military Hospitals Commission of Canada and, the redoutable Mrs Eleanor Clarke Slagle principal of the Occupational Therapy training programme at the Henry B. Favill School of Occupations in Chicago.

In the centre is Miss Isobel Newton, Barton’s secretary and secretary to the inaugural meeting.

The society’s aims were to organise annual conferences to bring Occupational Therapists from all over the USA and Canada to share ideas and developments; to lead the development of occupational therapy as a profession; to formalise education programmes and to introduce scientific rigour into the profession – the beginnings of evidenced based practice and the subject of many of Dunton’s subsequent editorials!


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