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College of Health Professions E-Newsletter

Alumni Profile: Dr. John White | Class of 1978

Hello, fellow alumni and friends of MUSC OT, I’m John White, PhD, OTR/L.  I was one of the first 9 graduates of the OT program at MUSC in 1978, the only male in the class, and I’m grateful for the many lessons I learned from my faculty and classmates that continue to serve me well (hey, it’s time for our 35th reunion!!). I particularly remember a class taught by Dr. Donna Toole on the beach!  I’ve worked primarily in rehabilitation but now work more in psychosocial settings such as criminal justice.  I also had the transformational opportunity to work as the first OT in a Malaysian teaching hospital alongside my wife, Bonnie Wyckoff, a PT graduate from the MUSC Class of 1978.  Working as the sole OT there convinced me to return to OT graduate school.  Dr. Maralynne Mitcham wisely guided me to the program that eventually resulted in an MA in OT (92) and a PhD in Occupational Science (99) from the University of Southern California. In 1993, I took a course on teaching from Maralynne and she has continued to mentor me into my roles as professor, researcher and academic administrator. I am currently the program director at Pacific University in Oregon where I’ve witnessed the dramatic OT transition from bachelors to masters education and now the growth of OT doctorate programs. I am chair of the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA committed to occupational science research. One of my teaching passions is helping students and practitioners learn the value of an occupational justice approach to practice.  Occupational justice is a form of social justice that attempts to rectify occupational deprivation caused by social, political or economic constraints on peoples’ choices for healthful and satisfying life activities and is applied to individuals or populations.  To balance my own occupational needs, I love to explore nature with Bonnie and our adult children John, Brian and Liza. Whether hiking, biking, swimming or paddling, and when possible, I’ll even bring along a guitar and hackysack.


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