John White, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Professor Emeritus
Areas I Teach 

John loves to nurture people to achieve their best, whether students, peers, or his occupational therapy clients. He brings this passion and skill to his teaching and service for the community of learning found within the School of Occupational Therapy. John believes that the innovative work being done by faculty and students in the School has the potential to significantly change and improve the delivery of occupational therapy services. His beliefs are supported by OT and occupational science research that has demonstrated the profound healthful impact of an occupational therapy treatment approach to diverse groups of people.

People with chronic disability face many obstacles in participating in society or their chosen occupations, and John advocates, through his teaching, community work, and research, to remove those barriers and promote more satisfying opportunities for people with disabilities. John is one of the early pioneers in the study and research of occupational science, a burgeoning field designed to understand the complexities of human occupation, and to apply that knowledge to the practice of occupational therapy.  He was a founder of the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA and has been active in the organization’s leadership to develop occupational science to serve society and contribute to the development of occupational therapy (  ).  Dr. White believes that this emerging knowledge base also supports the development of occupational justice, or social justice through occupational therapy. Using this approach will enable occupational therapists to tackle significant problems facing society such as rapidly changing activity patterns, environmental degradation, and a growing aging population; and he brings this research into the curriculum. John has been involved in a project with School of OT faculty to collaborate with other researchers across the U.S. to improve the outcomes for people transitioning from jail or prison into community life. Early results from this OT work in corrections are very promising for a much larger role for occupational therapy in this area of social need.

Professor White returned to full time faculty status after a 2015-16 Sabbatical during which he began a follow-up study with participants who twenty years ago pioneered the use of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) litigation to fight disability-based employment discrimination.  This Participant Action Research study could provide useful information for policy-makers who are charged with implementing the civil rights provisions of the ADA and shed light on the long-term effects of self-advocacy through rights-based litigation.

A challenge outside of work that John enjoys is finding time to juggle his many interests, such as playing guitar, swimming, camping, woodworking, and practicing yoga. He and his wife Bonnie are part of an intentional co-housing community based on concepts of environmental sustainability, shared resources, and communal governance.  The semi-rural setting of the community will enable John to expand his gardening interests while still enjoying the benefits of living near the town center of Forest Grove, his hometown for over 25 years.


Spring, Hannah, Kunkel, Marita, Gilman, Isaac, Henderson, Nancy, & White, John. (2016). Teaching and learning in action. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 33, 249-254. doi: 10.1111/hir.12148

White, J. (2015).  Leadership as occupation: 18th Annual Occupational Science Seminar keynote lecture.  Japanese Journal of Occupational Science. Vol 9, 2015.

Munson, M. & White, J.A. (2015). The occupations of gender: Developing foundational knowledge in transgender health care. OT Practice, 20(17), 13-16.

White, J.A., Rogers, S., Hamilton, T., & Grass, C. (2012). Occupational therapy in criminal justice. In L. Cara & A. MacRae (Eds) Psychosocial occupational therapy: A clinical practice. (3rd ed.). Florence, KY:  Delmar Cengage.

White, J. A. (2009). Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Practice, 2nd Edition: A new version already!? OTAO Webletter (March). (non-peer reviewed)

Munoz, J., Farnworth, L. Hamilton, T., Prioletti, G., Rogers, S., & White, J. A. J. (2010). Crossing borders in correctional institutions. In F. Kronenberg, N. Pollard & D. Sakellariou (Eds.), Occupational therapies without borders (2nd ed.). London: Elsevier.

White, J. A. (2009). Questions for occupational therapy. In E. B. Crepeau, E. S. Cohn & B. B. Schell (Eds.), Willard and Spackman's Occupational Therapy (11th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

White, J. A. (1999). Occupation and adaptation: An ethnographic study of people with disabilities using the ADA to fight employment discrimination. Unpublished dissertation, University of Southern California.

White, J. A. (1996). Miles Davis: Occupations in the extreme. In R. Zemke & F. Clark (Eds.),Occupational science: The evolving discipline (pp. 259-273). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

White, J. A. (1996). Temporal adaptation in the intensive care unit. In R. Zemke & F. Clark (Eds.), Occupational science: The evolving discipline (pp. 363-371). Philadelphia: F. A. Davis.

Professional Presentations and Workshops

2016    University of Washington Departments of Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, Seattle, WA (Invited)

  • History of Occupational Science and the SSO:USA May 12 (1 hr)
  • Transgender Healthcare Practice Issues and Guidelines  May 13 (1 hr)

2015   Pacific University Alumni Reunion CE: Pacific OT & International Practice: The Converge project collaboration with York St. John University  Co-presented with Tiffany Boggis and Sandra Rogers, Hillsboro, OR Aug 14 (2.5 hrs)

Frank, Gelya & White, John. “More about what’s behind door #4: Occupational science and social movement research”  14th SSO:USA Annual Research Conference.  Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Oct 4. (1 hr)

2014: Invited Keynote speaker, Japanese Society for the Study of Occupation. Leadership as Occupation: Opportunities for Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Nov16, 2014

Invited guest lecturer in the following Japanese occupational therapy programs, a combination of the following presentations: 1) The Role of Occupational Science in Everyday Occupational Therapy Practice, 2) Occupational Therapy in Criminal Justice, and/or 3) Leadership in Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science, Nov 18-22,2014

  • Tokyo Metropolitan University 
  • Kanagawa University of Human Services, Yokosuka city
  • Teikyo University of Science and Technology
  • Seirei Christopher University
  • YIC Rehabilitation College

2013: Pacific University Alumni Reunion CE: Innovative Practice: A Promising Future for Occupational Therapy Co-presented with Natalie Schroeder, Hillsboro, Ore., Oct 12 (2.5 hrs)

Pacific University CHP Faculty Seminar: Understanding the Occupation in Occupational Therapy: An explanation and example of OT in criminal justice, Hillsboro, Oregon, May 8 (90 minutes)

AOTA Annual Conference & Expo-San Diego, CA, April 23, Enhancing Education Through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (3 hours) AOTA sponsored workshop (Co-presenter with Andrea Bilics & Anne Birge James)

York St. John University: Faculty Exchange: Invited speaker for the British Association of Occupational Therapists/College of Occupational Therapy Education Directors: Curricular Transition to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate in the U.S., London, UK, March 22

  • Graduate seminar on long-term care-Instructor Caroline Wolverson: Chronic Conditions Management in the US: The OT & PT role. March 20
  • First Year OT Seminar: Lifestyle Redesign: Occupational science evidence supporting occupational therapy. March 23

2012: Pacific University CHP Continuing Education Program: Occupational Therapy: Pain Management Through Lifestyle Interventions (Co-presented with Victoria Eaton), 3 hour workshop, Oct. 19

OTAO Annual Conference, 10/27/2012, Hood River, Oregon, Evidence and Occupation-based Intervention in Community Corrections Co-presented with Wesley Grout, MOT, Marrissa Gottlob, MOT, Brandon Johnson, MOT, & Sandra Rogers, Ph.D (2 hours)

Occupational Justice: Making a Difference for Our Clients (1 hour) Reoccupy Your Life: The usefulness of concepts of occupation on assessment, intervention, and policy in community corrections. Poster, Co-presented with Wesley Grout, MOT, Marrissa Gottlob, MOT, Brandon Johnson, MOT, & Sandra Rogers, Ph.D. at the SSO:USA Eleventh Annual Research, 10/5/2012, Portland, Ore. (1 hour)

Applying the Evidence: Evidence-based practice applied to case studies across the occupational therapy continuum. 9/29/2012, Pacific University Homecoming Reunion CE Workshop (1 hour of 2.5 hour program)

AOTA Annual Conference & Expo-Indianapolis, Indiana, April 13, AOTF Workshop on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (3 hours)

Psychosocial OT Practices in a Changing Healthcare Environment: OT in Criminal Justice Settings Co-presenter with Toby Hamilton, (Organizer: Liz Cara, Co-presenters: Elizabeth Carley, Bill Lambert, Robinette Amaker, & Renee Taylor) AOTA Pre-Conference Insititute (2 hours of 6 hour program)

Evidence and Occupation-based Intervention in Community Corrections Co-presented with Sandra Rogers with assistance by Brandon Johnson (90 min short course)

Pacific University Pain Management Curriculum. Presented by invitation to the Oregon Pain Commission 3/4/2012. (2 hours)

2011: Occupational Displacement and Community Corrections Offenders: The usefulness of concepts of occupation on assessment, intervention, and policy in community corrections. Co-presented with Sandra Rogers, Ph.D. at the SSO:USA Tenth Annual Research Conference, Park City, Utah.

Interprofessional Case Conference: RS 676.150 Mandatory Reporting of Healthcare Practitioners: Learning Each Others’ Ethics (Co-presenter)

The Sanderson Lecture: Occupational Justice: Making a Difference for Our Clients (University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, invited keynote speaker, April 5)

Tools for Practice: 4 hour workshop (University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, April 6)

AOTF: New Directions for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (AOTF/SoTL 3 hour workshop, Co-leader). AOTA Annual Conference & Expo-Philadelphia, Pa, April 13.

Interprofessional Case Conference: Evidence-Based Practice: Team Perspectives (Co-coordinator/presenter)

2010: AOTA Pre-conference Institute: AOTF Institute on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Co-leader)  AOTA Annual Conference and Expo, Orlando, Fla., April 28

Interprofessional Case Conference-Pacific University A Unique Model of Interprofessional Diabetes Care Hillsboro, Orgon.. (Coordinator/presenter)

AOTA/AOTF: Pre-conference Institute: New Directions for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (accepted) (Co-leader)

2009: AOTA/AOTF: Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Co-leader)

2008:  AOTA, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy in Corrections (Co-presenter)    

AOTA/AOTF Pre-Conference Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning-Year 2 (Co-leader for 2 days) April, Long Beach, Calif.

Pacific University Schools of OT & PT Alumni Reunion Continuing Education International Practice and Education  (Co-presenter), June

2007:  Rogers, S. L. & White, J. A. Physical Activity and Wellness: Relationship to Health. Inservice for staff at Washington County Community Corrections. Hillsboro, Ore..

AOTA/AOTF: Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Co-leader), St. Louis, Mo.

Society for the Study of Occupation:USA  Crossing Borders in Corrections Institutions: Evidence for Occupational Enrichment in Community (Co-presenter) October Albuquerque, N.M.

OTAO Annual Conference 1) Is Occupation-Based Practice Possible in the Intensive Care Unit?Yes!  2)  Putting the OT Practice Framework to Work in Practice  Portland, Oregon, October

Reframing Practice with Occupation- and Client-centered Approaches, Invited workshop,Providence Hospital, Medford, Oregon, September





Pacific University students from the College of Optometry, the School of Occupational Therapy and the School of Dental Hygiene provided care to clients of Project Homeless Connect in Hillsboro last week.