Virgil Tubbs teaching woodworking class (1963)

Martha Matthews remained the program director throughout the decade and the occupational therapy profession underwent significant changes in the 1960s. Because of the increasing emphasis on scientific research and knowledge, the profession’s purpose and character changed. Reflecting this evolution, rehabilitation techniques dealing with prosthetic training, splint construction, daily living activities, spinal cord injuries and progressive neurological disorders were added to the curriculum.

In 1963, a baccalaureate degree became necessary for entry-level into the profession. The Social Security Amendment Act of 1965 (P.L. 89-97) established Medicare and Medicaid and specifically mentioned occupational therapy under extended care services and home health. In 1968, the American Occupational Therapy Association Executive Board adopted an official definition of occupational therapy: “the art and science of directing man’s response to selected activity to promote and maintain health, to prevent disability, to evaluate behavior, and to treat or train patients with physical or psychosocial dysfunction.”