Every year, the SSO:USA Annual Research Conference brings together leading researchers, scholars, therapists, and students to exchange ideas and share their work related to the study of participation in daily activities, or those activities that occupy our lives. We are excited to announce that the 2023 Annual Research Conference will take place October 19 - 21, 2023 at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. 

The pandemic is ongoing and public health guidance is evolving rapidly. SSO:USA will be monitoring events closely and will adjust our meeting plans as needed to ensure the safety of all attendees.


Conference Theme: Envisioning the Future of Occupational Science

Saint Louis has a rich history along the Mississippi River, with hundreds of miles of trails and views. Learn about the native Mound Builders or stop by the historic courthouse where Dred Scott’s freedom was recognized before being overturned by the Supreme Court a decade later. Visit the St. Louis Art Museum, the showcase of the 1904 World's Fair (with free admission), or just hang out in the Arts District with its extravagant architecture, music, stage, and nightlife scene. Famous for over 50 museums, the Gateway Arch to the West, ballparks, and breweries, there will be plenty to do with your downtime in St. Louis. Check out these ideas and more at https://explorestlouis.com/discover/

Special Session: Teaching of Occupational Science: October, 19, TBA But will not interfere with scheduling / ability to attend Pre-Conference Institute.

Pre-Conference Institute: TBA

Ruth Zemke Lectureship in Occupational Science: In recognition of Dr. Ruth Zemke's mentorship, questing intellect, and ongoing efforts to foster an occupational science community of researchers, this Lectureship was named in her honor. The lectureship is designed as a forum to present visionary, theoretical, and critical analyses of occupational science.

  • 2023 Ruth Zemke Lectureship in Occupational Science: Dr. Elelwani Ramugondo
    "Occupational Consciousness: Theorising to Dismantle Systemic Racism and Dehumanization"

Professor Ramugondo is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor for Transformation, Student Affairs & Social Responsiveness at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She has over 20 years of academic experience in a research-intensive university environment, having previously worked as a clinician in rural South Africa and the United States of America. She established the first OT Department at Tshilidzini Special School, in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

She was appointed special advisor on transformation to the Vice-Chancellor at UCT in 2015, following calls for decolonisation by the student-led Rhodes Must Fall movement. She served in this role with remarkable integrity during a turbulent time and an historical moment of change in the higher education sector in South Africa.

Professor Ramugondo is a founding member of the UCT Black Academic Caucus. She has also served as chair of various bodies within and outside the university, including UCT’s Academic Freedom Committee and the Rhodes Scholarship Western Cape and Northern Cape Selection Committee. In her role as Deputy Dean for Postgraduate Students in UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences, she served as a member of the executive for the South African College of Health Sciences Deans (SACOHSD). In this role, she played a strategic part in SACOHSD forging effective relationships with national professional bodies for health sciences disciplines/professions.

She has published numerous peer‐reviewed research articles and chapters in books, as well as book reviews. She is a long-standing member of the International Advisory Board for the Journal of Occupational Science. She co-edited a book titled Concepts in occupational therapy: Understanding Southern perspectives, as well as two special issue editions on decolonising the academy for Critical African Studies. She has supervised numerous student research projects to completion, including 13 master’s dissertations and seven PhD theses. She is frequently asked to present keynote addresses, both within and outside occupational therapy and occupational science.

Occupational Balance:  One of the unique features of SSO:USA conferences is the attention devoted to balance and the quality of participants’ experiences.  Researchers should leave an SSO:USA conference refreshed, stimulated, and energized to return to their work.  Shared meals, conference break blocks, and a range of balance activities encourage attendees to rejuvenate, network, and explore unique aspects of local culture.  

  1. Go to the City Museum
  2. Visit one of the many local wineries
  3. Eat amazing Italian food at "The Hill" in St. Louis
  4. Take a tour of Anheuser Busch and visit the Soulard Farmer's Market nearby
  5. Go to the Botanical Garden
  6. Go to a St. Louis Blues hockey game or the Cardinal's Hall of Fame
  7. See the Clydesdales at Grant's Farm
  8. Indulge at a St. Louis favorite, Ted Drewes
  9. Visit Forest Park
  10. Listen to Blues music

Annual, BYOT "Bring Your Own Talent" Circle Tradition: To be Announced (TBA)


The Call for Papers window of abstract submission is now closed. If you submitted an abstract(s), you will be receiving e-mail correspondence over the summer as to the status of acceptance.


Conference Registration is currently not open. Please check back in late Spring of 2023 for rates and registration options.


The conference will be held at: 

St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
1820 Market Street
St. Louis, Missouri, 63103

To book your hotel accommodations, please use this link.
You may also contact Hilton directly and use group code "SSO" during your reservation.


The Society holds an annual silent auction at conference to facilitate student scholarship in occupational science. Donated items collected prior to the annual conference support this activity. Consistent with the mission of the Society, proceeds from the Silent Auction foster the development of researchers by funding student research projects and presentations on the study of occupation. The auction began with the efforts by Dr. Phyllis Meltzer to obtain donations of hand crafted and artful objects for fund-raising in support of the work of SSO:USA. The auction has expanded to include a wide range of items and opportunities, whose auction proceeds support student research in the study of occupation.The society welcomes donations of artful handmade objects as well as other items such as gift certificates, books, jewelry, vouchers for trips or vacation stays, souvenirs of the conference location, etc.  


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