School of Occupational Therapy
George Tomlin’s background in occupational therapy includes pediatric mental health, adult physical rehabilitation, work rehabilitation programs, and office ergonomics. His research focuses on the theoretical underpinnings of knowledge as used in professional practice, and the translation of new knowledge as it relates to decision-making by practitioners. His earlier work focused on clinical outcomes and the statistical properties of clinical measures. Tomlin is the co-author, along with Bernhard Borgetto, et al., of the Research Pyramid Model of Evidence, published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (2011). In 2012 Tomlin presented the lecture “Evidence, Knowledge, and Decision-Making in Occupational Therapy,” which questioned society’s push for 100 percent evidence-based health care, and pointed to concerns that health insurers may deny payment to practitioners who cannot show scientific evidence that their interventions are effective. In a book chapter Tomlin also questioned the division of professional reasoning into “scientific approaches,” applied to treatment technique, and “non-scientific approaches,” applied to interacting with people. His recent work concerns the creation of a comprehensive model of decision-making in healthcare practice incorporating all elements that justify decisions therapists make: the Six Warrants Model, based on the work of Dr. Mark Tonelli at University of Washington Medical School. Tomlin teaches fundamentals of occupational therapy, biomechanics (the science of human movement), clinical measurement, research design, statistics, and qualitative analysis, and supervises student-practitioner collaborations around evidence.
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972; M.A., Boston University, 1977; M.S., Occupational Therapy, University of Puget Sound, 1982; Ph.D., University of Washington, 1996