Janet Njelesani


Dr. Njelesani is an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at New York University, US. She leads NYU’s Disability-based Violence Prevention Lab and is co-Director of NYU Steinhardt's Arts & Humanities Collective.

Dr. Njelesan’s scholarship, teaching, mentorship, and service focus on understanding and increasing inclusion and equity for persons with disabilities. Her current program of research is centered on two interrelated lines of inquiry: (1) foregrounding the experiences of disability-based violence against persons with disabilities living in sub-Saharan Africa and how communities are responding and (2) understanding how the field of occupational therapy can address disability-based violence. The two lines of inquiry are complemented by the methodological work she carries out that develops critical and culturally attuned approaches to qualitative research. Her long-term goal is to generate high-quality, theoretically-informed research that is highly pertinent and well-positioned to inform future global health and education mandates so that violence is less of a barrier to inclusion for children with disabilities and disability-based violence is decreased in communities.

To her research, Dr. Njelesani brings a breadth of both clinical and consulting expertise, having worked as a clinician for over 15 years and through her role providing disability and rehabilitation technical advice to Governments, UN agencies (e.g., UNICEF, UNDP, WHO), international organizations (e.g., Humanity Inclusion, CBM), and research centers globally. She has carried out her work in North America, South East Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, West Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa, collaborating with researchers from each of these regions.

Dr. Njelesani received her Ph.D. in rehabilitation sciences and global health from the University of Toronto, Canada. She was awarded a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, the first occupational therapy scholar to ever receive this prestigious award, and she was the first researcher at NYU to receive an AOTF research award. She currently serves as the Associate Editor of OTJR: Occupational Therapy Journal of Research’s Occupational Science Section.