Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


International community-based rehabilitation service-learning projects in physical and occupational therapy education programs may impact underserved communities internationally. The intentional inclusion of learning in service activities has been identified as service-learning. Extending the impact and education beyond the service project is necessary in order to provide a sustainable outcome for the community. Faculty at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences partnered with Potter’s House Association International to develop an interprofessional program to address the rehabilitation needs and continuity of care following a one-week project serving the community members of the Guatemalan City Garbage Dump. The purpose of this article is to describe the program's development based on a five-phase conceptual model of international service-learning. The five phases included program development, design, implementation, evaluation, and enhancement. Data for program improvement was collected through program evaluation, staff interviews, and observations. Suggestions are offered to enhance the model and recommendations are made for further program development. Using a conceptual model as a framework for building a new program resulted in successful planning and reflection.


Dr. Mary Zadnik is the Program Director of Occupational Therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Austin, Texas. Her clinical experience is with traumatic injury and her research focus is in program development related to education, service learning, and injury prevention.

Dr. Suzanne Trotter is an Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy department at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She graduated from Texas Tech with an ScD in Physical Therapy and is certified through the International Academy of Orthopedic Medicine for manual therapy. She was awarded Fellowship status in 2006 through the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT). Her research interests include service learning.

Dr. Cindy Mathena is the Dean of Post Professional Studies at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She manages the oversight of online education, accreditation, CPE, and post-professional programs. She has an extensive pediatric background and is active in both state and national OT organizations.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.