Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


In keeping with the call for greater justice and diversity within the occupational therapy profession, many educational programs are taking steps to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across their curriculum. In this paper, we will introduce the theoretical concepts underpinning the first assignment in a DEI curriculum thread in one entry-level occupational therapy doctoral (OTD) program, grounding it in critical pedagogy and exploring how it provides a first step to critical aptitude by providing space for an open-ended, reflexive dialogue about subjective experiences of internalized shame and marginalization. Students learn how to practice self awareness, understand shame culture, and recognize their own positionality within a greater culture of shame and oppression, particularly around healthcare. Evaluation of the innovation is presented, both from students and faculty, demonstrating the value in this assignment as a first step toward developing cultural humility.


catherine lockmiller, MLIS (she/her) is an Assistant Health Science Librarian for Cline Library at Northern Arizona University. She takes an active role in developing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and curriculum across her institution.

Amy Armstrong-Heimsoth, OTD, OTR/L is an Associate Clinical Professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy at Northern Arizona University. She additionally serves as academic mentor for the Institute for Translational Research Education for the University of South Florida. Dr. Armstrong-Heimsoth serves as the department coordinator for diversity, equity and inclusion curriculum threads.

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.