Moving Forward Together: Reflections of a National Survey of OT/OTA Students’ Perceptions of Culturally Aware Educational Content Delivery
Document Type (Journals)
In June of 2020 in response to the murder of George Floyd and the additional atrocities against historically marginalized people and communities across the United States, the Commission on Education (COE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) sought to act within its scope. A retrospective survey (N= 1,692) was developed, deployed, and analyzed in accordance with the COE’s standard operating procedures relating specifically to monitoring trends that impact the education of occupational therapy (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA) students. This survey aimed to capture perspectives from OT/OTA students regarding the delivery of culturally aware educational content in curricula provided by faculty. Results indicated that faculty are attempting to deliver aspects of culturally aware content with a limited number of delivery methods. Furthermore, findings suggested the need for rigorous and comprehensive improvements to content delivery related to diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), social determinants of health (SDOH), and intersectionality across the classroom and clinical settings. Implementation of basic instruction, such as lectures/readings, and higher-level processing and application-based materials (i.e., case studies, discussions, role-playing, and simulations) need to be included throughout the entire OT/OTA curriculum experience and are critical to comprehensively educate and equip students for contemporary and culturally informed practice. Faculty would benefit from the development of instructional best practice strategies that expand beyond the delivery of knowledge acquisition. This study aims to lay the groundwork to advance and inform the skills of faculty, fieldwork, and capstone coordinators to deliver culturally aware curricula.
*Please Note: Adair M. Sanchez and Iris W. Burns are first co-authors.
Adair M. Sánchez, OTD, OTR/L, (ella/she/her), is a graduate of the Thomas Jefferson University occupational therapy doctorate program in Philadelphia, PA. Her doctoral capstone focused on advocacy and program development in a community-based setting working with individuals with a history of insecure housing from historically marginalized populations.
Iris Wood Burns, MPH, OTD, OTR/L, (she/her), is a recent graduate of Thomas Jefferson University occupational therapy doctorate program. Her background in public health and her doctoral capstone experience in a community-based setting, fuels her interest in improving health outcomes of individuals from historically marginalized groups. She is passionate about improving cultural humility in OT.
Tina DeAngelis, EdD, MS, OTR/L, (she/her), is the Director of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program at Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences in Philadelphia, PA. She is committed to the provision of OT services in community-based mental/behavioral health settings and sharing this passion with her students. At the time of this publication, she was the chair of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Commission on Education (COE).
Maclain Capron, BA, (he/him), is a Research Coordinator working within Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences. He assists faculty and students to compose and submit IRB applications. He also conducts statistical analysis and interpretation of research data on behalf of Jefferson research staff.
Abigail Mills, MS, OTR/L, is a recent graduate of the Thomas Jefferson University Master of Science in occupational therapy program in Philadelphia, PA. She is an advocate for cultural humility in health care practice and is passionate about the pursuit of occupational justice for all.
Taylor Kligerman, MS, OTR/L, is a recent graduate of Thomas Jefferson University Master of Science in occupational therapy program in Philadelphia, PA. Her interests include increasing inclusion, improving access, and improving well-being for people with disabilities and marginalized groups.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Sanchez, A. M., Burns, I. W., DeAngelis, T. M., Capron, M., Mills, A., & Kligerman, T. (2023). Moving Forward Together: Reflections of a National Survey of OT/OTA Students’ Perceptions of Culturally Aware Educational Content Delivery. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 7 (1). Retrieved from https://encompass.eku.edu/jote/vol7/iss1/2
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