Purpose: The United States is a melting pot of diverse ethnicities and cultures. Graduate-level teaching methods must prepare students to work with diverse populations and in various contexts. The outcome of instruction should be technically competent and culturally humble health care providers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of collaborative interprofessional instruction on cultural competency levels of Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (DPT) and Master of Science Occupational Therapy Program (MSOT) students. Methods: This was a pre-posttest quasi experimental study. A total 58 students from the DPT (28) and MSOT (30) programs participated and provided demographic information for this study. Cultural competency levels of the students were determined at the beginning of their first year and prior to graduation. The paper version of the Inventory for Assessing the Process of Cultural Competence Among Healthcare Professionals - Revised (IAPCC-R) was used to assess cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skill, cultural encounters, and cultural desire. Instructional methods included: webinars, implicit bias assessments, self-reflection, class interactions, and an interprofessional student panel discussion. Paired t and Multiple mixed-design ANOVA tests were used to compare the pre-instruction and post-instruction cultural competency scores and to compare key demographic characteristics. Results: Post-instruction cultural awareness, knowledge, skill, and total scores of the IAPCC-R were statistically significantly higher than pre-instruction scores (p0.05). Between group comparisons revealed that female and male students showed similar improvements on total and all subscales of the survey (p>0.05). Caucasian students showed greater improvements on cultural skills and encounters subscales than minority students (p0.05). Conclusion: Collaborative interprofessional cultural competency focused instruction is effective in improving cultural competency levels of healthcare DPT and MSOT students. Healthcare professional programs should consider the benefits of interprofessional education in areas such as cultural competency/humility. The efficacy of the instruction on a topic such as cultural awareness/humility/competence should have quantifiable and qualitative outcome measures to determine the benefits of the instruction, monitor students' progress, and provide a rationale for content inclusion in curricula.


Author Bio(s)

Ayse Ozcan Edeer, PT, MSc, PhD, is a full-time associate professor at the Dominican College Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in Orangeburg, NY. She is also a licensed physical therapist in the state of New York. Her primary research interests involve preventing falls in geriatrics, therapeutic exercise, and physical therapy education.

Nadia Rust, OTD, OTRL, is a full-time assistant professor at Dominican College Master of Science Occupational Therapy Program in Orangeburg, NY. She is also licensed occupational therapist in the state of New York. Her clinical experience has spanned both medical based and community settings across the lifespan.




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