Purpose: The intent of this study is to examine how Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) and Counseling and Human Development (CHD) graduate students who experienced Counselors and Occupational Therapists Professionally Engaged (COPE) in the Community program perceived their self-evaluation of cultural competence with humility (CCH) constructs (cultural awareness, skills, knowledge, and desire) from pre- to post-experience. Methods: Using a pre-/post-test cohort design, researchers used the Modified Cultural Competency Self-Assessment (M-CCSA) to determine if there were changes in ratings after students completed a novel training program. Results: Twenty-five students completed the pre-/post- survey. Overall, the mean M-CCSA total and subsection ratings on the post-COPE program were higher than the pre-COPE program with 14 of 25 (56%) students rating themselves higher on CCH variables after completing the COPE program. The mean difference (MD) score was statistically significant for the Cultural Skills subsection (MD = .19, t(24)= 2.69, p = .01, d =.36) with a small effect size. The Cultural Desire secondary analysis (MD = .20, t(24)= 1.75, p = .09, d =.57) approached statistical significance with a moderate effect size. The MD was not statistically significant for the M-CCSA total score (MD = .10, t(24)= 1.24, p = .23, d =.25), Cultural Awareness subsection (MD = .07, t(24)= .60, p = .56, d =.60), and Cultural Knowledge subsection (MD = .03, t(24)= .42, p = .68, d =.40). Conclusions: Students' overall M-CCSA increased after completing the COPE program. The results suggest that the COPE program may have positively influenced students' development of CCH (cultural awareness, knowledge, skills, and desire). This research adds to the existing body of evidence suggesting that interprofessional multicultural learning activities are beneficial to learning CCH.

Author Bio(s)

Michele L. Tilstra, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, CHT, Assistant Clinical Professor and the OT Program Chair at Walsh University. She is the co-program director for the Counselors and Occupational Therapists Professionally Engaged in the Community Program. Her research includes developing professional skills in students and integrating mental health support for graduate students.

Cara Berg-Carramusa, PT, MSPT, EdD, serves as the Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education at Youngstown State University. She is an education researcher, and her scholarly agenda embodies professional formation of doctor of physical therapy students grounded in humanities and the sciences of teaching and learning.

Tiffany J. Peets, PhD, LPCC-s, is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Mental Health Field Experience at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. She is the co-program director for the Counselors and Occupational Therapists Professionally Engaged in the Community Program. Her research focus includes the supervision of clinical counseling students.

Karen M. Keptner PhD, OTR/L (she/her) is an associate professor and doctoral capstone coordinator at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. She researches how systemic issues influence success from high school to career. She advocates for occupational therapy in addressing the mental health needs of emerging adults.


The Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provided funding for the COPE program through the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program for professionals through a four-year 1.9-million-dollar grant awarded to Walsh University. The funding covered 10% of the salary costs for Dr. Tilstra and Dr. Peets and the total salary for the grant coordinator. Special thanks to Ms. Rose Mogus for assistance with data organization and entry.




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