A Comparison of Diverse Cultural Experiences on Dpt Student Outcomes: A Look at Cultural Responsiveness


Cultural responsiveness is essential in the delivery of quality healthcare. Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs are charged to ensure that DPT graduates demonstrate cultural responsiveness, yet there is limited data to guide current best practices for achievement and assessment of this competency. Cultural immersion experiences offered in DPT programs fosters a skillset to prepare DPT students to provide healthcare that supports culturally diverse populations in order to maximize health outcomes and patient wellbeing. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of variety of cultural immersion experiences on student outcomes as they relate to achievement of cultural responsiveness. Secondarily, this study aims to complete a cost benefit analysis overlaying cultural experience location, associated time commitment, and student outcomes with added costs of DPT education.


This innovative cultural immersion model allows DPT students to select one of five experiences. Cultural immersion options included one international partner and 4 local partners. Nine DPT students participated in a faculty supervised international experience, twenty-three DPT students participated in a local experience and one DPT student participated in an independently arranged international experience. All students completed a mixed methods pre and post-cultural immersion questionnaire. Journaling was used to capture the nature of interactions, the perceived value and impact of these interactions on future practice, and time associated with all cultural immersion related activities.


Pre and post questionnaire data have been collected. Coded data has been analyzed for trends in student outcomes, the relationships of outcomes to financial considerations of differing experiences and how cost factored into student cultural immersion selection. Data has been stratified by cultural immersion group, level of cultural awareness, nature of interaction and time associated with each experience.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:

Perhaps ÔDiscovering a New World of OpportunitiesÕ means refining our understanding of the impact of a cultural immersion experience on the transformation of DPT students, whether the experience is in our backyard or a distant location. Following data analysis, a comparison of student ratings and perspectives will be stratified to compare and contrast outcomes of different experiences. DPT education comes with significant associated costs for students and it is our obligation as faculty to consider the value of cultural immersion experiences in relationship to the added burden of cost. Also, trends will be explored to evaluate how cultural immersion experience costs played a role if any on student selection of cultural immersion experience. Ultimately, I will summarize DPT student experience similarities and differences to inform others on how various types and doses of cultural immersion experiences impact perceived outcomes and at what financial cost so that faculty and students alike can make evidence informed decisions in curriculum design and participation within DPT education.

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  • Control #: 26741
  • Type: Poster Presentation - Research Type
  • Event/Year: ELC2020
  • Authors: Rebecca Ouellette-Morton
  • Keywords:

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