Population Health Content in Educational Programs in the Rehabilitation Disciplines


A series of surveys have recently explored the extent to which new physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are exposed to population health concepts, as represented by 23 domains of the Clinical Prevention and Population Health Curriculum (CPPH) Framework, during their education. Results show moderate levels of curriculum coverage for several of the CPPH domains and that program directors thought most of the domains should be included in preparation programs. Although these studies give insight into the current and desired levels of population health content of the individual rehabilitation disciplines, they do not provide for direct comparison across disciplines. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to make these comparisons through a secondary analysis of data from the PT, OT, and SLP curriculum surveys.


The studies were conducted in 2018 and 2019 using the online Qualtrics survey platform, with emailed invitations sent to directors of accredited OT, PT, and SLP programs in the United States. Sixty of 182 OT directors responded, 63 of 237 PT directors, and 35 of 253 SLP directors. A total of 158 responses are included in this comparison study, with an overall response rate of 24%.


Significant differences were identified for 8 of 23 current domains, 6 of 23 desired domains, and 1 of 23 gaps. For the post-hoc analysis, we identified 14 pairwise differences among disciplines for the current curriculum scores, 11 for the desired curriculum scores, and 1 for the gap scores. Of these 26 differences, 10 were between SLP and PT, and 12 were between SLP and OT, and only 4 were between PT and OT.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:

As expected, there are both similarities and differences in current and desired population health content in entry-level PT, OT, and SLP educational programs. The OT and PT results were more similar to each other than they were to the SLP results. Our findings suggest possible areas where this content could be addressed in interprofessional ways. This research is directly relevant to the conference subtheme of innovating physical therapy education to promote population health outcomes.

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  • Control #: 26771
  • Type: Platform Presentation - Research Type
  • Event/Year: ELC2020
  • Authors: Elizabeth Domholdt
  • Keywords:

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