Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Anne M. Haskins


Cultural Competency -- education; Occupational Therapy -- education


"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop" -Mother Teresa

Increased diversity within the U.S. demands the education of occupational therapy clinicians who can deliver culturally responsive care. The number of immigrants to the U.S. is at an all-time high and the African-American and Hispanic populations are expected to double by mid-century (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). Occupational therapy students and entry-level clinicians have identified the need for more information, resources, and experience with people from different cultures (Murden et aI., 2008). Service learning and cultural immersion were identified as educational methods that may facilitate the development of cultural competence and lead to culturally sensitive care (Bonder, Martin & Miracle, 2002a; Iwama, 2009; O'Grady, 2000; Price et aI., 2005).

This scholarly project culminated in a guide, which is intended to provide occupational therapy students and clinicians with the framework necessary to develop and complete an international service learning experience for the promotion of cultural competence. Guided by the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E), the model of service learning, and adult learning theory, this guide addresses the emotional, intellectual, financial, physical, and social elements of service learning to achieve both learner and client goals. The guide is intended for use in planning an international service learning project in a developing country, but may be adapted for use in local or regional areas of the U.S.