Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Anne Haskins


Emigration and Immigration; Refugees; Culturally Competent Care; ReferenceTool


Over the years, the U.S. has been a resettlement destination for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. This process can be disrupting to the natural functioning of the re-settling individuals and may require healthcare to enable individuals to cope with lifestyle problems, develop new meaningful roles, and minimize future occupational deprivation with reviewing current health needs (Caplan, Paris, Whittemore, Desai, Dixon & Alvidrez, 2011; Yau, 1997). There are reports of high levels of the lack of confidence across multiple healthcare disciplines in providing culturally competent and inclusive care to individuals with diverse experiences and cultures (Abrishami, 2018). As occupational practitioners aim to improve clients’ overall health and well-being by incorporating the clients’ values, beliefs, and spirituality in the intervention plan, this makes occupational practitioners uniquely able to address these barriers and create intervention plans that are meaningful and motivating for various individuals (AOTA, 2014).

As literature was reviewed, three categories emerged in reference to successful reintegration and settlement for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers: spirituality/religion, acclamation, and personal values. In analyzing the main reasons immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers face barriers in accessing medical treatment, the three categories that were established were lack of knowledge of available service, lack of understanding of the United States healthcare system, and limited access capabilities (Nazzal, Forghany, Geevarughese, Mahmoodi & Wong, 2014; Sin & Hirsch, 2013). Concepts from the Ecology of Human Performance (EHP) (Dunn, 2017), the KAWA model (Turpin & Iwama, 2011), and the constructivism and humanistic learning theories (Bastable, Gramet, Jacobs & Sopczyk, 2020) were used to guide development of the product.

The final product is a quick reference tool that is intended to be used by occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and any other certified healthcare professionals to gain an understanding of what is important to clients. We believe the application of the Cultural Assessment Quick Reference Tool into the treatment process will improve client outcomes and create an inclusive atmosphere of acceptance and understanding within overall healthcare services.