Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Debra Hanson


Minority Groups; Occupational Therapy--education


There is limited representation of minority groups in the OT workforce and a dearth of research on factors influencing minority groups to pursue and successfully complete OT education. The CINAHL and PUBMED databases were used to explore factors influencing minority population enrollment, experiences in health care programs, and barriers to educational participation. A survey was constructed based on the literature and sent to students in OT programs at the doctorate, master and assistant levels through the AOTA Program Director list-serv. One hundred and thirteen masters (93%) and doctorate (7%) OT students completed the survey. The majority of participants heard about OT through family and friends (44%). Respondents rated the location (4.37 out of 5) and the reputation of an academic program (4.21 out of 5) as factors most influencing their program choice. Only a small minority experienced discrimination in the OT program and most felt a sense of belonging (rating of 4.5 out of 5). Respondents rated excessive time demands (4.06 out of 5) and learning demands of the program (3.5 out of 5) as top factors contributing to stress while study skills support (4.2 out of 5), discrimination protection, (4.15 out of 5) and supportive family events (4.11 out of 5) were rated as most important to program success. Further study is needed to explore effective recruitment strategies for minority populations, and the mechanisms utilized within OT programs to create a positive learning environment. Time and learning demands should be carefully considered in regard to their value to the learning experience. Strategies for family and study support merit further exploration.