The Journal of Physical Therapy Education (JOPTE) is peer reviewed and published three times each year by theEducation Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. The Journal is indexed by Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature and in Physiotherapy Indexditor:
Jan Gwyer, PT, PhD
Laurita M. Hack, PT, DPT, MBA, PhD
(1) describe a model for developing and maintaining a culturally sensitive and welcoming academic environment for students, faculty, and staff of culturally diverse backgrounds; and
(2) apply the model to a study of Muslim students in a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program at the University of Michigan–Flint as an exemplar.
Position and Rationale. Development of a culturally sensitive and welcoming academic environment is a multifaceted process that embodies
(1) student centeredness;
(2) ongoing cultural assessment and evaluation of students, faculty, staff, and the academic environment;
(3) educational and curricular adaptation and accommodation;
(4) ongoing cultural competence training; and
(5) programmatic adaptation, accommodation, and revision. Due to the dynamic evolution of society, it is necessary that any model of cultural competence within the academy employs ongoing continuous review and revision.
Discussion and Conclusion. The model described provides a framework for assessment and development of a culturally competent academic environment for students, faculty, and staff populations with diverse religious, cultural, physical, social, and other needs. Login to download the full article
Case Description. The student used an ethnographic approach to gather data from an immersion experience in the Republic of Suriname. Data resulted from formal classroom learning with host students, observation of physical therapy practice in several settings, formal and informal social gatherings, visits to important local sites, and participation in a wellness dance program for seniors. Information was extracted through student observation, reflective journaling, artifact collection, faculty-guided feedback sessions, and emotional recall. Major themes were identified by prevalence and compared to relevant literature.
Outcomes. After immersion, both personal and professional growth were noted with the following themes: (1) genuine warmth of hosts, (2) similarities between the practice of physical therapy in Suriname and the United States (US), (3) ease of acknowledging, accepting, and talking about diversity, and (4) enhanced appreciation for the value of a US education.
Discussion and Conclusion. Identified themes were similar to those reported by other authors. This student perspective adds to the international immersion literature and strengthens the potential support for programs considering international integration. Login to download the full article