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The multicultural population is expected to rise to 56% by the year 2060 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). Despite the ongoing increase in cultural diversity of the U.S. population, there still continues to be limited diversity in the field of occupational therapy (Crowe et al., 2016). In academia, it is recognized that there is a need for a necessary to focus on culture and occupational therapy. However, it is questioned to what extent this is actually implemented into the academic curriculum as what constitutes cultural competency in entry level practitioners varies (Humbert et al., 2012). Society is becoming less mono-cultural, indicating that health care professionals will likely be working in culturally diverse communities (Shield et al., 2016). However, only providing and teaching culturally specific information does not create competence (Shield et al., 2016).

Developing an experience that allows for cultural encounters followed by reflections creates cultural awareness (McAllister et al., 2006). These experiences can be created through developing global partnerships. In order for global partnerships to be effective, there must also be a shared awareness of the mutual benefits that the experience will bring. There are limited global partnerships between professionals, students, and scholars in occupational therapy from the U.S. and Belize, as the profession of occupational therapy has not been established there yet. A collaboration between the U.S. and Belize could be the first step to create a global partnership to further advocate for the profession of occupational therapy within each country and worldwide.

The purpose of this project is to create a sustainable international occupational therapy partnership between an occupational therapy institution in the U.S. specifically the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, California and The Inspiration Center in Belize. This will be accomplished by creating an opportunity to participate in a cross-cultural pediatric experience with the Belizean population.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Education, Professional, Cultural Competence, Health Personnel, Pediatrics, Belize, United States


Higher Education | Interprofessional Education | Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Fall 2020 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on December 11, 2020.

Creating a Sustainable Occupational Therapy International Collaboration through the Development of a Cross-Cultural Pediatric Experience