Find A PhysicianHome  |  Library  |  myDownstate  |  Newsroom  |  A-Z Guide  |  E-mail  |  Contact Us  |  Directions
curve gif

SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Occupational Therapy Program

Cultural Competency Within Healthcare

Diversity & Cultural Competency

photo of hands

The U.S. population is fast growing and becoming increasingly diverse, with 12.5% of the population being foreign-born and with this group growing more rapidly than the native-born population. Between 2005 and 2010, the foreign-born population increased 17% to forty million and the minority population is expected to become the majority by 2042 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). There is a growing need for healthcare practitioners to actively practice cultural awareness due to major demographic shifts in the United States, concerns about the cross-cultural validity of research findings, and discovery of disparities in clinical assessment, health care access, and quality across race, ethnicity and culture (Lewis-Fernández et al., 2013). The nation's present and projected multicultural population is dramatic and well documented. Cultural competency education will play an integral role in providing patients from all backgrounds with the best possible care (Brown & Mokuau, 2008).

Occupational therapists and other health professions that strive towards client centered practice need to be aware of how cultural competency affects their practice. Practitioners must educate themselves in aspects of cultural competency in order to design the most appropriate therapeutic interventions and to achieve better patient outcomes. Eliminowski (2015) found that educational workshops that build cultural competency skills and improve communication between patients and providers lead to better patient health outcomes (Eliminowski, 2015).

Occupational Therapy Student Produced Videos

Please use the following videos as a tool to help spark thought and discussion about cultural effectiveness amongst your peers and colleagues. Videos include discussion questions about specific highlighted topics that may help guide your exploration. These videos have been produced by former SUNY Downstate Occupational Therapy students.

Video Disclaimer:

These videos contain dramatized content used for educational purposes that do not represent the viewpoints or opinions of the actors, students, the Downstate Occupational Therapy Department, nor SUNY Downstate Medical Center.