Research Article
Issue Date: May/June 2020
Published Online: March 28, 2020
Updated: April 30, 2020
Population Health Content in Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Programs
Author Affiliations
  • Elizabeth Domholdt, PT, EdD, FAPTA, is Professor and Director, School of Health Sciences, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH; e.domholdt@csuohio.edu
  • Sarah K. Cooper, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Stark County Educational Service Center, Canton, OH.
  • Robert J. Kleinhoff, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Encore Rehabilitation Services, Avon, OH.
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Education of OTs and OTAs / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 28, 2020
Population Health Content in Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Programs
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2020, Vol. 74, 7403205160. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.036392
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2020, Vol. 74, 7403205160. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.036392
Abstract

Importance: If occupational therapy is to play an important role in improving population health, it is important to understand how academic programs are preparing new occupational therapists for this role.

Objective: To determine current and desired coverage of population health concepts in entry-level occupational therapy programs.

Design: Online survey administered to occupational therapy program directors.

Setting: Higher education institutions.

Participants: Survey invitations were sent to all 182 entry-level occupational therapy program directors in Spring 2018.

Measures: Questionnaire responses were used to calculate current and desired curriculum coverage of 23 population health domains.

Results: Of 182 program directors, 60 (33.0%) responded. Respondents agreed that 21 of 23 population health domains should be included in entry-level occupational therapy programs, and 11 of the domains had moderate or better coverage in their current programs. The largest gaps between current and desired coverage were found in global health issues, population health informatics, environmental health, and organization of health systems.

Conclusions and Relevance: Occupational therapy faculty can use these results to further develop the population health content of their programs.

What This Article Adds: Although the occupational therapy profession advocates for the role of occupational therapists in the improvement of population health, little information is available about how to prepare new occupational therapists for this role. This study addresses this gap by presenting occupational therapy program directors’ assessments of current and desired levels of population health content within their programs.