South Africa Dialogue: Impact of a Global Experience in a Physical Therapy/Health Science Curriculum on the Facilitation of Cultural Competence and Core Value Development

Abstract

Background and Purpose. Global experiences can impact personal views, understanding of professional core values, and cultural competency. The purposes of this study are to examine the impact a global experience can have on an individual’s perception of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) core professional values and cultural competency. Method/Model Description. The participants in this study all took part in a foundational class. Additionally, 28 of these students attended the South Africa Dialogue experience. To study the impact, self-assessment surveys were performed before and after the global academic and service opportunity. Data from each group was analyzed using independent T-tests and paired sample T-tests. Outcomes. Students who participated in the global experience in addition to the educational course were found to have a greater understanding of the APTA core values of altruism and excellence, an improved perception of access to health care services and advocacy. These students also had an increased appreciation of cultural competence and the importance of ongoing education for all providers of health care to promote culturally competent service. Discussion/Conclusion and Relevance. This study examines the effects of a global experience on promoting core values and cultural competency in the health science curriculum and may provide insight on the most effective educational method for cultivating these ideals in students during their education. Key Words: Cultural competence, Core values, Global experiences, Physical therapist education, Interprofessional curriculum content