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Occup Ther Int. 2016 Dec;23(4):318-327. doi: 10.1002/oti.1433. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

The Influence of a Mexican Cultural Immersion Experience on Personal and Professional Healthcare Practices.

Author information

1
University of New Mexico, Occupational Therapy, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
2
Division of Public Health, University of New Mexico, Department of Family and Community Health, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
3
Albuquerque Veterans Hospital, Occupational Therapy, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
4
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Occupational Therapy, Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand the influence of a cultural immersion experience on personal and professional healthcare practices of occupational therapists. The experience, a 10-day course in Oaxaca, Mexico, exposed participants to alternative and complementary medicine through interactive sessions with Mexican indigenous traditional healers. The literature indicates that cultural immersion experiences can increase the perceived cultural effectiveness of healthcare professionals. Three focus groups were conducted with eight occupational therapists and two occupational therapy fieldwork students who had participated in the course. Themes were coded based on responses to each question by two graduate students and a qualitative researcher. Four major themes emerged regarding the influence of a cultural immersion experience on personal and professional healthcare practices of occupational therapists: (1) Natural Remedies; (2) Mind, Body, Spirit Connection; (3) Increased Openness; and (4) Challenges of Integrating Traditional and Western Medicine. The themes derived from this study confirmed the advantages of a cultural immersion experience on both the personal and professional views and practices of occupational therapists. Cultural immersion courses can assist occupational therapists to better understand different cultural views of health, disability and healing in order to provide quality occupational therapy care in a multicultural society.

KEYWORDS:

Mexico; cultural immersion; international educational exchange; occupational therapy

PMID:
27250734
DOI:
10.1002/oti.1433
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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