Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Carolyn Podolski


Disparities between diverse medical professionals have always been prevalent in the United States. It comes then, as no surprise that the Occupational Therapy profession is predominantly led by Caucasian women. As an allied health profession that works with diverse ethnic and racial populations, the lack of diversity amongst OT professionals can only exacerbate the healthcare disparities that are already present in minority communities. In recent years, terms like Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have gained popularity and have become integral to the profession's commitment, as outlined in the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) centennial 2025 vision. It is critical to recognize that fostering diversity within the profession starts on a small scale, particularly within OT educational programs at universities. When minority students pursue higher education, they frequently encounter social, academic, and financial hurdles. As a result, it is not surprising that they may lack familiarity with the Occupational Therapy profession and consequently do not perceive it as a feasible career choice.

This capstone project endeavors to enhance the recruitment and retention of minority students, specifically within Georgia State University's Occupational Therapy Masters and Doctorate program. The project's implementation consisted of two main components. First, a Qualtrics survey was distributed to both current and former GSU OT students to investigate and comprehend the challenges they encountered while enrolled in GSU's OT educational program, with the aim of identifying potential areas for enhancement and reform. Second, efforts were made to enhance understanding and awareness of OT. These initiatives seek to promote the spread of OT knowledge and awareness among young students. These endeavors are crucial for fostering diversity within the OT profession and ultimately contribute to enhancing health outcomes in the diverse communities we serve.

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