Student-Homeless Health Partnership: an education intervention to provide culturally responsive care for homeless adults
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There is a specific need for occupational therapy programs to provide education about culturally responsive care. Evidence suggests that occupational therapists often feel unprepared in the practice setting to fulfill the role of service provider for persons experiencing homelessness (Lauckner et al., 2006). Occupational therapists are uniquely equipped to address the needs of homeless clients in community health settings and decrease barriers to participation for homeless individuals. With additional education about culturally responsive care for this target population, occupational therapists will feel more prepared to provide for homeless clients and develop client trust. The Student-Homeless Health Partnership (SHHP) is an evidence-based, theory-driven program that utilizes multimodal approaches of instruction with occupational therapy students to provide culturally responsive care for homeless individuals. Through the program, students will develop a client-centered, occupation-based approach to caring for individuals experiencing homelessness through direct engagement. The goal and outcome of the program is to change occupational therapy students’ social beliefs and attitudes tied to adults who are homeless and ultimately, provide effective and culturally responsive care for these individuals. Positive program evaluation findings of SHHP will highlight occupational therapy’s distinct value in community health programs and reinforce the expansion of the SHHP model to occupational therapy programs outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.