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Culture in the Curriculum

This CIRRIE project focuses on the provision of pre-service training and education for students in university rehabilitation programs, by developing teaching materials specific to speech–language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and rehabilitation counseling. The need for cultural competence training for students is a requirement of all of the credentialing bodies for these programs. While current curricula are attempting to address this requirement, many programs realize that this topic is not consistently threaded throughout the curriculum. CIRRIE has developed materials that are specific for each of the four programs.

CIRRIE has piloted these curricula at the University at Buffalo to test their effectiveness. Based on the results, adjustments were made to the program modules and subsequently they are now being disseminated to university programs nationally. Curriculum development focuses on discipline specific criteria while at the same offering multi–disciplinary approaches that include case management and community based experiences. As students prepare to enter the fieldwork practicum and internships, the cultural competence portion of the curriculum reflects discipline specific analysis and application.

The focus of this development effort has been on four curriculum guides. The guides include discipline specific exercises and questions that have been developed, tested, and can be incorporated into existing courses with minimal effort. Throughout the development phase, nationally known consultants on cultural competence in the rehabilitation disciplines have provided feedback on the materials and lent their expertise. The goal of this "culture in the curriculum" initiative is the development of modules that realistically fit into exiting curricula while still meeting the requirements of discipline specific accreditation standards.

We invite program directors and instructors to download these guides and consider using them in their programs and courses. Printed copies may be obtained from CIRRIE for $5.00 per copy to cover the cost of shipping and handling. Please address inquiries to Mary Matteliano (

Mary A. Matteliano, Ph.D., OTR/L, Cultural Competence Curriculum Coordinator

Programs and Representatives

Links and submissions