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Alysson Goodwin, PhD, MBA, OTR/L

Denise Crowley, OTD, OTR/L


Occupational therapy has set a strategic vision to increase equity and health access through leadership in all practice areas. To this end, educators in occupational therapy doctorate programs must increase the students’ ability to lead with an awareness of the social impacts of policy decisions. The purpose of this study was to explore educational opportunities to support occupational therapy doctorate students in developing social awareness for decision-making. The study aimed to use an e-learning module to increase social awareness surrounding a departmental decision about a white coat ceremony. A quantitative quasi-experimental one group pre-test post-test study examined if a significant increase in a trait associated with making socially just decisions occurred following students’ participation in an e-learning module that outlined the social aspects of the use of the white coat. Results indicated that students had a statistically significant increase in awareness of social inequality and motivation to act following participation in the e-learning module. The study provides initial evidence toward the effectiveness of developing students’ social awareness for policy decisions through tailored e-learning to outline social aspects of policy paired with the opportunity to decide.


The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.