Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Administrative Leadership

First Advisor

Larry G. Martin

Second Advisor

Barbara J. Daley

Committee Members

Cindy M. Walker, Jennifer E. Earl-Boehm, Liliana Mina


Athletic, Athletic Training, Cultural, Cultural Competence, Culture


It is critical for athletic trainers to understand and practice culturally competent health care, which involves being responsive and sensitive to all cultural differences present in the population. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) requires that all Athletic Training Programs teach cultural competence in their curriculum. However, programs have the autonomy to determine how and when their curriculum content will be delivered. Furthermore, the current original research examining athletic training and cultural competence is very limited and there is a lack of research focused on the educational practices of cultural competence education in athletic training.

This research study investigated the following three research questions: to what extent is cultural competence education in undergraduate Athletic Training Programs being implemented; how is athletic training cultural competence education being taught; and what challenges do athletic training educators face when implementing cultural competence education. The Program Directors for all 310 undergraduate CAATE Accredited Athletic Training Programs in the United States were contacted, requesting participation in an electronic survey; 64 respondents completed the survey. Once the electronic survey data were preliminarily analyzed, five programs were contacted by email and asked to participate in a follow-up telephone interview; four agreed to complete the follow-up interview.

The results of this research study indicate that Athletic Training Programs are attempting to teach cultural competence thoroughly, but there are still several areas in need of improvement. Athletic training educators need more opportunities for formal training in cultural competence, in order to better prepare for teaching this content. This training should focus on incorporating interprofessional education, using theory to inform practice, and adapting to various influences. Educators also need more guidance regarding suggested topics to address, effective delivery modes, and successful classroom exercises. In addition, Athletic Training Programs need to re-examine how to infuse cultural competence across the entire program as well as how to increase patient encounters in diverse settings. It is suggested that accreditation requirements should address the need for immediate attention to improving cultural competence education in athletic training.