Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


University of Northern Iowa. Global Health Corps--Students--Training of; Transcultural medical care;


U.S. Demographic changes have had an impact on health education, care, and promotion. The best health education, promotion, and care can be delivered by culturally sensitive health professionals. The importance of addressing the issue of culture is widely acclaimed by educators from various health disciplines. Participation in an international healthcare mission (IHM) is one means to expand cultural awareness and sensitivity. Little research exists regarding methods for preparing culturally sensitive healthcare professionals. Little published research documents the impact of an IHM experience on the preparation of healthcare professionals.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of an International Healthcare Mission (IHM) experience on the perceived growth of healthcare professional students. The study was specifically designed to examine both the professional and personal benefits of an IHM experience on participating Global Health Corps students at the University of Northern Iowa. Additionally, the study sought to assess the impact of an IHM experience on participants' cultural knowledge, cultural sensitivity, self-confidence, and social relationships.

Methodological Triangulation (including quantitative and qualitative methods) was used in this study. Quantitative data was gathered from 30 participants who responded to a questionnaire framed by Wilson's (1993) IIEM. Results of the survey yielded quantitative data regarding the strength and type of perceived changes that occurred due to students' IHM experiences. In depth interviews with five participants yielded qualitative data describing the impact of IHM experiences.

Results of the study indicated IHM participants grew in their cultural knowledge, cultural sensitivity, self-confidence, and social relationships. The research findings supported Bandura's theory of self-efficacy and Wilson's (1993) model. This study also validated Gallagher's (2004) findings regarding the value of an IHM experience. Participants were found to develop increased sensitivity to people of other cultures and economic status while enhancing provider-patient interactions, multicultural teamwork, and knowledge of factors impacting clients' receptiveness of health services and health status. This study also suggests that a thoughtfully designed IHM experience should be part of the preparation of healthcare professionals. IHM participants should be given advanced preparation before embarking on an IHM and IHM experiences should be supervised by faculty possessing IHM expertise.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Lynn Nielsen, Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Rebecca Edmiaston, Committee Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xiii, 203 pages)



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