Objective. The purpose of this study was to assess sources of physician education concerning occupational therapy and to determine whether these sources influence occupational therapy referral rates.

Method. One hundred fifteen medical residents from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were surveyed.

Results. Residents learn about occupational therapy through informal, direct, and interactive types of contacts (touring occupational therapy departments, having personal contact with an occupational therapist, having a family member receive occupational therapy). Perceived knowledge about occupational therapy was not significantly associated with referral rate, but it did influence a resident’s desire for further education about occupational therapy.

Conclusion. Strategies for increasing medical residents’ understanding of occupational therapy and for increasing their referrals to occupational therapy include opportunities for small group role playing, structural system changes within clinical sites, and direct marketing to consumers.

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