Diversity and Inclusion
In the last few months, both the APTA and APTA Virginia have issued statements regarding commitments to diversity and inclusion in the field of physical therapy. In the Spring of 2018, the APTA Virginia Board of Directors formed the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, chaired by Victor Washington. In March 2019, strategies were set for achieving more diversity and better inclusion within the Chapter and in March 2020, those strategies were further refined. If you have any questions about Diversity and Inclusion or would like to help Dr. Washington and his committee with their efforts, please send an email to the chapter office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage you to read the APTA Virginia Diversity and Inclusion statement below as well as these other resources:
- Statement from the President of the APTA
- Information about Diversity and Inclusion from the APTA
- Cultural Competence in Physical Therapy
- Research Article: An Ecological Systems Approach to Exploring Facilitators and Barriers to Success for Minority Students Enrolled in a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
- Donate to APTA's Campaign for Future Generations
APTA Virginia Statement on Diversity and Inclusion
(previously posted on 06/20/2020)
On behalf of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee of APTA Virginia,
APTA Virginia, a component of the American Physical Therapy Association, has made a commitment to advance health equity in the physical therapy profession through diversity and inclusion. By achieving greater diversity this will produce a more culturally competent workforce and improve access to high-quality care for the medically underserved.
As physical therapists, we pride ourselves on putting our patients first and serving at the best of our abilities. Those abilities are currently strained as we rebuild our communities from a global pandemic and listen to the voices of our members calling for change.
In the spring of 2018, the Board of Directors formed the Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee. Who are we? We are your colleagues, your friends, your family and your neighbors. As members of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, we believe in being good stewards of the opportunities that we have been given and have developed a mission to support that. We believe that the way to ameliorate health inequities is through policy change, and focused partnerships with schools, businesses, communities, but most importantly through the individuals that we interact and serve with on a daily basis.
The Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee is here to serve. Who do we serve? We serve the small child who is told that they are not smart enough. We serve the student who applies to a graduate program and is told that they may not be the right fit in the majority uniformed program. We serve the young person who is mocked and ridiculed because their interests align with the same sex. We serve the foreign trained therapist who is not asked for their opinions or is talked over in meetings. We serve those who are afraid or hesitant to assert their opinions out of fear that they may be labeled as overly aggressive or angry. We serve the people who may not look like us but have a common commitment to building community.
During this challenging time we ask for your help. How can you help? If you are not a member of APTA VA and practice PT in another state, but still happened to stumble across this message, you can help by encouraging your state component to develop a diversity committee if one doesn't already exist. You can encourage minority leadership. Help by recognizing your personal implicit biases and work on ridding any preconceived notions about certain groups of people. If you are in a position of leadership, encourage diversity in your organization. We encourage active membership in your state chapter that foster efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion.
If you are moved to do more, contact us to help support our current diversity efforts in reaching middle and high school students through mentorship programs. We hope to dovetail these students with clinicians, current physical therapy students, and community leaders to provide support during the challenging years of their academics and increase their chances of entrance into physical therapy programs.
We hope that our passion is reflected in our dedication and relentless pursuit for an inclusive equitable society. A passion that brings about creativity, a stronger community, more diverse medically trained executives, and policymakers ready to take up leadership positions in the healthcare system of the future.
Victor Washington PT, DPT, OCS
Sonia Borges Lopez PT, DPT, OCS
Zainab Ibrahim PT, DPT
Manisha Mendonca PT, DPT, OCS
Nicole Zazueta PT, DPT, OCS