A Conversation on Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
2 minute read
These second-year students from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut discussed efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the profession, while sharing their experiences and insights as students who identify as members of racial or ethnic minority populations.
Here are just some of the highlights from their conversation.
Do you think that being a minority will help you become a better physical therapist?
I feel as a minority, I am able to listen to those who feel like their voices are not being heard and am able to give them quality treatment that they might not be receiving from others. Being a minority student in the clinic, I feel like I helped others who were minorities by inspiring them to become physical therapists or to be more involved in physical therapy treatment sessions – now that they see somebody who looks something like them and can relate to their struggles.
– Tyler Lee
How do you think being a minority student has helped you in the clinic?
Personally, being a minority I know how it feels and how people sometimes look at you or talk down to you, so I take that into consideration while I treat patients and try to do the opposite of that and treat everyone fairly, equally, and with the same amount of respect.
– Lizzie Klein
A lot of our professors talk about treating patients equally, no matter what their ethnicity or background is, so I think I brought that into my clinical rotations. And also – being diverse myself – helps me become even more-open minded when treating patients.
– Abby Wolfin
How do you think that you can make the profession more accessible to the minority community?
In order to do that as minorities in the profession, I think that we need to make our voices heard outside of the community of physical therapy. So if we make our voices heard, then minorities will feel more comfortable coming in for physical therapist services and then everybody will benefit.
– Abby Wolfin
How can you as a minority student help make APTA more of an inclusive organization?
For me, being able to make APTA more inclusive is through informing younger people who are possibly looking at this as a profession, that it can be done. And there are people who are actually in the field making them more confident and comfortable that they will want to pursue this as a potential career option for them.
– Jair Davis
As a minority student, how has your university supported you?
At SHU, we have a board for each class and I am part of that. I think that Sacred Heart has helped me become more inclusive in everything because the board was elected by our fellow classmates, so everyone had an equal chance to get the positions.
– Lizzie Klein
Speaking about the APTA Vision and minority specific health issues:
There are certain health issues that plague minority communities. And so, as a responsibility of APTA and as physical therapists, we can use our knowledge and our assistance to better those communities.
– Patrick Seweje
APTA is committed to fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community. This is a journey – and that journey needs your perspective and support. If you have ideas to increase diversity and promote equity and inclusion, email us at email@example.com.
(From left to right: Second-year SPTs Patrick Seweje, Jair Davis, Lizzie Klein, Abby Wolfin, and Tyler Lee)