Cultural Competence and the Vision

Approved by the 2013 House of Delegates, the Vision Statement of the Physical Therapy Profession is far reaching and inclusive: "Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience."

This vision statement is supported by Guiding Principles to Achieve the Vision that will provide APTA with direction for the profession.

Multiple areas of the Guiding Principles relate directly to cultural competence:

  • Consumer-centricity. Patient/client/consumer values and goals will be central to all efforts in which the physical therapy profession will engage. The physical therapy profession embraces cultural competence as a necessary skill to ensure best practice in providing physical therapist services by responding to individual and cultural considerations, needs, and values.
  • Access/Equity. The physical therapy profession will recognize health inequities and disparities and work to ameliorate them through innovative models of service delivery, advocacy, attention to the influence of the social determinants of health on the consumer, collaboration with community entities to expand the benefit provided by physical therapy, serving as a point of entry to the health care system, and direct outreach to consumers to educate and increase awareness.
  • Advocacy. The physical therapy profession will advocate for patients/clients/consumers both as individuals and as a population, in practice, education, and research settings to manage and promote change, adopt best practice standards and approaches, and ensure that systems are built to be consumer-centered.

Thus, achievement of the vision and devotion to cultural competence go hand in hand.


APTA offers multiple resources to help members ensure that cultural competence is a part of practice and the importance of including health disparities in clinical research. Explore APTA's cultural competence resources.

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