There is extensive evidence that racial and ethnic disparities exist across a range of illnesses and health care services. Studies addressing these issues report that racial and ethnic disparities persist even when demographic factors such as socioeconomic status, level of insurance, and co-morbidity conditions are controlled. The 2002 Institute of Medicine report, "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care," states that while there is substantial data with respect to racial and ethnic disparities pertaining to many health services, there is insufficient data with respect to racial and ethnic disparities in access to, utilization of, or outcomes from physical therapy services.
At the 2003 House of Delegates, RC 41-03 Racial And Ethnic Disparities In Health Care was passed. APTA was charged to develop strategies to identify existing racial and ethnic disparities in access to, utilization of, and outcomes from physical therapy services, and develop guidelines for data collection in this area. The final report (.pdf) was presented to and accepted by the 2005 House of Delegates. The strategies and guidelines (.pdf) that were developed in response to the charge are also available.