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  • From PT in Motion Magazine: Diversifying the Profession

    As society becomes increasingly diverse, it's important for the profession to reflect those differences. But as of a 2013 APTA member demographics profile, nearly 70% of APTA member physical therapists (PTs) were female and 88.5% were white. So how will the profession look in the future, and how is APTA responding to the need for a diverse physical therapy workforce?

    A feature in this month's PT in Motion magazine examines the importance of diversity within the physical therapy profession to improve the health of an increasingly diverse society. Author Michele Wojciechowski reports how several PTs' diverse backgrounds have helped them offer person-centered care that is sensitive to patients' needs and beliefs.

    "Increasing the diversity of the profession and providing information on the importance and understanding of cultural competence have been part of APTA's vision, guiding principles, and mission for many years," said Johnette L. Meadows, PT, MS, program director of minority/women's initiatives in APTA's Department of Practice.

    The PTs interviewed reflect on how their personal backgrounds have given them a unique ability to connect with other minority patients. "We live in a diverse world, and our clients and patients come from diverse communities," noted Dave Kietrys, PT, PhD. "We should be mirroring that. We also should be welcoming people from all backgrounds into our profession. The greater our diversity, the deeper and richer our understanding will be of the needs of a varied population. We'll naturally be more sensitive to underrepresented communities—what they're going through and how they might have been marginalized, stigmatized, or treated with bias."

    "Who Are Tomorrow's PTs and PTAs?" is featured in the June issue of PT in Motion magazine and is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them one of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.


    • I think PT's and PTA's have a long way to go with knowledge of LGBTQ issues and wonder if this is even included in many curriculums? I inquired about doing a program for the state meeting where I live and was only offered the option of applying to do a con-current session. That is missing the point - we don't need to preach to the choir of the 10% that might be interested!

      Posted by Jeannie Senter on 6/6/2018 3:59 PM

    • Note that the demographics taken in this article are from the APTA membership, and DO NOT represent the demographics of the complete PT/PTA body in the United States. I hope that this push for more diversity does not come at a cost of quality to the PT/PTA applicant. Of course we should be welcoming people of all backgrounds, however not at the cost of lowering the current quality measurement standards we have for applicants.

      Posted by Jennifer on 6/10/2018 5:59 PM

    • I absolutely believe in diversifying the physical therapy profession. It begins within the PT and PTA academic programs.... almost total lack of minority representation, especially a lack of African American representation. The next step is reaching out to diverse high schools and universities . The next step is in the workplace. Many times an entire PT department is literally void of any diversity although there have been qualified minorities that have been denied the opportunity. I know because I am a minority. Many times I’ve experienced covert racial discrimination on the job and the therapists are the perpetrators as well as with the patients. Which leads to why there are healthcare disparities amongst minorities.

      Posted by Daria on 6/12/2018 10:38 PM

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