As an African American male, Chukwuemeka Nwigwe, PT, DPT — a member of the California Physical Therapy Association Board of Directors and a University of Southern California faculty member — had been approached by various chapter members asking why more minorities aren't physical therapists and physical therapist assistants and what could be done to bridge the gap.
Nwigwe's experience characterizes the need for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in clinical, educational, and research settings.
APTA could not agree more. Its commitment to increasing DEI in the association, profession, and society was elevated from an individual goal to an overarching aspiration, along with the APTA vision and mission statements, when APTA updated its strategic plan in 2022. Among the ways developed to achieve that aim was creating a national-level DEI Committee and, to amplify its reach and effectiveness, encouraging APTA chapters, sections, and academies to create their own committees. About 21 states have established a DEI committee of some type.