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In the inaugural Lynda D. Woodruff Lecture on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Physical Therapy, Gregory Hicks, PT, PhD, FAPTA, recognized that people wanting to provide support may be looking for guidance on how to make a positive impact.

But he also warned that, no matter how well intended, asking people of color about what to do may not be the best first step.

"Understand the burden that’s placed on people of color to explain the whys and hows of systemic inequities in our country and to provide answers on how to fix them," Hicks said. "They already live it on a regular basis, and the burden of expressing the challenges can be mentally exhausting. So please just keep that in mind."

Instead, Hicks encourages self-education.

"Educate yourself about disparities in health care," he said. "Educate yourself in the experiences of those who don’t look like you. This is a lesson that we all need. … We all know that knowledge provides power, so after doing some self-education, when you then initiate a conversation with a person of color about what can be done to improve things in society, you’ll come with a base of knowledge that doesn’t fully place the burden on someone else."

So what are some good resources to inform that self-education?

That question was posed to the panelists of a follow-up discussion to the Woodruff Lecture.

Their recommendations include books, podcasts, interviews, and more:

  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. Recommended by Lisa VanHoose, PT, PhD, MPH.
  • The Diversity Gap podcast by Bethaney Wilkinson. Recommended by Remi Onifade, PT, DPT, MEd.
  • I Am Not Your Negro and the works of James Baldwin. Recommended by Senora Simpson, PT, DrPH.
  • Implicit Association Test by Harvard University. Recommended by Senora Simpson, PT, DrPH.
  • Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. Recommended by Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD.
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad. Recommended by Lisa VanHoose, PT, PhD, MPH.
  • The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. Recommended by Robert C. Tillman, PT, MOMT.
  • The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois. Recommended by Gregory Hicks, PT, PhD, FAPTA.
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Recommended by Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD.
  • Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho. Recommended by Gregory Hicks, PT, PhD, FAPTA.
  • Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath. Recommended by Lisa VanHoose, PT, PhD, MPH.
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum. Recommended by Remi Onifade, PT, DPT, MEd.
  • The works of Howard Thurman. Recommended by Senora Simpson, PT, DrPH.

Watch the discussion to hear more about why they made these selections.

Also remember that self-education is just one step.

"The time for reading is over," Senora Simpson, PT, DrPH, said during the panel discussion. "Quit reading and get busy doing."


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