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A new standing committee and staff position align with expanded fundraising efforts to advance this strategic plan objective.

One of the nine objectives in APTA’s 2019-2021 strategic plan is to foster the long-term sustainability of the physical therapy profession by making APTA an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the society the profession serves.

To advance that objective, APTA has recently taken the following steps:

  • Established a standing committee on DEI. Joining other standing committees to the Board of Directors (Ethics & Judicial, Finance & Audit, Public Policy and Advocacy, and Scientific and Practice Affairs), this committee will provide the Board with strategic counsel and recommendations for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the association and profession. APTA will open its call for volunteers for this 14-person committee in February 2021.
  • Expanded fundraising efforts. Building on APTA’s fundraising for the Minority Scholarship Fund, headlined each year by the Celebration of Diversity Gala, earlier this year APTA announced the creation of the Campaign for Future Generations. The purpose of the campaign is to leverage any net proceeds from the association’s upcoming centennial activities and the sale of naming rights in APTA’s new headquarters to invest in DEI. (In light of COVID-19, APTA has temporarily suspended active fundraising, but the opportunity to contribute remains open. The first 10,000 people to donate at least $10 to the campaign will have their name included on the Community Wall at APTA’s new building.)
  • Created the Dimensions of Diversity Fund. Since 1988, APTA has provided more than $1 million in awards to racial and ethnic minority students and faculty through the Minority Scholarship Fund. The new Dimensions of Diversity Fund will expand on APTA’s efforts to improve DEI. Both funds are organized within the Physical Therapy Fund, an APTA-controlled subsidiary 501(c)(3), which will be overseen by a new board of trustees to strengthen ongoing stewardship. Since the beginning of 2020, the Physical Therapy Fund has generated over $250,000 in new pledges as part of APTA’s goal to double the fund by the end of 2021.
  • Outlined a new APTA staff position to begin in 2021. Later this year, APTA will begin recruiting for a new director of inclusion, which will lead organizational support of DEI and serve as the executive director of the Physical Therapy Fund. This position will continue and expand the work led by APTA’s previous director of minority affairs and women’s initiatives position, which was vacated earlier this year when Johnette Meadows, PT, MS, retired from APTA after more than three decades of pioneering leadership that included establishing and growing the Minority Scholarship Fund.

The efforts expand on other actions taken by APTA in recent years, ranging from the addition of mothers' rooms at the Combined Sections Meeting to the expansion of student recruitment efforts meant to inspire a more diverse applicant pool for physical therapy education programs.

In alignment with the strategic plan theme of stewardship, the Board is committed to positioning the association to head into its next century with expanded support to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the physical therapy community.

Want to connect on APTA’s DEI activities? Email dei@apta.org.


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