Physical Therapist Education is FOR EVERYONE
What is it?
"PT Education is FOR EVERYONE" aims to continually foster the efforts of the Department of Physical Therapy to embrace and represent all people and their wide range of experiences, backgrounds and perspectives.
We want our Department to continue to reflect the inherent and equal value of all people, and we embrace our role of preparing the next generation of physical therapists to be comprised of and ready to care for people of all abilities, religions, marital status, familial status, sexes, ages, sexual orientations, veteran status, national origins, ancestries, races, colors, genetic information, gender identities and expressions, and socioeconomic status.
We hope this initiative will have many positive impacts, especially providing care for disadvantaged and vulnerable populations while supporting any members of those populations who pursue the goal of practicing as physical therapists.
This initiative aligns with:
- Our University's goal and strategies to promote Diversity and Inclusion
- The mission of our Office of Health Sciences Diversity (OHSD)
- The values that define our School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS)
- The goals of our Department of Physical Therapy programs
The three-part plan to Communicate Our Strengths, Strengthen Our Partnerships, and Advance Our Efforts allows us to share what we are doing and how we plan to continue to disrupt the barriers to:
- Diversify the identities among practicing physical therapists.
- Maintain and advance the climate of inclusivity among the students, staff and faculty of our department.
- Prepare physical therapists to be ready for and embrace the opportunity to care for patients of all identities, experiences, backgrounds and perspectives.
The University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Therapy is committed to building an equitable and inclusive environment for physical therapy education, research and service. We believe that our educational programs, our research and our communities are all made stronger by embracing individual and cultural differences. We recognize that our profession is not as diverse as the communities in which we practice, and we believe that the Department has the responsibility to improve diversity throughout the physical therapy profession. With leadership from our department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Work Group, we are actively implementing strategies to improve diversity among our students, faculty and staff. We are also participating in development activities to ensure that all Pitt PT faculty, staff and graduates are both knowledgeable about systemic inequalities in the health care system and dedicated to reducing disparities in health and health care.
1. Communicate Our Strengths
A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Work Group of faculty and students in the Department, as well as alumni and community partners, is leading an initiative to define our commitment and pursue actions to explore various identities and create an environment of welcome, of intent to understand each other, and for an explicit mission of equity, justice and inclusion of all individuals and thoughts
Our intent is to identify and attend to the gaps in recruitment and admissions that would better enable our programs to recruit a more diverse student body and faculty to meet our mission, the future of the physical therapy profession and a society free of barriers to rehabilitation.
- Faculty are implementing training on diverse identities and how to establish and maintain an inclusive learning environment, thanks to a mini-grant from our University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
- Dr. Allyn Bove is enhancing program efforts to prepare DPT students to treat a diverse patient population through her Year of Diversity grant that looks at students' comfort treating patients of diverse backgrounds, and asking them how their DPT program helped prepare them for working with patients with different backgrounds.
- Recent enhancements to the physical therapy curriculum are strengthening cultural competence and better emphasizing high-quality instruction regarding gender health.
- Implementation of a Seminar Series offers faculty, staff, students and partners of the program the opportunity to interactively engage in topics related to racial and social injustices.
- Our faculty search committee members have engaged in training sessions completed with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to better guide our efforts and limit biases in recruiting, retaining and recognizing an excellent and diverse faculty.
- Physical therapy students and faculty have engaged in focus group discussions to identify and develop diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. The intent of the focus groups is to maintain transparent and clear communications with the student body as it relates to their concerns, engage student ideas, foster thought and discussion and collectively accept and address the challenge to lead change.
2. Strengthen Our Partnerships
We have developed a new partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Office of Health Sciences Diversity (OHSD) in order to better support the efforts of the OHSD and to better connect the resources of the OHSD to our students, staff and faculty in consistent and meaningful ways.
We have implemented and will continue to draw upon the resources of the University to support efforts and events aimed at advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
We have developed and will continue to grow a Canvas learning site for our program dedicated to resources to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
3. Advance Our Efforts
- Our goal is to collaborate with the other departments in SHRS to expand and integrate the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across the school and beyond.
The University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Therapy is committed to building an equitable and inclusive environment for physical therapy education, research and service. We are actively implementing strategies to increase diversity among our students, faculty and staff.
After conducting an in-depth review of the programs admissions process, we have consulted with a renowned expert to: expand admission opportunities for under-recruited persons of color, share experiences with students and faculty, and facilitate discussions with faculty that would lead towards actionable reforms of the admission process to specifically minimize biases and ensure equal opportunities for all applicants.
We are teaming up with community organizations in Pittsburgh to foster interest in and understanding of the PT profession, especially among disadvantaged children, adolescents and older adults.
We are seeking new ways to further the “PT Education is FOR EVERYONE” initiative and continually reinforce the inclusive environment of our Department.
We acknowledge and want to broaden the diversity of abilities, religions, marital status, familial status, sexes, ages, sexual orientations, veteran status, national origins, ancestries, races, colors, genetic information, gender identities and expressions and socioeconomic status among physical therapist students, physical therapy clinicians and faculty.
The Department of Physical Therapy is proud of its community partnerships with the SHRS Wellness Pavilion at the University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center in Homewood and the Birmingham Free Clinic, and looks forward to continuing to serve alongside these organizations in helping to meet the needs of the greater Pittsburgh community.