DEI Updates and Opportunities
April 26, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed striking socioeconomic and healthcare inequities. The death of George Floyd and the social unrest that followed had many of our members feeling powerless to effect change in issues as widespread as racism and systemic inequalities.
The importance of having a group to address social justice, social determinants of health (SDOH), and diversity in the profession and leadership became clear to our Chapter's leaders. We organized town halls for chapter members and leaders to come together over 2 nights in June to learn, converse, and create what is now the APTA Maryland DEI Committee.
From these discussions, we developed committee workgroups to help us achieve the following goals.
What We Have Accomplished So Far
- Developed a new strategic plan to include our DEI initiatives
- Held 2 Facebook Live Town halls on DEI and SDOH
- Launched a mentor program for new professionals
- Launched a mentor program with local high schools
- Developed a survey to send out to companies about diversity within leadership
- Awarded a centennial scholar to help improve DEI within the chapter and leadership
- Developed a Did-You-Know Series about SDOH
- Researched Online Education Courses on SDOH
- Developed a social media campaign to promote the profession
Looking Ahead to 2021
- Continuing our Mentor Nights: The 1st Tuesdays of the Month at 8 pm.
- New Survey to Assess Diversity in Leadership
- Reaching out to pre - PT/A programs to promote the profession
- Building a diversity database to better link new professionals and future PTs/PTAs with mentors
- Expanding our mentorship with high schools in Montgomery, Howard, and Baltimore Counties
- Developing new town halls on DEI related issues
- Working with companies to provide med bags for the safe disposal of opioids
- New Diversity in Leadership series
- and more...
I want to thank our DEI Co-Chairs, Maral Hassanshahi and Mike Ukoha for their continued leadership and passion for the profession. Our workgroups have worked tirelessly meeting weekly/monthly and it is because of their efforts that we are seeing real progress and change. Thank you Monique Caruth, Dan Chapman, Kenda Chavis, Rhea Cohn, Joy Dangerfield, LaDonna Dingle, Roy Film, Kamila Frederick, Udim Isang, Ketaki Jatar, Clarisse Labor, Kelly Masterson, Scott Newberry, Erika Opoku, Frank Reicherter, Ariel Ross, JD Sheppard, and Nia Wallace Ward.
As a member of APTA Maryland we look to you, our members, for guidance and assistance in continuing these efforts. If you are interested in getting involved or have any feedback to share, please contact us.