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.


  1. Increase diversity, equity, and inclusion within APTAMD to better serve the Chapter, the profession, and society.
  2. Increase cultural awareness within the physical therapy workforce
  3. Increase access to care in underserved areas in Maryland (Social Determinants of Health Information)


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

May Events

4 - Mentor Night for New Grads and Professionals 8:00 pm
5 - HEAL (Health, Equity, Accessibility, and Literacy) 7:30 pm
18 - Mentorship Workgroup Meeting 7:30 pm
19 - HEAL Meeting / Social Media and Communications 7:30 pm
24 - Legislative Townhall at 7:30 pm
24 - Leadership Development Meeting 7:45 pm

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.

We are building a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to improve the health of society.