• iStock_000023085537_Full
  • iStock_000019022260_Full
  • iStock_000073656593_Full
  • iStock_000071466987_Full
  • iStock_000033210538_Full
  • iStock_000024732512_Full

National Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Commission

Increasing Racial and Ethnic Representation in Academic Physical Therapy

In the fall of 2020, members of ACAPT identified an urgent need to establish an entity charged with establishing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community within our educational programs to answer the charge of the Institute of Medicine, NIH, and CDC to provide equitable health care to our patients.

The formation of a National Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Commission (NEDIC) was proposed and approved by the majority of the ACAPT membership at its Annual Business Meeting on October 16, 2020. See additional diversity resources here.

In June 2020, the Commission organized a summit to:

  1. increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities among faculty and leadership in professional education and in the physical therapy workforce and
  2. identify and promulgate policy initiatives, best practices, and resources related to increasing recruitment, enrollment, retention, and graduation of racial and ethnic minority students (Black, Native American or Tribal Groups, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and LatinX) in physical therapist professional education programs.

This invitation-only event brought together professionals of diverse backgrounds and expertise who convened over 2 1/2 days in collaborative workgroups designed to craft the foundation for best practices and resources that will transform the educational experiences of underrepresented minority students and faculty in physical therapy.

Starting in January 2023, four (4) new task forces are continuing the work to increase representation and the other summit goals.

Members of the Commission are:

  • Chair: Julia Chevan, PT, DPT, PhD, MPH - Springfield College
  • Dawn Brown, PT, DPT, OCS - Governors State University
  • Elizabeth Locke, PT, PhD, MS - Kean University
  • Didi Matthews, PT, DPT - University of Southern California
  • Matthew Nuciforo, PT, DPT, PhD - Rosalind Franklin University


  1. Lead ACAPT in developing effective initiatives to support member institutions with efforts to increase the representation of racial and ethnic minority students and faculty;
  2. Create new anti-racist and anti-bias policies and programming that will stimulate academic programs to strive for equity, diversity, and inclusion and support them in that effort; and
  3. Work collaboratively with the DEI consortium to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within physical therapist education.

Objectives: To increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of racial and ethnic minority students (Black, Native American or Tribal Groups, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Latinx) in physical therapist professional education programs and increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities among faculty and leadership in professional education.

The Commission shall develop clear goals that will foster the emergence of historically marginalized leaders and will give them the resources they need to move our profession forward. 

The charge to the Commission will be: In accordance with the objectives outlined in the approved motion mentioned above, the following outline the key charges to the Commission:

  1. Review and prioritize the recommendations from the 2016 Final Report from the Diversity Task Force,
  2. Provide budget estimates to fund the 2016 recommendations, 
  3. Suggest new recommendations for action beyond the 2016 recommendations with associated budget estimates, 
  4. Submit a report by June 2021 to the ACAPT Board of Directors that includes the Commission’s 5-year plan to address the identified priorities with associated budget requests, and
  5. Submit a report to the ACAPT membership at the Annual Business Meeting at the Educational Leadership Conference (ELC) in 2021 detailing the Commission’s approved 5-year plan, budget, and progress to date.
  6. The priorities should include those that can be accomplished within a 1-2-year timeframe (short-term activities and initiatives) and those that will take 3-5+ years (longer-term activities and initiatives). 

Timeline and reporting requirements:

  1. Form an initial action plan and priority list within 3 months of assuming office and present it to the Board of Directors for review.  The action plan should include a recommended list of additional resource persons with expertise and/or additional perspective in D, E, & I issues. One individual must have formal training and/or occupy an institutional position responsible for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  2. Present a quarterly progress report to the Board that shall include references and collaborations

Ongoing responsibilities

  1. Meet monthly via conference calls to review tasks completed and next steps to meet deadlines and objectives
  2. Seek input and collaboration from The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Consortium’s membership who will help to provide an infrastructure to support the emergence of new leadership. 

Guiding principles: Members of the Commission shall:

  1. Remain in compliance with ACAPT’s antitrust guidelines. 
  2. Avoid any conflicts of interest and notify other members of the Commission should any conflicts develop.
  3. Not involve any commercial interests. 
  4. Engage multiple individuals in physical therapy education (e.g., those who contribute and benefit therefrom).
  5. Address issues within identified timelines.  
  6. Endeavor to work toward a positive impact for all parties involved.
  7. The chair, faculty member, and DCE must be individual members of ACAPT member institutions in good standing. The other elected or appointed members of the Commission might not be eligible for individual membership and are therefore not required to be members of ACAPT. 

References: The Commission will be guided by ACAPT’s Diversity Task Force Report.  The Commission may refer to other resources such as The Black Rehabilitation Manifesto or other external documents deemed relevant to the work. 


A New Generation of Physical Therapists on the move

Check out the Center for Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy


ACAPT welcomes ideas & solutions to help meet the needs of DPT programs. Submit your suggestions for continuing education, professional development, guidelines, tools, best practices and more.

Center for Excellence in Physical Therapy Logo

Stay Informed & Up-To-Date with ACAPT