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Task Force on Physical Therapy Education and Career Advancement Pathways


In June of 2022, ACAPT's National Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Commission (NEDIC) hosted a Summit at The Ohio State University with the objectives to:

  • Increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities among faculty and leadership in professional education and in the physical therapy workforce and
  • 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 representatives from seven health professions including physical and occupational therapy, allopathic and veterinary medicine, pharmacy, athletic training and chiropractic/naturopathy and industries including law, education, business, and engineering to craft the foundation for best practices and resources that will transform the educational experiences of underrepresented minority students and faculty in physical therapy.

With recognition that quality improvement requires the analysis of rich data to best inform change, two members of the Commission engaged in an intentional process and use of varied methods to review data and identify primary themes from the Summit. Using common qualitative analytical methods such as content analysis, textual data collected from the Summit was coded and categorized for the purpose of summarizing and developing primary themes. Frequent debriefing sessions occurred between the two primary members engaged in analysis as well as other members of the Commission.

Based on analysis of data collected from the Summit, several themes were identified as the key drivers which contribute directly to achieving the aim of increasing representation among faculty and students from historically excluded racial and ethnic groups. One of those themes has resulted in the creation of this task force.

Purpose: The purpose of this task force is:

To utilize the data and information gathered during the NEDIC Summit to examine, create, and implement pathways for historically marginalized and excluded racial and ethnic groups to join and advance within the physical therapy profession’s leadership positions and roles (e.g., faculty, advocacy, research, service positions), inclusive of institutional and national level resources that support the ongoing development and advancement opportunities for these groups. 

Objectives: The task force will:

  • Utilize the data from the NEDIC Summit to discern the changes needed in academic physical therapy as it pertains to education and career pathways to increase historically marginalized and excluded racial and ethnic group representation in education and practice.
  • Collect, review, and analyze additional available data related to pathways to the DPT admissions process.
  • Collect, review, and analyze additional available data related to pathways to post-professional leadership roles.
  • Propose policies, guidelines, best practices, standards, and/or resources for adoption and implementation within academic physical therapy.


Chair:     Paula Johnson, PT, DPT, MBA - Messiah University

Commissioner Liaison: Elizabeth Locke, PT, PhD, MS - Kean University

  • Jaime Gonzalez, PT, DPT - Midwestern University-AZ 
  • Quinton Huguley, SPT - Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Neva Kirk-Sanchez, PT, PhD - University of Miami
  • Nancy R. Kirsch, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA - Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Rupal M. Patel, PT, PhD - Texas Woman’s University
  • Shirley Smith, MA - University of South Florida

Check out the Center for Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy


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