African Americans in Physical Therapy

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African Americans in Physical Therapy

Written by Alanna Wilson, PTA at Carolina Physical Therapy

In honor of Black History Month, I would like to bring awareness to African Americans in Physical Therapy. For the educational year 2019-2020, statistics from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Education show that African Americans make up 3% of graduates from Physical Therapy programs. It is also reported by US Bureau of Labor Statistics that only 5% of the actual practicing PTs are African Americans. With this being said, there is an organization, the National Association of Black Physical Therapy, founded partly by Dr. Andre Bullock, that focuses on addressing the emotions and feelings of lone minorities who have the career goal of becoming a PT or PTA. Dr. Bullock is currently the physical therapy student liaison in Neuro Outpatient for student rotations. With this position, she has been able to mentor prospective physical therapists. She is also an APTA credentialed Clinical Instructor. She strives to expose resources to undeserved communities and underrepresented minorities. Due to her own background, Dr. Bullock recognizes the importance of creating opportunities in different communities that is beneficial to that of the minority groups.

Growing up in a minority community, I was provided with the opportunities to be a part of different educational programs- such as Duke Tip and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA)- that focused on challenging minority individuals academically. In addition, these programs provide scholarships for college expenses to those were in top ranks in their class and displayed academic excellence. After graduating from a PTA program in a class that consisted of 3 graduating African Americans out of 14 individuals, I gladly appreciate the programs and assistance for minorities that is provided from different programs such as NABPT with Dr. Bullock.

I was blessed to become employed shortly after successfully passing the Board Exam, and can say without hesitation, being an African American female Physical Therapist Assistant, I absolutely love what I do and the company I work for. Carolina Physical Therapy shows their appreciation for the work ethic and effort that is put into making sure each and every patient gets the respect and treatment they require and deserve. They go above and beyond for each individual they employ, including the minorities, and treat with them equal rights and provides them with equal opportunities.

To learn more about African American contributions to PT and learning opportunities, visit these sites below!