Our goal is to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. We believe that doing so aligns with our core values: educating ourselves regarding the systems at play; challenging ingrained biases; delivering meaningful results by standing for equity and access to high-quality healthcare services. We commit to developing and maintaining a culture of equity for our team and our patients because everyone deserves equal access to high quality healthcare services. We are happy to share the steps we are taking as an organization and as individuals to become more equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist.
DEI Task Force
In order to make meaningful, long lasting, and high-impact change, we knew that we needed to develop a team. Carolyn, Felicia, and Colleen took charge to lead the new DEI task force to oversee the team's actions and hold us all accountable to consistently working to our goals.
DEI and Anti-Racist Education
After the task force was developed, we determined our first step needed to be education around DEI and systemic racism. We reflected on our level of awareness around equity and inclusion and determined that growth was necessary. We developed an overarching inservice-based education plan for our team with topics ranging from biases and racism to diversity in health care and resources for clients. Utilizing our education plan for 2020-2021, we delivered multiple in-services to our entire staff. Through a brainstorming session focused on inclusivity and equity in our environment, we developed a framework to continue to learn about DEI together.
Hiring Process Audit and Professional Diversity
We reviewed the exact steps that we take throughout the hiring process and evaluated each step for potential areas of bias. As for those involved in the interview process, we utilized some external awareness building tools to gauge our implicit biases. This awareness helped us build in processes to account for those biases, namely including multiple points of contact with multiple team members. We also introduced new questions around equity and inclusion to our interview process. The challenge we realized, for many reasons, is that PT is largely a homogenous profession. As a small company our ability to enact change on a global scale is limited; however, we have taken a few steps to try to improve the diversity within our company and profession. We evaluated specific job advertising platforms focused on diversity and we started reaching out to diversity-oriented colleges to facilitate clinical relationships with students. We are in the process of contacting local high schools to increase our presence for "career day" and provide more exposure for our profession to a more diverse group of people. While these efforts are small in comparison to the diversity problem within our profession, we hope that they can help to build a more diverse and equitable future of physical therapy.
Systems for Sharing and Learning
We want to create an environment where everyone can share their experiences to improve the knowledge and education of our team as a whole. A key part of those experiences are those with our patients. As our individual team members have unique learning experiences, we want to encourage them to share for the benefit of the other team members. Shared learning from patient situations will enhance our overall growth and help us provide a more equitable and inclusive environment for everyone that comes through our doors. How did we get here? We believe that fulfilling our mission by living our core values does inherently support social change at its most fundamental level: treat all individuals with dignity, care, and respect. The incident in Minneapolis involving George Floyd was our turning point, "the last straw". The continued instances of systemic racism were no longer possible to ignore. Adhering to our values served us well, and through reflection, we realized we can and should do more to address concerns regarding racism while striving towards our mission. Through our steps outlined above, we quickly realized that there was so much more than just systemic racism at play and that we need to actively cultivate a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist environment.