Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UAMS and the Department of Physical Therapy

The Department of Physical Therapy, along with all of UAMS, aims to intentionally advance and leverage diversity, equity, and inclusion to drive UAMS’ mission and the 2029 Strategic Plan to improve the health, health care and wellbeing of Arkansans and of others in the region, nation and world. More information about this can be found at UAMS’ dedicated Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

It is the policy of the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences and all of its affiliated colleges and organizations not to engage in discrimination or harassment against any person because of race, color, religion or creed, sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, national or ethnic origin, non-disqualifying disability, age, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, political beliefs or affiliations, and to comply with all federal and state non-discrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action laws, orders and regulations, including remaining compliant and consistent with the Civil Rights Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. – UAMS Academic Affairs Policy 2.1.3 – Non-Discrimination Statement

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Admissions*:

  • We value communication skills, leadership, initiative, community service, and clinical experience, as well as accomplishments in athletics, employment and research. Our goal is to recruit and educate a class which will serve the needs of a diverse patient population.
  • We consider factors not reflected in the academic record: evidence of exceptional extra-curricular achievement or work experience; evidence of having overcome social, economic or physical barriers; evidence of exceptional motivation, maturity or responsibility.
  • Extra credit is given for applicants who have proficiency in a language other than English

* While these factors will enhance the applicant’s competitiveness for admission, they are not, by themselves, sufficient to admit an applicant. Incoming students must still meet other primary admission requirements.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the PT Curriculum:

  • The mission of the UAMS Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is to educate students who will practice patient-centered physical therapy while embracing cultural diversity, ethical integrity, professionalism and collaboration with other members of the health care team.
  • The Interprofessional Education curriculum for all students addresses Interprofessional topics related to cultural awareness. As the Director of Interprofessional Education for the Northwest Campus, Dr. Angel Holland wrote a competency workshop educational program to focus on cultural awareness and empathy skills of healthcare professionals within the Interprofessional team.
  • The topic of cultural awareness/humility in regards to the role of the physical therapist is taught in various course modules throughout the curriculum, but has a specific focus in all 3 Professional Issues courses.
    • Professional Issues I, PHTH 5171, focuses on cultural awareness as part of the Core Values in addition to the coordination of the Interprofessional Education campus cultural training event for all PT1 students.
    • Professional Issues II, PHTH 5172, focuses on cultural awareness/humility with an emphasis on communication strategies and ethical behavior as a physical therapist.
    • Professional Issues III course, PHTH 5273, focus is on cultural awareness in patient education and an overall cultural competency in all physical therapy settings.
  • The topic of health disparity in the field of physical therapy and healthcare is a component to various course modules throughout the curriculum. The focused topic of health disparity is discussed in greater detail in PHTH 5235 – Psychosocial Aspects of Rehabilitation in the summer of PT2 year and in PHTH 5336 – Health Promotion & Wellness, which is taught in the spring semester of the PT3 year.
  • The North Street student-led pro bono clinic is led by students in the disciplines of PT, medicine, pharmacy, and nursing with mentorship of faculty. Student teams learn to work with patients and providers from another culture work and provide care to the underserved Marshallese community of Northwest Arkansas. Community outreach activities are also provided to the Hispanic community.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Northwest Campus and College of Health Professions:

  • In the fall of 2018, a student focus group of PT students was held to discover how to better address cultural issues for the PT department and the NW campus.  A direct result of this focus group was the PT department sponsoring the 3 day cultural training event for all NW campus students, faculty, and staff.  Within this training, all PT faculty attended a specific faculty discussion to further educate in cultural issues in the academic setting.
  • Following the cultural training session by the UAMS Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in February 2019, the first NW Campus Diversity Committee was developed.  All students were given the opportunity to apply to be part of this committee.  One PT student was selected and served on the committee until her graduation in May 2020.  Dr. Elizabeth Garcia, a current Assistant Professor in the PT program, serves on the NW Campus Diversity Committee.  This committee held several sessions in the fall of 2019, along with discussion sessions specifically for students to give their feedback on this topic to the campus committee.  This committee’s work was put on hold when the pandemic occurred, as did all other campus committees.  This committee reports directly to Dr. McElfish, the Vice Chancellor of the NW Campus, and the UAMS Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  You can expect to see more of this committee’s work as the campus continues to reopen.
  • Dr. Garcia was selected to attend a special training to become a certified SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) leader for the NW campus.  She was fully supported in this effort by the PT department, the College of Health Professions, and the NW Campus.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Dr. Garcia’s training course was cancelled.  She will be attending this important training as soon as it is rescheduled.
  • The College of Health Professions has a Diversity Committee, which reports all issues and/or concerns of the college to the UAMS Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Holland was selected by the college to be the representative of the NW campus CHP programs on this committee.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the physical therapy profession

An objective of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is to foster the long-term sustainability of the physical therapy profession by making APTA an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the society the profession serves. Please refer to the APTA website on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for more details.