A message from APTA Georgia
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
To our members, prospective members, patients, clients, associated partners, and society,
APTA Georgia begins every board meeting with a reminder of our mission: To promote the profession of physical therapy with excellence, integrity, and collaboration to serve and advocate for the health and wellness of the people of Georgia. This statement is purposefully all-inclusive, and does not allow for discrimination of any kind. Our mission is our calling to this profession. It speaks to our members not only as healthcare providers and advocates, but also as human beings that demonstrate compassion and caring on a daily basis.
We are called to stand against racism, injustice, and discrimination of any kind. We are called to act more boldly than ever before to stand alongside each other, both to support our colleagues and friends within the profession, while also representing our core values to the larger community. Our mission calls on us to support our members and prospective members within our professional ranks. It calls on us to create and support mechanisms that allow current and future generations to feel welcome in our profession. Finally, it calls on us to stand with our patients and clients that we serve through our knowledge, expertise, and shared humanity.
The Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist, as well as the Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant, forms the foundation of how we as physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students define our professional identity. These documents, which call on us to respect the inherent dignity and rights of all individuals through compassion and integrity, compel us to act when we see these values disregarded in practice. They call on us to be trustworthy and compassionate in addressing the rights and needs of patients and clients as part of our professional duty. They call on us to demonstrate integrity in our relationships with all whom we encounter. Finally, and most importantly, they call on us to participate in efforts to meet the health needs of people locally, nationally, and/or globally. This is our social responsibility as part of the physical therapy community.
I ask each of you now, more than ever, to live these professional obligations through your words and your actions. As we remember the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, we must not forget the generations that have lived in fear, suffering, and distress due to social inequality, racism, discrimination, and injustice in healthcare and in society. As we remember the situations that have led us here, we must not lose sight of the current generation of professionals and students who have experienced discrimination based upon their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or other forms of prejudice from our society. We must act now to support those in our professional ranks and those that we serve in society. I urge each of you to watch and read APTA President Sharon Dunn’s address last night to the APTA House of Delegates to further amplify the message, and subsequently, our charge as a profession.
APTA Georgia is called by our Association’s bold vision to “Transform Society”, and that change must start now. We all must listen to and respect one another. We must seek to understand the things that we do not know, free of bias. We must support one another as equals, and demonstrate the compassion that we hope to see mirrored in our society. This issue is a humanitarian issue, not a political one.
APTA Georgia recognizes the need to support and advocate for all individuals who have experienced discrimination. The voice of the under-represented is needed now more than ever, and APTA Georgia aims to support this. APTA Georgia is working with our Minority Mentoring Focused Interest Network, led by Dr. Katherine Sylvester, on initiatives to help support the cause. Our Member Spotlight will shift to highlight and focus on the efforts of minority leaders within our professional community, promoting their words, stories, and accomplishments to be shared with our colleagues. We are in discussions about ways that we can share the experiences of our colleagues who have experienced discrimination in a powerful and meaningful manner to be shared with the physical therapy profession. We will not stop here. We will continue to dialogue, as all of these actions fall directly in line with the mission, vision, and strategic plan for our organization.
As a society, we must act now. As a healthcare community, we must be the drivers of change. Our professional identity, vision, mission, and ethical code of conduct require it of every single one of us. Start today: listen first, and then seek to understand from a position of compassion and utmost regard for every individual.
Daniel Dale, PT, DPT
On behalf of the APTA Georgia Board of Directors and Staff