DEI is Critical for Empowering our Patients, Staff, and Communities
The APTQI Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Steering Committee assists the Board of Directors in creating and supporting initiatives that will empower APTQI’s member companies to promote diversity and equity in the workplace and inclusion in the communities in which they serve. In a new guest blog post, Nick Weber, MSPT, ATC, Chief Operating Officer of Team Rehab, discusses why advancing DEI is so important to our patients and to the physical therapy profession.
Since opening our first clinic over two decades ago, Team Rehab has worked tirelessly to empower our patients, our staff, and our community. As part of our mission to provide the best outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, Team Rehab believes in treating all people with respect and empathy.
We strive to ensure our patients enjoy therapy and experience clear improvements in their health. In order to do that, we know we must create a safe, comfortable environment in which every patient and team member can be their true selves. We also know that building long-term, trusting relationships with patients means investing in a workforce that reflects—and celebrates—the diversity of the communities we serve.
Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at every level is vital to us meeting this goal. The common standards that all of our clinics and employees adhere to have long promoted respect for everyone—no exceptions. Importantly, these standards have prohibited any kind of discrimination or practices that might be offensive or insulting. In order to foster a positive and equitable environment for our staff and patients, we strongly believe there is no place for bigotry at Team Rehab. Our common standards have created a strong foundation from which we continue to build.
As we’ve continued to grow together, Team Rehab has implemented the following practices:
- Prioritized building a workforce representing a wide variety of backgrounds to ensure our patients see themselves reflected in the healthcare professionals who treat them.
- Strengthened our recruiting efforts to focus on hiring more people of color.
- Provided unconscious bias training for staff to ensure that sexism, racism, ageism, or any other discriminatory attitude does not reflect in any of our behavior—even inadvertently.
- Invested in a diversity committee, which holds monthly meetings to set goals and objectives for the year and to discuss ways to further advance DEI in our company and in our field.
- Hosted open discussions on DEI through company-wide town halls that are held on a quarterly basis.
- Established a mentoring program to get more high school and college aged students who live in underserved areas interested in physical therapy.
Finally, we are proud to continue an initiative called Team NEON (Neighborhood Enrichment and Outreach Network), through which we maintain brightly decorated boxes in clinics to accept goods or donations for local causes or needs. To inspire generosity and community involvement of our staff outside of the clinic, we allow for 1 day of community outreach/service for all employees per year.
Team Rehab is dedicated to promoting DEI and removing all barriers that may inhibit progress towards a healthier, more equitable future. While we have made important steps forward, we know there is a lot more work to do. In the months and years ahead, we will continue working to ensure all our patients, staff, and communities feel represented and empowered.