Setchell J1, Ossai U2, Shoiab M3, Busuttil M-L4, Blake T5
1The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 2Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, United States, 3InHealth Pain Management Solutions, Barnsley, United Kingdom, 4Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector, Ministry for Education and Employment, Valletta, Malta, 5University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Learning objective 1: To explore diversity in a safe environment, in relation to people receiving and providing physiotherapy services globally.
Learning objective 2: To explore applied implementation strategies that enhance respect for individuals and groups across physiotherapy.
Learning objective 3: To reflect critically on physiotherapy practice, policy, research and education in relation to diversity and inclusion.
Description: People, including physiotherapists, and those who seek their care, are diverse in numerous ways. We discuss how respecting and valuing difference empowers people by surpassing simple tolerance, and in turn, advances physiotherapy education, practise and policy globally. Power, privilege and oppression are rarely discussed in physiotherapy, yet have a significant impact on the relationships physiotherapists navigate1. Understanding what those concepts are, how they relate to equality and equity, and how they can be identified, redistributed and reduced is critical to the development and evolution of diversity and inclusion in the profession of physiotherapy. We highlight how physiotherapy consists of learned behaviours, beliefs, attitudes and ideals that are characteristic of the profession2,3. This creates a culture that can influence illness behaviours, health care practices, help-seeking activities, and receptivity to medical care interventions4.
We posit that a sign of a mature profession is when it can consider some of its implicit assumptions5. We discuss, for example, how physiotherapy has been questioned for its assumptions about gender6, disability7, and obesity8. We discuss how global policies and guidelines, while helpful, are not sufficient in generating equality, and resultant positive outcomes. Diversity and inclusion need to be addressed from both a macro- and micro-perspective in physiotherapy.
In this interactive symposium, we will begin with a brief introduction by Dr Jenny Setchell to outline the basic tenets of inclusion and diversity as it relates to physiotherapy. Each speaker will then explore an applied example of working with diversity in physiotherapy contexts. Mr Mohammad Shoiab will relay how he addressed cultural diversity to develop the UK´s first language specific, and culturally adapted, pain management approach. Using this example, he will highlight how particular forms of rehabilitation that are common in physiotherapy, such as self-management, are particularly Western cultural constructs9. Dr Uchenna Ossai will discuss her extensive work with gender diversity in pelvic healthcare settings. She will highlight how gender diversity intersects with other aspects of diversity such as race. Ms Maria-Louisa Busuttil will explore the experience of physiotherapy practice, teaching and policy in small countries. Drawing on her work with diversity and inclusion in her home country of Malta, she will highlight how as Fund Manager for the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector, where she supports voluntary organisations to consider such issues. Finally, Dr Tracy Blake will draw from her work in equity in sports and exercise medicine, highlighting practical strategies and initiatives within this community that have undertaken to work towards greater diversity/inclusion. An interactive session with the audience will follow. This session will include facilitated opportunities for the audience members to discuss and reflect on their own experiences of diversity, inclusion, power and privilege in physiotherapy. There will also be opportunities to ask questions of the speakers. The session will conclude with summary remarks from the Chair.
Implications / Conclusions: This Focused Symposium will encourage physiotherapists to reflect critically on the professions practice, policy, research and education in relation to diversity and inclusion. The symposium will highlight approaches and implementation strategies that can inspire physiotherapists across roles, specialities and professional settings to integrate diversity into education, training programmes and clinical practice. The session will help develop the profession's capacity to actively promote diversity and inclusion within the profession.
Key-words: 1. Diversity 2. Inclusion 3. Power
Funding acknowledgements: N/A
Relevance to physical therapy globally: Power, privilege and oppression are rarely discussed in physiotherapy, yet highly influential concepts with a significant impact on the relationships physiotherapists navigate. Understanding what those concepts are, how they relate to equality and equity, and how they can be identified, redistributed and reduced is critical to the development and evolution of diversity and inclusion in the profession of physiotherapy.
Target audience: Consistent with diversity and inclusion, the session will appeal to a broad audience including clinicians, educators, policy makers, researchers and (post)graduate students across sub-disciplines.