THE STATE OF BLACK REHABILITATION COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ENDEAVOR
Addressing the needs of any community at individual, societal, and systemic levels requires a comprehensive, yet careful approach. The complex and diverse Black community requires special attention to fully understand how the nuances of its history as well as the formation of positive partnerships can impact health, wellness, research, and rehabilitation services.
WHEREAS,continuation of status quo disengagement with minoritized communities is a known harm to underserved and vulnerable health populations;
WHEREAS, there is inconsistent intentional engagement of the Black community across the lifespan to optimize individual and societal health outcomes, advocacy, and quality of life;
WHEREAS, there is inadequate representation of Black practitioners to facilitate culturally responsive care and research;
WHEREAS,there is a lack of acknowledgment of the history, current climate, and role of systemic racism and its impact on the social determinants of health and well-being of the Black individual and community;
WHEREAS, there is a lack of connectivity between Black communities and rehabilitation practitioners resulting in decreased access to treatment and poor therapeutic alliances;
WHEREAS,efforts to address social determinants of health do not include a pathway for individual clinicians to engage;
WHEREAS,efforts and funding to conduct community-participatory research and address barriers within Black communities are limited;
WHEREAS, data are collected and utilized inappropriately to support policy initiatives by local, national, and government organizations and associations;
WHEREAS, there is lack of clear guidance and clarity regarding the knowledge base, support or allowance for rehabilitation practitioners and students to participate in social justice initiatives; now, therefore be it
WE call for intentional approaches and accountability aimed at community engagement to promote best practice, address health disparities, expand representation of Black practitioners, and increase access to quality rehabilitation services for Black consumers. These efforts will be achieved through the following:
1. Increased intentional efforts to engage the community and address health disparities to establish culturally responsive care and services for Black consumers.
2. Targeted priorities and funding for community participatory research to address pertinent issues identified in and by the Black community.
3. Intentional education of all rehabilitation practitioners on identifying the social determinants of health in community and professional organizations to provide resources and support that address the needs of the community.
4. Broadening the educational experience to include the history of racial injustices in the development of the healthcare ecosystem in the United States of America and its impact on Black community engagement in research.
5. Development of community-driven initiatives to explore and address rehabilitation deserts, as defined as inadequate access to rehabilitative care, and any other unmet rehabilitative needs through the emancipation and liberation of ideas and action plans from within the community. 6. Identifying or developing policies that designate rehabilitation clinics located in underserved communities eligible for the funding that is received by Federally Qualified Health Centers.