THE STATE OF BLACK REHABILITATION PRACTICE ENDEAVOR
Black people exhibit medical mistrust as a result of multigenerational health care abuse. Racial discordance between a patient/client and the healthcare provider predicts inadequate quality of care. The lack of Black representation among rehabilitation providers further exacerbates health disparities within Black communities.
WHEREAS, there is underrepresentation of Black rehabilitation practitioners in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech language pathology;
WHEREAS,there is underrepresentation of Black rehabilitation practice owners, administrators, researchers, and leaders;
WHEREAS, there is underrepresentation of Black practitioners and students trained and engaged in research;
WHEREAS,there is decreased knowledge of the perceived and actual impact of bias and health disparities in the delivery of rehabilitation services;
WHEREAS, there is decreased knowledge of cultural responsiveness and the needed skills to improve cross-cultural interactions;
WHEREAS, there is lack of acknowledgement of racial and cultural trauma as a public health concern within the rehabilitation fields;
WHEREAS, there are limited opportunities to continually assess racial and cultural safety concerns and competencies in educational and practice settings;now, therefore be it
HARM, whether intentional or unintentional, is being done to the Black community as a result of the lack of Black rehabilitation representation, poor quality care, and barriers to healthcare access. Since practice is driven by educational training, post-professional training, licensing rules, and policies, immediate and consistent action and funding is required in the following primary areas:
1. Developing outcome measures of inclusivity for all practice settings and educational programs.
2. Ensuring inclusive climates within all practice settings and educational programs through routine climate scans, action plans, and other surveillance measures and implementation to address threats to inclusivity.
3. Increasing funding, training, and partnerships with Black practitioners and students to build capacity for conduction, translation, and dissemination of equitable community-based research.
4. Mandating cultural awareness, humility, and responsiveness education/training as a requirement for initial licensure and renewal.
5. Requiring the inclusion of cultural responsiveness measures in performance evaluations/reviews and mandating that someone who is qualified to evaluate cultural responsiveness be responsible for the assessment of this area for competence.
6. Documenting micro- and macroaggressions and requiring professional development plans and action to protect rehabilitation practitioners and the public.
7. Requiring systematic evaluations to include questions about experiences related to cultural bias and trauma.
8. Employing an ombudsman at each professional organization to collect event data, assist with the identification of resources, and provide guidance to the organizations. 9. Partner with key stakeholders to address areas in rehabilitation practice that increase the disease or condition burden for consumers due to health and healthcare access and quality.