In the Fall of 2020, the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy announced that “our community of faculty, staff and students recognize that we cannot excel in the practice of physical therapy while ignoring the racism that permeates the system in which we practice. We developed our Division’s 2020-2021 Comprehensive Anti-Racism Plan in order to begin the process of becoming an anti-racist organization.
We made great accomplishments over the past year, however, it is essential for our community to continue the work we have begun. The pervasive injustices that inhabit higher education and our health care system require us to be consistent and tenacious. Therefore, we choose to continue to guide our work with objective and measurable goals through this next year. Our set of goals for the 2021-2022 academic year will guide us through our second year of work towards being a more equitable, diverse, inclusive and anti-racist community.
Download a PDF of our 2021-2022 Comprehensive Anti-Racism Plan
The Diversity, Anti-Racism, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DARIC) Council guides the division’s strategic priorities to foster diversity in the recruitment and retention of our students, staff and faculty; provide an inclusive, anti-racist environment where all members of the community are valued and feel welcomed; and to promote population health equity.
The USC Physical Therapy Multicultural Leadership Alliance (PTMLA) is a student-run organization striving to raise awareness about physical therapy as a profession and healthcare service. The leadership and service opportunities afforded through outreach events and educational programs at local schools are enriching for both the students and communities involved. PTMLA is active in serving global communities in need and promoting awareness of PT as a profession in the local community. With more than 10 years of history at USC, its members have grown from being leaders in the classroom to being leaders in the health care field.
“Promote cultural competency within the Physical Therapy profession through educational programming, service learning, fundraising and advocacy for PT as a career option. Through acceptance, fun learning environment, and support, PTMLA members will gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be cultural experts within the PT profession.”
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The Asian Pacific Islander Student Affinity Group is a group dedicated to promoting knowledge regarding the Asian Pacific Islander experience to all USC BKNPT students, faculty and alumni.
We hope to provide group members with knowledge, networking opportunities, mentorship connections and community during our open group discussions about current events/history and hosting speakers.
The Black Students Affinity Group is a student led group that provides a safe space for Black students within the Division. Our meetings serve as a place for Black students to build a supportive community as well as share challenges that others in the group can identify with and provide support and resources for. Additional benefits to the group include opportunities for leadership, mentorship and encouraging Black students and allies to make positive change within our Division and communities.
The Caregiver Affinity Group (CAG) is a student-led group with an open invitation for individuals within the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy (students, faculty and staff) who, along with managing school/career/self, have a stake in caregiving for another person. Caregiving can take many forms, for example — care for children, older adults and significant others. The purpose of the CAG is to provide a safe space for caregivers and their partners to develop a community of inquiry around the important aspects of caregiving, provide support for each other and offer an outlet for stress management. In addition, the CAG will strive to provide advocacy when issues arise within the Division that affect caregivers and their families. The CAG is open to all who wish to be a part of this community of learning around caregiving.
The goal of the International Students and Allies Affinity Group (ISAAG) is to create a multicultural community for international students to share, inquire and support each other as they pursue their educational, professional and personal goals at the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at USC. Our group comprises students, post-docs, staff and faculty who are non-residents, residents and citizens. We will provide a safe space for international students and allies to discuss topics such as immigration, English as a second language, inclusion and living in the United States.
The LGBTQQIA+ Affinity Group provides a closed space for members of the Division who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual or as a member of another minoritized gender identity or sexual orientation. We meet to support each other, explore ways to improve culture and inclusivity in the Division and have fun! We also host open sessions for allies to join us in these discussions.
The Middle Eastern Affinity Group is a Division organization run by students that seeks to provide a safe and informative community for people of Middle Eastern ethnicity and/or affiliation to discuss their cultural experiences, concerns and opportunities regarding being a student, alumnus, faculty member or staff member at USC and in the US. Of particular interest is how these experiences shape physical therapy practice, education and research.
To date the group has explored the following topics:
SEARCH exists for students to explore, process and learn in an interactive and reflective manner on how to be better allies and advocates in the pursuit of being anti-racist. These discussions are intended to stimulate personal growth by creating a safe place to progress as well as explore what it looks like to be increasingly anti-racist as an individual, a DPT student, a healthcare provider, as well as a member of our local, national and global community. The intention is to give primarily White and non-Black persons the opportunity to discuss race and our role in equality and equity without overburdening our Black peers, but all are welcome. We hope to augment the work of Black, Indigenous AND People of Color by uplifting and supporting PTMLA and other student affinity groups.
USC has partnered with Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically Black university, to create a pipeline for promising students interested in entering the field of physical therapy.
Once accepted into the program, XULA students will receive mentorship from USC faculty members as well as summer opportunities to gain research clinical experience.
After graduating from XULA, Early Assurance Program students will be admitted to USC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, given they’ve completed all program requirements, including maintaining a 3.2 GPA and completing all prerequisite courses and required clinical experience hours.
USC Program Contact: Terry Richardson II
Nearly 80 percent of the physical therapy profession is Caucasian, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is our goal to increase the number of individuals from underrepresented, historically marginalized groups in the profession, mirroring the societal makeup of the patients we treat. The following show how our efforts compare to U.S. national averages.
We take bias, bigotry and hate very seriously and want every member of our community to feel welcome and safe. We encourage all community members who have witnessed or experienced a bias incident to report it. You may do so by following the link below. Your report can be completely anonymous (we do not even track IP addresses) if you would like. You can include your name and contact information, if you would like a follow-up. Your report will be directed to the Chair of the Diversity, Anti-Racism, Inclusion and Community Engagement Council for further review and resolution. Note: If you have witnessed a crime, or feel you are in immediate danger, please contact the USC Department of Public Safety at (323) 442-1000 for emergencies and (323) 442-1200 for non-emergencies.BIAS INCIDENT REPORTING FORM