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Critical Conversations on Equity, Access, and Inclusion in PM&R, Health Care, and Society

About Us

You're invited to participate in a series of thoughtful discussions on racial equity, access, and inclusion in today’s world.

Upcoming discussions in this series will examine topics including:

  • Racial Disparities in Patient Care Highlighted by COVID-19
  • Multicultural Leadership in PM&R
  • 2020 Assembly of Delegates Focused on Advancing Inclusion Within Our Communities

We are committed to creating space for these often-difficult discussions and learning from them. We are listening and continuing to work toward enhancing a welcoming environment for all members.

Multicultural Leadership within PM&R – Dissolving Barriers: Cultivation of Diversity from Both Sides of the Fence

The AAPM&R Diversity and Inclusion Committee is proud to facilitate this special cross-cultural workshop. Multicultural Leadership within PM&R - Dissolving Barriers: Cultivation of Diversity from Both Sides of the Fence is aimed at helping you understand current challenges and develop best strategies and practices for individual and institutional leadership development. Coming out of this session, you'll be able to recognize and overcome pitfalls of implicit bias and learn methods to identify "good" diverse candidates and build more multicultural residency training programs and work teams. This critical conversation was held at AAPM&R's 2020 Virtual Annual Assembly on Friday, November 13.

View this critical conversation on our Online Learning Portal.

Healthcare Disparities in PMR & Beyond

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities defines health disparities as “differences in the health status of different groups of people." Healthcare disparities exist throughout the patient population that our PM&R community serves. The aim of this session is to raise awareness about the prevalence and impact of healthcare disparities for the Native American/Indigenous population, African American population and the LatinX population.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the term implicit bias and the difference between health equity and health equality.
  • Learn how systemic injustices affect our collective PM&R patient population.
  • Recognize how the patient population you treat may be impacted by healthcare disparities and collect resources to guide further learning.

This session was originally held on Saturday, November 14 at AAPM&R's 2020 Virtual Annual Assembly. It is accessible as part of our new online education subscription.

AAPM&R’s Diversity and Inclusion Journey

Our second critical conversation in this series, AAPM&R's Diversity and Inclusion Journey, hosted by Academy Board of Governors Vice President, Deborah Venesy, MD, FAAPMR; the Academy’s Inclusion and Engagement Committee, chaired by D.J. Kennedy, MD, FAAPMR; and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Carla Watson, MD, FAAPMR; was held on October 1, 2020.

We reflected on our diversity and inclusion journey that is underway, reviewed efforts that led to the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, recapped the goals of the plan, unveiled the Academy’s new Principles of Inclusion and Engagement and shared new initiatives on the horizon.

Reaching our diversity and inclusion goals will require the engagement of all sectors and perspectives of the PM&R community – a united effort that reflects the necessity of, and our commitment to, our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.

View this critical conversation on our Online Learning Portal.

Learn more about how the Academy advances diversity and inclusion here.

African American Physiatrist Series

This series is dedicated to highlighting the voices of African Americans in physiatry. Chaitanya Konda, DO interviewed three Black physiatrisit leaders who are ushering in a new era for diversity, acceptance and excellence. Read about their experiences and contributions to the PM&R community:

Understanding the African American Physiatrist Experience

Our first critical conversation in this series, Understanding the African American Physiatrist Experience, was held on Tuesday, July 14. The AAPM&R Board of Governors wanted to listen and understand how racial inequities have impacted African American members of our PM&R community through your professional journey. Members came together in a safe space to share experiences to increase the Academy Board’s understanding and future planning to provide ongoing support for our members and advance this critical need for the specialty.

Learn more about the Academy's Diversity & Inclusion efforts, including our strategic goals and initiatives.

A Letter from Our President

"We have a fundamental obligation to not only acknowledge institutionalized racism, but insist that recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic does not mean a return to “normal,” but a conscious rebuilding of a Society in which we truly believe all persons “are created equal..."—Michelle S. Gittler, MD, FAAPMR 

Read her full editorial on PhyzForum.


AAPM&R's Recent Statement 

AAPM&R Remains Steadfast in its Commitment to Equity, Inclusivity, and Respect for Human Dignity 

Rosemont, IL, May 31, 2020 – With the recent deplorable acts of racism in our country, we, as the Board of Governors want all members of the PM&R community to know that AAPM&R remains steadfast in its commitment to equity and inclusivity, and respect for human dignity. To our African American members, we stand with you as a community during this time of extreme pain in a country in utter turmoil.

“The ongoing crisis of institutional racism in our country and the COVID-19 pandemic show us that previously accepted “norms” of the U.S. healthcare system and within society must be critically examined and structurally changed to enable a path for healing. It will require difficult and uncomfortable dialogues, but it is the only way for us to create an inclusive path forward that is different from the past,” Michelle Gittler, MD, AAPM&R President.

As of today, your Academy has united with our peer primary medical associations in the Council of Medical Specialty Societies to release the following statement:

With more than 800,000 physicians across 45 specialties, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) deplores the negative impact of racism in our nation and of racial inequities in our healthcare system. Racism undermines public health. CMSS steadfastly supports its member specialty societies working to promote equity and reduce the adverse impact of racism systemically. We are committed to using our platform to improve the health of every patient we serve.