Special Committee for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Chair: Rachel Herron, PT, DPT (she/her/hers)
Additional Members:
  • Robert Cheng (he/him), PT, DPT, OCS, COMT
  • Matt Currier (he/him), PT, DPT
  • Marissa Garvin (she/her), PT, DPT
  • Rachel Jarvie (she/her), PT, DPT, Chair of King County Student Outreach Committee, Vice Chair of King County District Committee
  • Kenny Li (he/him), SPT
  • Shawn M Rundell (she/her), PT, DPT, PCS
  • Lesley Weinberg (she/her), PT, DPT, GCS, APTA WA Professional Enhancement Panel Director


Our Mission
The APTA Washington (WA) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Special Committee aims to foster a diverse network of physical therapy professionals, who passionately collaborate to dismantle systemic injustices, address health disparities, and support the needs of minority physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, students, patients, and community members. 

This DEI Special Committee was established in June 2020 to accomplish the following goals:
  • Improve cultural responsiveness of Washington PTs, PTAs, and students.
  • Improve the physical therapy profession’s engagement with minority and underserved communities.
  • Improve the involvement of underrepresented minorities at all levels of the profession.


We strive to serve minority physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, students, patients, and community members. Our committee aligns with the following minority statuses established by The American Council of Academic Physical Therapy:
  • Racial, ethnic and cultural minorities
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity minorities
  • Nationality and immigrant status minorities
  • Individuals living with disabilities 


Transparency is important. Our Committee is in its second year of development! Our committee works to:
Maintain a social media presence to:
  • Raise awareness about the intersections between social justice issues, health inequities and physical therapy.
  • Provide networking opportunities for Washington State minority physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, students and allies.
Create and share resources, including but not limited to books, articles, podcasts, documentaries etc...that individuals can use to:
  • Facilitate access to DEI materials and empower all community members to improve their cultural responsiveness.
  • Create educational opportunities for the PT community on determinants of health/health injustices and how to combat them.
Engage with Washington state middle schools and high schools to:
  • Raise community awareness about the physical therapy profession.
  • Inspire and empower minority students to pursue the physical therapy profession.
Participate at the annual APTA WA Annual Conference to:
  • Raise awareness about the intersections between social justice issues, health inequities and physical therapy.
  • Grow our DEI Committee.
  • Share resources to address DEI within the physical therapy profession.


Releasing a short article discussing racial diversity within APTA WA to raise awareness around the importance of DEI efforts and the need to improve representation within our profession.

Creating a committee email; networking and mentoring student physical therapists.

Creating an APTA WA DEI Survey to connect with APTA WA members and learn how we can best support our community and accomplish our goals.

Engaging with Washington State High Schools. With the specific leadership of Rachel Jarvie, PT, DPT, and other Washington State Physical Therapy Professionals, we completed presentations at the following schools:
  • October 2019: Chief Sealth International High School, Vashon High School, Bothell High School, Rainier Beach High School, Seattle Preparatory School
  • March 2020: Auburn Mountainview High School, Eastlake High School, Bellevue High School, Chinook Middle School, Inglemoor High School, Chief Sealth International High School, Interlake High School
  • Topics of our presentations: What is Physical Therapy? Things to consider about our profession and next steps in order to join our profession.
  • If you are interested in participating in future student outreach initiatives, please sign up here.

Supporting a Diversity in Healthcare Mentorship Program Partnering with the Health Committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Goal of this program: educating, inspiring and mentoring a diverse group of young leaders into healthcare careers.

Participating in the 2021 Lynda D. Woodruff Lecture & Juneteenth Panel.
 To watch this lecture and panel, click here.

Collaborating with a neighboring chapter, APTA Idaho in the development of their own DEI Committee.

Participating in the 2021 APTA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill-
 speaking with the following offices about important issues our profession is facing including medicare cuts, diversity efforts, student loans, telehealth, and health disparities:
  • Representative Kim Schrier
  • Senator Patty Murray
  • Senator Maria Cantwell
  • Representative Adam Smith


  • To release a podcast/interview series.
  • To engage with students at four or more Washington State middle schools or high schools.
  • Participate in the 2022 APTA WA Annual Conference.


We are humbly doing our best to accomplish our mission for the betterment of our community. Our Committee highly values the input of our Washington State PTs, PTAs, students and community members. We also enjoy collaborating with folks from other states, who are actively engaging in DEI efforts. Please contact us via email with any questions, suggestions, or concerns.


Interested in some recent DEI discussions at the national level of our profession? Click on the following links to access the recorded APTA live DEI Panel Discussions:


We would like to thank the Cultural Minority Affairs committee, of the APTA Oregon Chapter, for their assistance in the development of our committee!