Decolonizing Physical Therapist Practice, Education, and Research


Todd Davenport: 0000-0001-5772-7727


Physical Therapy


Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are charged with transforming and improving the health of society. In advancing this mission, APTA calls upon its members to serve on community-based teams focused on the development of programs that reduce disease risk, prevent long-term disability, and promote health across the life course. Consumer and community engagement are central to this work, yet PTs and PTAs are ill-equipped to address the complex interdependence between poor health outcomes and the social, environmental, and political factors that influence health. As a profession, we have focused much of our attention on individual risk factors while overlooking how social and structural determinants intersect to create individual vulnerabilities. These determinants have been, in turn, shaped by our modern collective history, with origins in conquest, enslavement, and genocide. Speakers will seek to reframe health narratives regarding “vulnerable” populations by tracing the roots of that vulnerability to their source in colonial medicine. Using learning cases, attendees will critically examine the ways colonial policies endure to perpetuate structural violence on our communities, consider how we might challenge hegemonic perspectives in community health, and evaluate strategies for decolonizing PT/PTA practice, education, and research.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

American Physical Therapy Association, Combined Sections Meeting

Conference Dates

February 2-5, 2022

Conference Location

San Antonio, TX

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