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Building the Foundation of a Socially Responsible Profession
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When: Thursday, July 16, 2020
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Where: Webinar
United States
Presenter: Maria C. Aguila, PT, DPT; Fatmata Kabia, MPA, EdD (c); Jazmine Tooles, PT, DPT

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Building the Foundation of a Socially Responsible Profession (2 CEs)

Transforming society, as movement experts, entails that we, as practitioners also, become adept in navigating and applying important skills. As outlined in the Guiding Principles that support the APTA Vision: The physical therapy profession embraces cultural competence as a necessary skill to ensure best practice in providing physical therapist services by responding to individual and cultural considerations, needs, and values. There is also a need for cultivating diversity in the physical therapy workforce to reflect the diversity of the communities and society we serve. How do we become more culturally competent practitioners so that we can navigate the diverse conversations and interactions while ensuring that our interventions are evidence based? There is no one route, there are different ways to achieve a common goal and they are being explored at different levels. Explore the benefits of a holistic admissions approach in engaging underrepresented minority groups, community outreach programs to raise awareness in as young as elementary schoolchildren, and engagement opportunities for professionals and students. Learn various approaches in cultural competence initiatives at individual, employer, component, and national levels. 

COVID 19 has reinforced the importance of DEI efforts to address social issues impacting health.



Maria C. Aguila, PT, DPT; Fatmata Kabia, MPA, EdD (c); Jazmine Tooles, PT, DPT



Maria C. Aguila, PT, DPT

Maria Aguila, PT, DPT received her BSPT degree at the FEUNRMF School of PT in the Philippines in 1999. She worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry for three years then migrated to the United States to practice PT. She earned her DPT at Rutgers School of Health Professions in Newark, NJ in 2009. Maria together with her husband Ben, a fellow PT, opened their outpatient orthopedic clinic in Jersey City, NJ serving their local community to this day. She is also an Adjunct Instructor at the Rutgers Newark DPT Program for Therapeutic Exercises. She serves as Council Director for the APTANJ as liaison to the Cultural Diversity Committee and to the PT/PTA Schools in NJ. She is also a founding officer and Secretary of a non- profit alumni organization, FUTURE Foundation, which aims to advocate for the PT Profession globally. She has participated and lectured in various topics locally and Internationally. She was a recipient of the First FEUNRMF Most Outstanding Alumni Award in Career Achievement in 2016, the Societal Impact Award from the APTA National in 2019 and Rutgers Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019. Maria and Ben with their kids, Christian and Chelsea also serves in their local parish in Livingston, NJ.


Fatmata Kabia, MPA, EdD (c)

Fatmata Kabia, MPA, EdD (c) received her Master of Public Administration degree from Rutgers University.  She is currently completing her EdD in Educational Leadership focused on higher education.  Her research interests include diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and practices in higher education, the "education gap" in graduate education, and holistic admissions strategies.  Ms. Kabia serves on the APTAnj Cultural Diversity Committee.  Currently, she is the Co-Chair of Admissions at Rutgers Doctor of Physical Therapy South Program.  She has co-presented with Drs. Aguila and Tooles during the 2020 Combined Section Meeting's Educational Session on "Physical Therapy As a Culturally Diverse and Inclusive Profession: Building the Foundation" and she presented a poster during the conference entitled "Transforming Admissions in a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program through a Holistic Approach".  Ms. Kabia is scheduled to co-present at 2021 CSM on "All Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Arrows Point to Holistic Review in Admissions: A Panel on Implementation".


Jazmine Tooles, PT, DPT

Jazmine Tooles, PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist at MossRehab’s Drucker Brain Injury Center located in Woodbury, New Jersey. While a student, she developed three physical therapy Girl Scout badges and a program called Explore the Magic of Motion. It educates Scouts from 6th-12th grade and their guardians on the profession of Physical Therapy and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise. Her alma mater, University of Delaware’s Physical Therapy Program, hosts the event annually since 2013. She is currently working with clinics and councils in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to bring the program to diverse groups. A former Lead for Diversity Ambassador, Temple University National Council of Negro Women member and University of Delaware Black Graduate Student Association member, Dr. Tooles has remained passionately involved in diversity initiatives. She currently chairs APTANJ’s Cultural Diversity Committee, PPTA’s Minority Affairs Committee and leads MossRehab’s Cultural Diversity Special Interest Group; which extends to all therapies.


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