Evan Papa is Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program for Tufts University (Seattle, WA). Throughout his academic career in physical therapist education, he has been a strong advocate on the local and national level for healthcare equity and increased racial/ethnic diversity within the physical therapist profession.
The physical therapy profession is one of the least diverse and most poorly representative of our population when compared to other health care professions. Despite the US population being 13% Black, the December 2020, Physical Therapy Workforce Analysis showed that less than 4% of Physical Therapists and 6% of Physical Therapist Assistants are Black. There is an even larger gap in the Hispanic and Latinx communities.
In 2022-2023 he is a Tisch Faculty Fellow at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. Dr. Papa’s project, entitled “Improving the Culture of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Physical Therapy” is designed to raise awareness to these disparities and provide recommendations for improvement through two mechanisms: 1) as an invited speaker at the 2022 American Physical Therapy Association annual conference, where Dr. Papa will be speaking on ways to inclusively conduct demographic data collection for marginalized groups, including African American, LGBTQ+ and Tribal communities, among others; and 2) preparing a white paper for dissemination in a leading journal for Physical therapists on the topic of improving access to grants and scholarly support for historically marginalized investigators in the rehabilitation field.