Skip to main content

Resources for Deepening Understanding of Racism in the Context of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation

Systemic Racism In The United States (And Yes, In Canada Too)

Have you spent the last month living under a rock, blindfolded, and with headphones on? 

If you answered no to this question, it’s more than likely that you would have heard about, watched, supported, or participated in some of the non-violent protests that have been taking place around the world in support of the value of black lives, and aimed at combating the systemic racism that has led to the abuse and unjust killings of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) for centuries. The movement has recently gained considerable momentum following the murder of George Floyd by police, where the video evidence was so harrowing (yet sadly not shocking), that the world could no longer continue to turn a blind eye to the blatant human rights violations. 

Not In My Canada!

Many Canadians believe that systemic racism is an American problem. As a country, that would mean that we’ve spent the last few centuries living under a rock, blindfolded, and with cotton in our ears (headphones weren’t around yet back then). If you’d like to familiarize yourself with some of Canada’s history, here is a recent piece from Global News titled Yes, there is systemic racism in Canada — our history is filled with it to get you started. 

But systemic racism doesn’t get fixed in one day, so let’s shift our gears to our fields of expertise, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, and discuss racism in this context, to see what we can do to make things just a little less terrible.  

It Happened To One Of My Friends

I’ll share something from my own experience: As part of my studies, I was shadowing a group of family physicians, I was asked to come into the exam room to look at something interesting: Shingles. The fact that it was shingles was not the most interesting part of the story, but the fact that it was shingles on dark skin, was. All but one clinician were unable to correctly diagnose the condition as shingles, because medical textbooks, as we all know, have traditionally been white and male, but clinical presentations can manifest themselves quite differently across the realistic diversity of skin shades. Based on this, the further you are from white and male, the greater  you are at risk of being misdiagnosed and mistreated. It is our duty as healthcare practitioners to become aware of the reality of systemic racism in healthcare, and do all that we can to prevent the negative health outcomes that result from it. To help you in this task, we recently published a blog on Resources for Anti-Racism in Healthcare that we invite you to check out. Today’s blog is a continuation of that blog, and will provide you with additional resources for a deeper understanding of racism in the context of physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Resources

We will start with a webinar from Stephanie Nixon, associate professor at the University of Toronto, Department of Physical Therapy, titled, What Every Health Researcher Needs to Know About Health Equity: Privilege, Oppression and Allyship (the video is also linked in our resource table below). Dr. Nixon’s webinar discusses the coin-model of privilege and critical allyship. In addition to this webinar, we have also included her article on the same subject in our resource table below.  

What Every Health Researcher Needs to Know About Health Equity: Privilege, Oppression and Allyship

 

Resource Table For Deepening Understanding Of Racism In The Context Of Physiotherapy And Rehabilitation

Organization/Author

Information 

Where To Find It

Anna Stamborski, M. Div Candidate (2022), Nikki Zimmermann, M. Div candidate (2021), Bailie Gregory, M. Div, M.S. Ed.

Scaffolded learning resources on anti-racism for white folks. This resource is organized according to Helms’ stages of white identity development.

Anti-racism resource for white folks

Marie-Lyne Grenier, Department of Occupational Therapy, McGill University 

Article on white supermany underpinning occupational therapy: Cultural competency and the reproduction of White supremacy in occupational therapy education.

White supremacy underpinning in OT

Stephanie A. Nixon, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto

The coin model of privilege and critical allyship: implications for health

Coin model of privilege and critical allyship

Stephanie A. Nixon, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto

Coin model webinar: This 1-hour video offers an introduction to the coin model ideas in the article above. 

What Every Health Researcher Needs to Know About Health Equity: Privilege, Oppression and Allyship

rehabINK: LLana James, Sally Abudiab, & Samira Said Omar

Racialization and racism: Uncovering the implicit in rehabilitation sciences and research

Racism in rehabilitation sciences and research

University of Toronto, Department of Physical Therapy 

University of Toronto Department of PT Statement of Solidarity with Black communities

Department of Physical Therapy Statement of Solidarity with Black Communities

 

SURJ-TO

A fantastic organization for white folks who wish to deepen their anti-racist action. 

https://surjtoronto.com/

 

This resource table is a single drop in a vast ocean of work to be done to make our world just a little more equitable. Some of us are forced to navigate the realities of systemic racism in our lives on a day-to-day basis, others seldom encounter it, while a few others cannot even fathom its existence.

Wherever you may find yourself on this spectrum, (and especially if you believe systemic racism to be a thing of fairy tales), as a healthcare practitioner, the onus of responsibility falls on each of us to understand the complexities of these issues and apply the necessary tools and changes to make things better; ignorance is no longer an option.

---

Blog writer, editor: Nataliya Zlotnikov

Subscribe to Our Blog

© 2020 Embodia