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“We must be the cure”

I feel inadequate as I begin to discuss with you and consider the troubling times and events facing our society. We, as your APTA Pelvic Health Board, seek to console you, our members, at an inconsolable time. But as Sharon Dunn (APTA President) said in her recent message, “We must be the cure.”

APTA Pelvic Health is an Academy of the American Physical Therapy Association. Click below to review the original addresses from the APTA President.

APTA on racism and systemic inequality. APTA released a statement in the wake of unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd. “There is nothing healthy about racism. It’s a disease of the heart and mind that has infected not just people but customs, systems, and laws. There is no vaccine. We must be the cure.”

Follow up address from APTA President Dunn (scroll toward latter half of the address). The unrest in our country is a response to more than George Floyd, or Ahmaud Arbery, or Breonna Taylor, or the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minorities. It is a response to generations of death, despair, fear, and suffering. As PTs and PTAs we respect the inherent dignity and rights of all individuals. We are against discrimination. We are for addressing health disparities.”

The recent prominent violence and deaths are extremely and profoundly disquieting to all of us. The impact of these events will have long lasting effects for all of us for many years to come, emphasized by the data showing the disproportionate impact, social disparity, and social determinants of health related to COVID-19 on African-Americans. “We must be the cure.”

APTA Pelvic Health remains committed to transforming society even in the face of unprecedented times. This means we are not willing to remain silent or ignore painful times or events, including those rooted in racism, violence, hatred, oppression, and discrimination which infects the “heart and mind,” as Dr Dunn said, but we are here to walk with you as difficulties come. Join us in peaceful anti-racist conversation and actions that oppose these diseases that affect the heart and mind. Help us identify and address places where we can “be the cure” and eliminate these afflictions.

Anti-racist words and actions support our mission of transforming society by empowering professionals and people everywhere. We ask that you consider talking to other members and your patients about the history and persistence of racism and violence in America. We never know who might be struggling with direct or indirect racism. “We must be the cure.”

I take inspiration from Maya Angelou’s poem of resilience entitled Still I Rise as we face these times together to change what is wrong and hurtful in the world around us. Past performance is a predictor of future performance…unless…we move from history’s shame and rise with anti-racial words and actions that are hopeful and transformative. “We must be the cure.”

Secili DeStefano
President of APTA Pelvic Health, an Academy of the American Physical Therapy Association

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