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By: Jasdeep Dhir, Chair, Orthopaedic Division, Canadian Physiotherapy Association & Lindsay Scott, Communications Chair, Orthopaedic Division, Canadian Physiotherapy Association

According to physics:

  1. Energy is defined as the capacity to do work.1
  2. Work is the energy transfer that occurs when an object is moved over a distance by an applied force.2
  3. Force, a push or pull on an object, is said to do positive work if the application of force results in movement in the desired direction.3

Why all this talk around physics?

On July 9, 2020, the National Orthopaedic Division (OD) of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) was honoured to host a webinar presented by Dr. Tracy Blake entitled, “The Internet is Free: Progressing Past Awareness and Towards Racial Justice in Physiotherapy”.4 Prior to organizing the webinar, the OD Executive came together with the intention of creating a space for ourselves, our members, and our physiotherapy community to engage in conversation around inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism; a space to learn, unlearn, reflect, and question.

Towards the end of the presentation, Dr. Blake left us with several impactful calls to action. This one, in particular, resonated:

“Institutionalized racism within physiotherapy will remain largely undisrupted unless individuals in positions of privilege choose to address it intentionally and explicitly.”4

It was with this call to action that we recognized, “It’s time to get to ‘work’.”

It is abundantly clear that we have remarkable energy. The capacity to do work is most definitely there. What we need now is the force required to take that energy and put it to use. We need to determine ways to establish initiatives, policies, and visions and then apply them and push them in a way that creates movement in a desired direction – positive work.

“When force is applied to an object, the force has the potential to change the direction, velocity, and shape of an object.”
Newton’s Second Law of Motion5

That energy displayed so prominently by our members, executive, and community in recent months will remain nothing more than a capacity to make change until we actively apply forces in the right direction. With that in mind, the OD is committed to:

  • Information gathering and sharing;
  • Collaboration; and
  • Reviewing position, policies, and recruitment.
     

Information Gathering and Sharing

In an effort to provide barrier-free access to resources, we have been developing a resource library focused on health care that will be housed on the forward-facing side of the OD website. This resource library will provide both members and non-members an opportunity to gain awareness and delve deeper into topics specific to our role as health care providers. We are also planning to review content that is shared via our OD channels and we will look to offer a minimum of two learning opportunities on an annual basis to encourage continued conversation, action, and opportunities for growth and change. We will also engage in discussions with the CPA on how we can support physiotherapists to not only consider equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism in the delivery of care, but also look to offer support for physiotherapists that have experienced discrimination.

Collaboration

Working on initiatives universal in nature has allowed the OD to seek out the opportunity to collaborate with other Divisions and provincial Branches. The CPA national office and the OD have been in close communication with the Global Health Division (GHD) of the CPA to explore where we can align objectives and work together. The GHD team has been a leader in providing resources to members and has established the Indigenous Health Sub-Committee, which explores Indigenous health equity. Considering and including content on equity, equality, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism should be common ground – a universal initiative and an area in which we can and should work together. If we walk and work together, we will be able to move further and faster. 

Review of Position, Policies, and Recruitment

In addition to the creation of a resource library, the OD holds itself accountable to the fact that most, if not all, of our current policies and standards do not explicitly reflect inclusion, equity, equality, diversity, and anti-racism. In the coming months, we are committed to reviewing policies around the informational content that is shared with physiotherapists to ensure we are continuously providing relevant content through tools such as webinars, the Orthopaedic Division’s Clinical Updates, and the OD-led events and courses. We will look to create opportunities for those individuals that are reflected as being under the coin.6 These policies are important to ensure that we actively engage in important discussions and be held accountable to our commitments. We will also look to review our executive’s recruitment strategies to ensure the make-up of the executive is reflective and represents the make-up of the profession.

 

In our efforts, we have also sought the support of the CPA national office to provide publicly accessible position statements on equity, equality, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. As a Division falling under the umbrella of the CPA, internal consistency on positions and stance should be maintained. The CPA national office is working with its Components and consultants to develop position statements and it has been communicated that this is a priority for the CPA.  Having a stance – a position – holds the CPA, including all of its Divisions, Branches, Assemblies, and members, accountable, just as the OD sharing our initiatives in this blog holds our Division accountable. We appreciate that, as a national and international body, the process must be intentional and that thoughtful consideration needs to go into the development of these position statements. At the same time, we ask the CPA national office to consider, recognize, and reflect on the fact that the energy and capacity to do work is here NOW. We need to be able to transfer this energy to do the work that is needed NOW. We are all already late in our efforts.

“An object at rest will stay at rest until an external force acts upon it.” - Newton’s First Law of Motion7

We, meaning the collective ‘we’ that includes all parts of the CPA’s member community and its Branches, need to combine and apply our forces in order to ensure that we are moving in the right direction. The energy of this community is undeniable. Let’s hold one another accountable as we translate energy into forward movement and get to work!

 


Jasdeep Dhir (she/her) is currently the Acting Director of Clinical Education for the Master of Science (Physiotherapy) Program at McMaster University. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor (PT) in the School of Rehabilitation Science and has over 20 years of clinical experience in orthopaedic physiotherapy. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy and has also earned the Clinical Specialist, Musculoskeletal designation from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA). Jas is an advocate for the profession as demonstrated by her numerous committee involvements. She is currently the Chair of the National Orthopaedic Division of the CPA. She has international teaching experience and has presented at symposia at both the provincial and national levels. She is also involved in providing and facilitating a variety of post professional educational courses and has been recognized and awarded for excellence in mentorship by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.  

 

Lindsay Scott (she/her) is a Toronto-based physiotherapist with a passion for arming runners with the tools they need to discover resilience, strength, and fearlessness in pursuit of their goals. Lindsay developed an interest in leadership within the physiotherapy profession while working towards her MClSc (MT) at Western University and becoming a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy. Since then, she has served as the Communications Chair with the National Orthopaedic Division and is co-founder of The Runner’s Academy EDU, providing a practical approach for clinicians to assess, treat, and elevate those with big running goals.


 

References

  1. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2020, May 29). Energy | Definition, Types, & Examples | Britannica. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/science/energy
  2. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2020, May 12). Work | Definition, Formula, & Units | Britannica. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/science/work-physics
  3. The Editors of Encylopaedia Britannica. (2020, March 31). Force | Definition & Formula | Britannica. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/science/force-physics
  4. Blake, T., Orthopaedic Division & Canadian Physiotherapy Association. (2020, July 9). The Internet is Free: Progressing Past Awareness and Towards Racial Justice in Physiotherapy – Sponsored by the Orthopaedic Division. Retrieved from: https://cpa.embodiaacademy.com/webinars/185-the-internet-is-free-progressing-past-awareness-and-towards-racial-justice-in-physiotherapy
  5. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2020, February 3). Newton’s laws of motion | Definition, Examples, & History | Britannica. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/science/Newtons-laws-of-motion
  6. Nixon, S.A. (2019, December 5). The coin model of privilege and critical allyship: implications for health. BMC Public Health, 19 (1637). doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-7884-9
  7. Hall, N. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (2015, May 5). Newton’s Laws of Motion. Retrieved from: https://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/newton.html#:~:text=Newton's%20first%20law%20states%20that,as%20the%20definition%20of%20inertia.