PT Proud is a committee under the Global Health SIG of HPA The Catalyst, the Health Policy and Administration section of the APTA. PT Proud was founded first as a Catalyst Group in late 2017, then as a Committee in 2018 when separate efforts by two groups of DPT students and PT faculty were joined together. After combining efforts and with help from the HPA and faculty advisers, PT Proud gave its first presentation at CSM 2018 New Orleans. Since then, our membership and social media presence has increased significantly. We hope you join our efforts to create a better future for LGBTQIA+ patients and practitioners.
The purpose of PT Proud is to improve health care access for LGBTQIA+ patients as well as empower LGBTQIA+ students, faculty and clinicians within the physical therapy profession to influence health and well-being that is specific to sexual and gender minority populations. This will be accomplished through advocacy, networking and promotion of cultural competency/humility education while centering the interests of the membership, the HPA, the Global Health SIG and the APTA.
The mission of the LGBTQ+ committee is to unite PTs, PTAs, and students towards a common goal of affecting change in the profession of physical therapy through advocacy, policy, and promotion of cultural humility/competency education. We aim to address health disparities and positively affect the healthcare experience of LGBTQIA+ patients, students, and clinicians.
Karla A. Bell, PT, DPT
Karla has a balanced career of clinical experience, academic teaching and professional scholarly activity. Karla’s 12+ years in academics has centered around clinical expertise and board certifications in both geriatrics and orthopedics, national presentations and publication for the Orthopedic Section monograph series, clinical education expertise in national presentations and publications, and expanding curricular integration in the areas of sexual and gender minority inclusive cultural competency and humility. Karla’s most recent national presentations have focused on curricular adaptations from the medical curriculum in this area. Currently, Karla is involved in several research studies in the area of sexual and gender minority inclusive cultural competency and humility curriculum development and looking at LGBTQIA+ issues in physical therapy. Karla is currently pursuing her PhD in Population Health Science to ultimately be able to have an impact on the research end of sexual and gender minority health from a population health management perspective.
At her academic medical center, she is part of the enterprise-wide educational platform committee that is developing diversity and inclusion curricula and training for its 30,000 employees. She is an educational consultant with experience in providing expertise in both faculty and staff training for inclusive cultural competency practices regarding sexual and gender minority populations in patient care and student support. She has served in numerous roles, regionally and nationally to help enhance health equity and inclusive cultural competency. She has served as a co-advisor for a University undergraduate organization, Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) and Co-chair of a University’s LGBTQ Faculty/Staff Caucus. She has also served as Co-Chair of State of Delaware LGBTQ Health Equity Task Force with the United Way of Delaware from 2016-2018, focusing on efforts to improve healthcare delivery for patients who identify within these spectrums. In this role and her University role, she served as a peer collaborator for the Civic Leadership Institute in the Mandela Washington Fellow Program for two years. In this capacity, the collaborations focused around leveraging resources and strategies to help various African leaders in social justice efforts around LGBTQ health equity.
PT Proud is incredibly important to Karla because it blends the two more impactful identities of her career: physical therapist with sexual and gender minority. She has been integrally involved in the path of equal rights for sexual and gender minorities for her entire adult life and has blended that passion into her health care world. From being a friend to so many during the AIDS crisis and feeling helpless as our nation stigmatized humans for simply being who they were to advocating for access to health insurance for life-long partners before marriage equality, she is incredibly happy that PT Proud is culminating in a journey forward in making differences in our communities' lives: our patients’ lives, our students’ lives, and our colleagues’ lives. To help PT Proud realize the inaugural steps of the important work ahead is inspiring and something she will always be thankful for.
“Physical therapy, to me, is about inclusion. Inclusion means that we get to bring our whole selves to everything we do, and so do our patients. When that happens, best care happens – plain and simple.” Karla A. Bell
Melissa Hoffmann, MSPT, PhD
Melissa C. Hofmann: Melissa Hofmann, MSPT, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Regis University. She teaches in areas of Evidence Based Practice and Research, Management of Applied Physiology, and Motor Behavior. Dr. Hofmann’s educational background includes a BS/MS in Physical Therapy (D’Youville College, 2000) and a PhD in Research Methods and Statistics (University of Denver, 2016). She has 18 years of trauma/neurological based clinical experience and continues to practice as a Senior Physical Therapist at the University of Colorado Health. As a member of the APTA, she is active in the neurologic, research, health policy, and education sections. Dr. Hofmann serves as an advisor to the board for the LGBTQIA+ PT Proud Catalyst Group through Health Policy Administration of the APTA. PT Proud is important to her personally and professionally. This group represents and advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community; a marginalized community that has endured discrimination and persecution as well as violation of equitable treatment within healthcare including the Physical Therapy field. Deficiencies in cultural competence, professional identity awareness, and advocacy education from the clinical and academic perspective have been the root cause to such violations. Through involvement with this group, she is committed to serving such individuals to promote a community that enhances diversity, social justice and promotes education. Additionally, she is a member of the Queer Resource Alliance (QRA) at Regis University through the office of Diversity and Inclusivity that supports LGBTQIA issues/events. Through the QRA, she has completed Brave Space Training to increase awareness and dialogue about sexuality and gender specific to the LGBTQIA+ community. Dr. Hofmann has presented and facilitated discussion of research centered around LGBTQIA + Issues in Healthcare, Trauma Advocacy for Practitioners/Patients, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Stroke at local, state, and national levels.
Ashley King, PT, DPT
Ashley King earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree at Regis Univeristy in Denver, CO and her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology at Indiana University. Ashley's interest in creating an LGBTQIA+ advocacy group for physical therapists began in her health policy class in graduate school, where she was taken aback by the research she found showing high numbers of discrimination experienced by LGBTQIA+ patients and practitioners. Ashley works in home health and is also a cycling coach. In her free time Ashley enjoys cycling, racing and coaching a local junior cycling team.
Chris Lew, PT, DPT
Chris Lew is a physical therapist is Seattle, WA. He earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Regis University in 2018. He began his work with PT Proud when he recognized the greater representation and improved equity and access to care that the LGBTQ+ population needs both in health care generally and specifically within the physical therapy profession. He currently works in the outpatient orthopedics department for an urban county hospital that focuses its services on the most vulnerable residents of the county, including the uninsured and underinsured, the homeless population, refugees, and those requiring trauma care. He is passionate about providing services to those in the community who need it most and is excited to work with PT Proud to improve the quality of care provided to the LGBTQ+ population. Beyond his clinical interests, Chris enjoys weight lifting, volleyball, rock climbing and traveling.
Chris Condran, PT, DPT, MBA-HCM, MS
Chris Condran is an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist with 5 years of clinical experience. He is an Instructor of Physical Therapy in the online transitional doctorate program at Arcadia University. He teaches in the areas of Health and Wellness Promotion and Case Analysis. Dr. Condran’s educational background includes a BS in Exercise Science (East Stroudsburg University, 2006) MS in Exercise Physiology (West Chester University, 2009) MBA in Business Administration (Widener University, 2014) DPT in Physical Therapy (Widener University, 2013) and is currently enrolled in an EdD in Kinesiology (University of North Carolina Greensboro). He also holds certificates in Healthcare Management (Widener University, since 2013) as Certified Exercise Physiologist (American College of Sports Medicine, since 2006) and as Certified Conditioning Specialist (National Strength Professionals Association, since 2004). He has personally sought to create curriculum change at his alma mater Widener University where he has been lecturing on the intersections of LGBTQIA+ identities and physical therapy clinical practice. Chris’s research and advocacy interests are centered in providing inclusive clinical environments for all patients, transgender health issues and the intersections of PT clinical practice, eliminating health disparities in the LGBTQIA+ populations, and establishing curriculum for LGBTQIA+ cultural competency in the classroom and beyond. As a member of the PT Proud leadership, Chris is humbled by the passion and dedication of his colleagues and is excited to have a platform for continued advocacy and growth toward establishing the field of physical therapy as a competent provider of LGBTQIA+ health services.