We at Talus Media have bounced off of the Social Media trend with a #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) Series of our own. Our goal is to highlight SHE-roes in the field who strive for success and community outreach! This week, in honor of the recently finished Pride Month, we’re featuring Lindsay Fons, PT, DPT. A new grad, she’s one of the founding members of PT Proud, an Health Policy & Administration Catalyst group made of physical therapists who are working to combat health disparities for the LGBTQIA+ community. Want to know more about it?
- Where did you attend school? What are you doing now?
I was lucky enough to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for PT school. I really enjoyed my time there. I am now working for ATI/Orthopedic Associates of Wisconsin in Pewaukee, WI.
- You are one of the founding members of PT Proud. What’s the inspiration behind this group? What steps did you need to take to start it?
PT Proud has an interesting origin story. It started as 4 students in 3 states, all of us trying to do something, anything, to help our LGBTQIA+ Community. I didn’t have a lot of luck at first when trying to address the lack of competency education within my university. Luckily, there was a PT in Motion article about Transgender patients (“Managing Patients who are Transgender”, July 2016). I reached out to people who were mentioned in the article and by chance, was connected with Brianna Durand, who was also a student at the time. Over the course of about 2 years, Brianna and I did research and established contacts at the Health Policy and Administration Section. We were then connected to two other students, Chris Lew and Ashley King, and worked to form one cohesive group. Thanks to the HPA, we were able to get the resources we needed to host a meeting at CSM 2018.
Contributing to the health disparities among the LGBTAQIA+ population is, of course, a long history of outward discrimination and economic disadvantage. However, what is harder to measure, but no less detrimental, is the lack of knowledge among otherwise well-meaning health professionals about the unique healthcare needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals. Currently, there is no established guidance and very little education for physical therapists about working with people in this community. Considering the significant portion of the population that identifies as LGBTQOA+, that the well-documented disparities have not been addressed within physical therapy is not just an injustice to patients and clinicians, it is an affront to the core values of this profession. Correcting this and bettering the practice of physical therapy is the inspiration that drives me every day.
- How do you feel you and/or PT Proud will make a difference? What changes have you influenced already?
PT Proud will make a difference in three realms: education, equity, and community. For education, we will enable competency among all clinicians by promoting LGBTQIA+ content within DPT and PTA curricula. We are already involved in one research project and hope to expand in the near future. We will also provide accessible resources and continuing education for all clinicians. To address inequities, we will be advocating for inclusive health care policies at a local and national level. Also key to our mission is support for LGBTQIA+ students and clinicians in the form of an active community. As far as what we have already accomplished, we made little bit of a splash at CSM 2018 by holding our inaugural meeting and becoming the first LGBTQIA+ organization within the APTA.
- What is your vision for the future?
My vision for the future is for every LGBTQIA+ physical therapy patient to be provided the highest quality care from intake to discharge, and in a way that makes them feel comfortable with their clinicians and the healthcare system.
- How do you relax/unwind from being such a Bad Ass?
I love cycling and rock climbing. But to relax, I can’t resist a making a cup of tea, putting on some Parks and Rec reruns, and sitting down to crochet the night away.
- Who’s your #WomanCrushWednesday or if male inspiration, #mcm?
My current #WCW inspiration is Karla Bell, PT from Jefferson University. Karla has been an amazing advocate for LGBTQIA+ patients and clinicians for years now. She encouraged me to get involved in the effort and is now an advisor to the PT Proud executive board. I am inspired by the thought and energy she puts into PT Proud, her own research, and DPT education.