Why Representation Matters - Bridging the Gap

Posted By: Victoria Patton Diversity & Inclusion, Member Spotlight,

I had been interested in having a role in healthcare ever since I was young; as I was quick to learn about the healthcare system’s inequities and tendencies for discrimination.  Especially as a Black woman, I always knew that I wanted to make a difference. It was when I began to research and learn about the staggering and alarming statistics of Black women within maternal health that I learned that Black women are three to four times more likely to die a pregnancy-related death as compared with White women1.  I was shocked, heartbroken, and left determined to make a change. This is why I felt called into the field of pelvic health. While you may be wondering what physical therapists have to do with Black maternal mortality rates, studies also show that Black women are also three times more likely to lack knowledge about childbirth’s potential impact on their pelvic floor, incontinence, and prolapse. 2  And with that, unfortunately, Black women are also disproportionately predisposed to some unique complications when it comes to pregnancy2.  As pelvic health physical therapists we have the power to make a substantial difference in many individuals’ lives, especially those who have endured such a great inequality already. With that, I am honored to have received this scholarship in helping aid the ability and opportunity to start making the change and knowing that now, more than ever, how strongly representation matters in our field. I would like to thank the APTA Academy of Pelvic Health and all the practitioners that continue to keep fighting to make meaningful and sustainable change. 

Author: Victoria Patton, SPT | 2023 Scholarship Recipient 

Hi, I am Victoria, and as a recent graduate of Regis University’s DPT Program just last month, I am more than excited to continue my career as Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist as a resident with Agile Physical Therapy in California. I love utilizing a holistic approach to care and really creating authentic relationships with my patients!

  1. Howell EA. Reducing Disparities in Severe Maternal Morbidity and Mortality. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2018;61(2):387-399. doi:10.1097/GRF.0000000000000349
  2. Mandimika CL, Murk W, Mcpencow AM, et al. Racial Disparities in Knowledge of Pelvic Floor Disorders Among Community-Dwelling Women. Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2015;21(5):287-292. doi:10.1097/SPV.0000000000000182