Sending Office: Honorable Bobby L. Rush
Supporting Organizations: American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), American Academy of Audiology, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Association
of Schools of Allied Health Professions, Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
Cosponsors (24): Blunt Rochester, Bonamici, Butterfield, Carson, Cohen, Dean, Evans,
Fitzpatrick, Grijalva, Hastings, Johnson Lee, Lieu, Lipinski, Lofgren, McGovern, Mucarsel-Powell, Napolitano, Norton, Pappas, Robin Kelly, Rose, Sewell, Wasserman Schultz
The United States has been and will continue to be a proud, diverse nation. Unfortunately, our diversity is not faithfully reflected in the health workforce, where a staggering amount of racial disparity exists.
A study conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has found that in the fields of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology, over 77 percent of health professionals are Caucasian, while less than 5 percent
are African-American. This is important when you consider that the U.S. Institute of Medicine found evidence that patients have better health outcomes when the doctor and patient are of the same race or ethnicity. Only by having these professions reflect
the makeup of our country can we have the most effective health care possible.
Additionally, studies have shown that when people from underserved areas go into a medical field, they are far more likely to serve in rural and underserved areas, remain there longer, and have patients who better adhere to medical advice. This means rural
and other underserved areas benefit when programs recruit candidates from these areas, not only filling the gaps in service for underserved areas, but also filling gaps in provider shortages.
It is for these reasons that we are proud to introduce
H.R. 3637, the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act. This legislation is modeled after the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs. It would award grants to eligible occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology,
and audiology programs to attract, recruit, and retain students through scholarships, stipends, and mentorship programs for individuals from underrepresented groups, including those who are racial or ethnic minorities or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Together, we can correct existing racial disparities and create an environment where individuals from underrepresented communities can succeed as health professionals.
We hope you will join us in supporting the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act. To learn more or to cosponsor, please contact Lauren Citron in Rep. Rush’s office at
Lauren.Citron@mail.house.gov or Kristin Flukey in Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ office at
Bobby L. Rush Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Member of Congress Member of Congress
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