Karla A. Bell, PT, DPT, PhD(c)

She / Hers / They / Them

Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
Associate Professor, Jefferson College of Nursing
Co-Founder, Sexual & Gender Minorities Education & Training (SG-MET), Jefferson Enterprise Professional Development Program

Karla A. Bell, PT, DPT, OCS, GCS


901 Walnut Street
Room 522
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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Karla A. Bell, PT, DPT, PhD(c)

She / Hers / They / Them

Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
Associate Professor, Jefferson College of Nursing
Co-Founder, Sexual & Gender Minorities Education & Training (SG-MET), Jefferson Enterprise Professional Development Program

Board Certification

Board Certified Geriatric Specialist Emeritus 


PhD candidate, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Population Health
DPT, University of Massachusetts-Lowell
MSPT, University of Massachusetts-Lowell
BS, University of Pittsburgh

Research Interests

  • Health profession faculty development in sexual and gender minority health
  • Inclusive cultural competency/humility curriculum integration
  • Sexual and gender minority health disparity/equity
  • Support and retention of sexual and gender minority health professions students

Select Publications

Grants & Contracts

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
NIH-NCI P30 Supplement (2022-23)
Role: External Advisory Panel Member

Regis University
Provost Scholar Award
Role: Co-PI
Title: LGBTQIA+ Barriers in Physical Therapy: A National Study
Amounts: 2020-21 $5,000; 2019-20 $7,500

Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences
Dean’s Grant Award (2019-2020)
Title: A Pilot Faculty Development Program for Implementing Sexual and Gender Minority Content into Health Professions Education
Role: Co-PI
Amount: $9,500

Select presentations

  • Bell KA, Zapletal A. Impact of An LGBTQ+ Interdisciplinary Professional Development Program in Higher Education. APTA Educational Leadership Conference 2023.
  • Vitente A, Bell KA, Sutkowi-Hemstreet A, Condran C, Porter I, Miller T. Beyond the Binary: Empowering Physical Therapy Educators to Create Inclusive Spaces for LGBTQIA+ Students and Faculty. APTA Educational Leadership Conference 2023.
  • Papa E, Bell KA, Weeks-O’Neal N, Rizvi A, Bannister R. It’s Just Demographics, What’s the Fuss?: Promoting Inclusive Research through Intentional Data Collection. APTA CSM 2023.
  • Mulligan N, Hofmann M, Bell KA, Condran C, Miller T, Klutz T, Liddell M, Saul J, Stevens K. LGBTQ+ Barriers in Physical Therapy Education and Practice: A Qualitative Study from the Patients’ Perspective. Poster. APTA CSM 2023
  • Zapletal A, Bell KA. Professional Development Program for Higher Education: Reported 6-month Post Program Impact. AOTA Education Summit 2022.
  • Adams T, Bell KA, Hofmann MC, Kennedy K. DEI Assessment, Accountability, and Action: Moving from “Talk” to “Walk” in Clinical Settings. CPTA 2022 Conference
  • ACAPT and APTE. A Vision for Excellence in Physical Therapy Education: A 2022 Action Update. Role: Facilitator for DEI discussion. APTA ELC 2022.
  • Sebelski C, Bell KA, Jernigan S, Colgrove Y, Jensen G, Segal R, Austin T, Kluding P, Wainwright S. Supporting Development of Education Researchers: Leadership Matters. APTA ELC 2022.
  • Bell KA, Zapletal A. Impacting SGD Student Experiences With a Professional Development Program. AAC & U Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Student Success. 2022.
  • Hofmann MC, Bell KA, Condran C, Mulligan N. Enhancing LGBTQ+ Cultural Responsiveness in Physical Therapy: Awareness of Individual and Structural Barriers. APTA Combined SectionsMeeting. Educational Session. 2022
  • Hofmann MC, Bell KA, Condran C, Mulligan N, Eng JK, Clark H, Hill F, Scarince H, Gulik E, He V, Lemberger E. LGBTQ+ Cultural Competence Barriers in Physical Therapy: The Clinician's Perspective. APTA Combined Sections Meeting. Poster Presentation. 2022
  • Poole A, Bell KA, Brown DS, Condran CW, Covington K, Hibbard S. An Exploration of Doctor of Physical Therapy Students’ Belongingness in Clinical Education. Educational Session. APTA ELC 2021.
  • Vause Earland T, Zapletal A, Toth-Cohen S, Bell KA. Sexual and Gender Minority Training, Mentoring, & Education for Interprofessional Health Faculty: Innovations to Promote Inclusion Teaching. AOTA Inspire 2021.
  • Adams T, Bell KA, Kennedy K, Hofmann M. DEI Assessment, Accountability and Action:Moving from “Talk” to “Walk” in Academic and Clinical Settings. CSM 2021
  •  Jensen GM, Segal R, Chesbro SB, Bell KA, Sebelski CA, Osborne R, Jernigan S. Blazing the Trail: Developing the Next Generation of Education Researchers. CSM 2021.
  • Thorpe J, Carney A, Craig B, Bell KA. Impact of Cultural Competence & Cultural Humility Education in Healthcare Professions: A Systematic Review. CSM 2021.
  • Chen Y, Wen H, Niemeier J, Ahmad M, Mark V, Bell KA. Sex and Gender Influences on Health and Function: What Rehabilitation Professionals Need to Know. ACRM 2020.
  • Bell KA, Zapletal A, Earland T, Toth-Cohen S. Impacting LGBTQ+ Health Outcomes Through Faculty Development Education and Training. APTA ELC 2020.
  • Bell KA, Hofmann M. LGBTQ+ Healthcare Disparities: Recommendations for Impact from Clinical/Academic Levels. APTA ELC 2020.
  • Hofmann M, Mulligan N, Bell K, Condran C, Eng J, Hill F, Scarince H, Gulik E, He V, Lemberger E. LGBTQ+ Barriers in Physical Therapy: The Clinician’s Perspective.  2020 APTA Colorado Chapter Rocky Mountain Annual Conference, Poster Presentation. 
  • Bell KA, Hofmann M. LGBTQ+ Cultural Humility and Climate: Educator & Student Perspectives. Educational Session APTA CSM 2020.
  • Academy of Pediatrics, Bell KA, Hofmann M. Hot Topics in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Pediatric PT/PTAs and Their Clients. Educational Session APTA CSM 2020.
  • Kennedy K, Bell KA, Hofmann M, Adams T. Better Together in DEI: Fostering Inclusivity in Institutions and Organizations.  Educational Session APTA CSM 2020.
  • Hofmann M, Bell KA, Condran C, King A, Eng J, Miller T. LGBTQ+ Brave Space Training: Encouraging Difficult Dialogues in Physical Therapy Practice. Preconference Workshop APTA CSM 2020.
  • Bell KA, Zapletal A, Vause Earland T, Toth-Cohen S. Pilot Faculty Development Program: Sexual & Gender Minority Education for Health Professions Curriculum. Ed Session. AOTA Educational Summit 2019.
  • Beltran A, Brubaker E, Felder RE, Kerstetter AL, Ward KL, Bell KA. Identifying Best Practices for Delivery/Content of Sexual and Gender Minority Cultural Competency Education in Health Care: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Poster, APTA CSM 2019
  • Clark H, He V, Hill F, Hofmann M, Bell KA, Lemberger E. LGBTQIA+ Barriers in Physical therapy: Clinician, Educator, and Student Perspective. APTA CSM 2019
  • Bell KA, LaLonde A, Bryan D. Unchecked Box: Addressing Needs of Trans and Gender Nonconforming DPT Students. APTA CSM 2018  
  • Abbruzzese LD, Bell KA. Aging and LGBT Patients: Breaking The Silence! APTA CSM 2017. 
  • Bell KA. Linking Cultural Competency with Health Disparities in the LGBTQ Population AND Why PT Should Care. California Physical Therapy Association Annual Conference 2017.
  • Bell KA. The Foundation of Culturally Competent Communication for Patient Care with our Patients Who are LGBTQ. 6th Annual Johns Hopkins Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinical Showcase 2016. 
  • Bell KA. Intersectional Cultural Competency Curricular Changes for Rehab Professionals and Nursing. GLMA National Conference 2016 
  • Bell KA, Rodden T. LGBT Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Community Engagement Perspective: Educational Session. APTA CSM 2016. 
  • Bell KA, Gregore D. Transforming and Implementing Intersectional Cultural Competency Curricular Changes to Improve Health Care Delivery for LGBTQ  Patients: Educational Session. APTA Educational Leadership Conference 2015. 

Select Professional & Community Service

American Physical Therapy Association

        National DEI Committee, member (2021-present)

        Academy of Innovation and Leadership: Co-Chair, PT Proud LGBTQ+         Catalyst Group (2018-2021)

        Content Expert Reviewer, Guidelines for Recognizing and Providing Care         for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (2015)

        Education Section: Conference abstract reviewer (2015-2020)

        American Board of Residency and Fellowship Education: Residency Review         Subcommittee (2009-2013)

United Way of Delaware

        Co-Chair, Pride Council’s LGBTQ Health Equity Task Force (2016-2018)

Awards and Honors

  • Social Responsibility Award by Academy of Leadership and Innovation Global Health SIG (for APTA CSM Poster), 2023
  • 2nd Place Health Equity Award at Health Equity and Quality Improvement Summit, Jefferson (Poster), 2023
  • Invited IGNITE talk at Keynote: APTA Educational Leadership Conference, 2022.
  • APTA Health Policy Administration R. Charles Harker Public Policy Maker Award, 2021.
  • Chosen Participant, Grantsmanship and Mentorship in Educational Research (GAMER). American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT), 2018
  • Recipient, University of Delaware Louis L. Redding Diversity Award, 2014 
  • Recipient, Signe Brunnstrom Award for Excellence in Clinical Education, American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), 2012