Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Community Engagement

Physical Therapy Society: Special Olympics Young Athletes

Physical Therapy students, as part of the PT Society, in collaboration with Philadelphia Special Olympics, and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, coach a weekly young athletes program at the East Passyunk Recreation Center. Young Athletes is a free, inclusive, sport and play program for children with and without disabilities from 2-7 years old. The participants are introduced to early gross motor skills including running, kicking, throwing, and jumping in a group setting which supports the growth of important motor, social, and early learning skills. This program provides an opportunity for all children to participate in a group motor activity while introducing developmentally appropriate sports skills in the child’s community.  

COTAD: The Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity

COTAD is a national, non-profit organization that advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion across the occupational therapy profession. The COTAD Chapter at Jefferson was established to promote awareness, community, information exchange, and action around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion for Jefferson occupational therapy students. We aim to help students build skills needed to promote equitable care in occupational therapy through programming, resources, and support.

Hands of Hope

Hands of Hope is the DPT student organization that has been providing PT care for underserved populations in Philadelphia since the early 1990's.  Physical Therapy students support a clinic at Methodist Hospital that provides pro bono physical therapy to the uninsured or underinsured on Wednesday evenings from 4:30 - 7:30. Most referrals to the clinic come from Public Health Center #2, and other local medical providers. PT students work with licensed therapists to provide PT examinations, evaluations and interventions to optimize function.  The development of a chronic pain exercise group is underway to better serve some of the clinic’s clients.

Hub of Hope

The Jefferson and Hub of Hope collaborative is a year-round clinical training opportunity to include doctoral fieldwork and capstone students from our Center City campus as well as master’s and OT assistant students from our East Falls and Center City campuses. The occupational therapy (OT) program between Jefferson and Project Home provides individual and/or group services and includes assessment and the provision of client-centered, evidence-based services that promote independence, health, wellness, leisure skills, management of serious mental illness, relapse prevention, recognizing the impact of trauma; being unhoused, activities of daily living, money management, medication management, safe functional mobility, cognition, basic work/computer skills, community mobility/transportation, food insecurity, and stress management. The OT program includes interprofessional collaborations with Jefferson medical students, pro bono attorneys, animal assisted therapy, Vetri Company Partnership (VCP) culinary medicine, fitness experts, refurbised technology resources and more. 

NoMo: New Options, More Opportunities

Originating within the occupational therapy department with student fieldwork opportunities, the relationship between NoMo and the Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences is growing into a more sustainable college-wide collaboration.  The IDEA committee, under the leadership of its task force has expanded the programming with the students and staff at NoMo.  Most recently, faculty and clinicians held an interactive program at NoMo in North Philadelphia to introduce teens and young adults looking to break the cycle of poverty and violence in their communities to careers in rehabilitation sciences.

The program featured demonstrations of body mechanics and deficiencies in movement by athletic training, the use of assistive mobility devices with physical therapy and a “taste” of food consistencies with speech therapy. 

Autism Advocacy Group

The Autism Advocacy Group strives to promote the awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and neurodiversity on the Jefferson Campus as well throughout the community. We hope to prepare future health professionals with the understanding and to advocate for autistic individuals for inclusive attitudes in the future of healthcare. We do this through educational, service and outreach activities.

In the past year, AAG has been in collaboration with Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) Greater DC-Baltimore, Green Tree School, Philadelphia Autism Project, ASERT, and Project Elijah Empowering Autism to bring opportunities for Jefferson students to interact and advocate with individuals with autism.