In this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy, and Smart Podcast, we delve into making physical therapy clinics more inclusive for everyone, including the LGBT+ community. Our guest, Dr. Michelle Stauffer, a dedicated advocate for LGBT+ healthcare and a member of the APTA PT Proud Special Interest Group, shares her insights and experiences.

Dr. Stauffer discusses her journey into physical therapy, influenced by her athletic injuries and her identity as a member of the LGBT+ community. She highlights the importance of creating a safe and welcoming environment in healthcare settings, especially for those who often face discrimination and misunderstanding.

We explore practical steps to assess and enhance the inclusivity of a physical therapy clinic, starting from the exterior accessibility and moving inside to the waiting areas, treatment spaces, and restrooms. Dr. Stauffer emphasizes the significance of details such as inclusive signage, diverse representation in clinic decor, and thoughtful amenities that cater to a wide range of needs.

Additionally, we touch on the importance of inclusive paperwork and intake forms that respect all identities by allowing patients to specify their preferred names and pronouns. Dr. Stauffer also suggests resources for continuous learning and improvement in DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) practices, encouraging clinic owners and therapists to seek education and adapt to better serve their communities actively.

This episode is packed with actionable advice for healthcare professionals who want to foster an inclusive atmosphere in their practices and ensure that all patients feel respected, safe, and valued.

Time Stamps: 

00:00:02 – Introduction and Guest Introduction
Host Dr. Karen Litzy introduces herself and welcomes Dr. Michelle Stauffer, discussing her background and expertise in providing care to the LGBT+ community.

00:01:15 – Dr. Stauffer’s Journey to Physical Therapy
Dr. Stauffer shares her personal journey of becoming a physical therapist, including her athletic background and injuries.

00:05:05 – Creating an Inclusive Clinic
Discussion begins on how to assess and ensure a physical therapy clinic is inclusive, starting from the external appearance to internal operations.

00:10:03 – Accessibility and External Clinic Features
Dr. Stauffer discusses the importance of accessibility and external features of a clinic that can make it more inclusive.

00:16:37 – Involving Patients in Clinic Decor
Ideas on how involving patients in the clinic’s decor can help in creating a more inclusive environment.

00:17:03 – Inclusive Paperwork and Forms
Tips on how to make intake forms and other paperwork more inclusive, including the use of open-ended questions and preferred name sections.

00:26:05 – Inside the Clinic: Waiting Area and Treatment Rooms
Suggestions for making the waiting area and treatment rooms welcoming and inclusive for all patients.

00:33:09 – Restroom and Changing Room Considerations
Discussion on how to make restrooms and changing rooms accessible and comfortable for everyone, including stocking necessary supplies.

00:39:02 – Staff Training on DEI
The importance of continuous staff training on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and resources for learning more about DEI practices.

00:45:24 – Final Thoughts and How to Connect
Dr. Stauffer shares final thoughts on making clinics inclusive and provides contact information for further resources and personal connection.

More About Dr. Michelle Stauffer:

headshot of Dr. Michelle StaufferDr. Michelle Stauffer (she/her) is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Health Wellness Coach who has spent her career focusing on under-resourced communities. Dr. Stauffer received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and upon completion, she began her journey of working with the LGBTQIA+ community. Dr. Stauffer founded Coast 2 Coast Wellness in 2021 with the mission of providing an inclusive & safe atmosphere while receiving affordable & quality care.

Dr. Stauffer specializes in orthopedic and sports injuries and is a Certified Sports Medical Emergency Responder and Level 2 Trigger Point Dry Needling Certified Clinician. Dr. Stauffer is the programming chair of the PT Proud Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA); a group whose purpose is to improve healthcare access for LGBTQIA+ individuals. She also is a member of the Colorado APTA PT Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. When not working, you can find Dr. Stauffer outdoors hiking or camping with her dog, or tending to her flower and vegetable gardens in her yard.

Resources from this Episode:

Dr. Stauffer’s Website

Dr. Stauffer Instagram

Dr. Stauffer TikTok

Simple Tips for Creating an Inclusive Workplace

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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.