Minority Applicants to Physical Therapy Education Programs 2010-2011

Purpose/Hypothesis : In contrast to the increasing diversity of the U.S. population, minorities remain underrepresented in the physical therapy profession. According to US Census data from 2006-2010, 80.9% of all physical therapists were White, not of Hispanic origin. In 2010-2011, White applicants comprised 67% of all applicants to PTCAS institutions. Educating health care professionals in environments that reflect the increasing diversity of American society has been promoted to instill cultural competence necessary to serve the health care needs of patients across a varied racial and ethnic nation. The purpose of this study was to describe the under-represented minority (URM) applicant pool and investigate differences in application patterns between White and URM applicants to PTCAS member programs in 2010-2011.Number of Subjects : The sample consisted of 11690 applicants to 128 PTCAS member programs in the 2010-2011 PTCAS cycleMaterials/Methods : De-identified data were obtained from PTCAS including applicant demographics, selected applicant metrics: science (SGPA) and cumulative GPA (CGPA), quantitative (QGRE), verbal (VGRE), and analytical (AGRE) GRE scores, PTCAS member institutions applied to, and admission decisions. Descriptive statistics and ANOVA with multiple comparison procedures (Tukey HSD) were used to investigate differences between White and URM applicant metrics and application patterns including number of programs applied, likelihood of applying out of state, and application to programs with minority faculty.Results : White applicants achieved significantly greater SGPA and CGPA than URM applicants (p<0.05). VGRE, QGRE, AGRE scores were also significantly higher for White applicants than Hispanic and African American applicants (p<0.05). With the exception of Asian applicants, who applied to a greater number of PTCAS member institutions, there were no significant differences in the average number of programs applied to between White and URM applicant groups. Despite applying to a similar number of programs, Hispanic applicants were significantly more likely than White applicants to apply to programs within their state of residence (p<0.001). Hispanic, Asian, and applicants of two or more races were significantly more likely than White applicants to apply to programs with minority faculty (p<.05).Conclusions : This study revealed significant differences in applicant metrics and application patterns between White and URM applicants to PTCAS member programs in 2010-2011.Clinical Relevance : Decreasing underrepresentation of minorities in the physical therapy profession is of critical importance to the health of an increasingly diverse nation. Results of this study may be used to support the need for noncognitive and other nonmetric criteria in the evaluation of URM applicants who may achieve lower GPA and GRE test scores. Knowledge of URM application patterns may guide recruitment initiatives to improve diversity within the profession.

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  • Control #: 1717864
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Matthew Nuciforo
  • Keywords: Physical Therapy Admissions|PTCAS|Minority

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