Dawn Brown continues to be an agent of change

Dawn Brown

Dawn Brown was recently recognized for her passion and ongoing commitment to being an agent for change within the physical therapy profession and higher education. Brown, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s at Northwestern University, was honored by her alma mater as the recipient of the inaugural 2022 Northwestern University Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) award. 

I am deeply honored,” said Brown, who earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Alabama State and is currently preparing her dissertation as a student in NIU’s Doctor of Education program. “The recognition that accompanies my receipt of this award provides me with more opportunities to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within physical therapy education and clinical practice.”

Brown, a clinical assistant professor and director of clinical education in NIU’s physical therapy program, said the creation of the inaugural DEI award by her alma mater is an important step for the profession.

“The establishment of this DEI award reinforces that what physical therapists do regarding diversity, equity and inclusion in our profession and in the community truly matters,” Brown said. “I commend the other nominees for this award for their efforts on this, as we are all essential in the effort to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Being an agent of change isn’t something Brown talks about; it’s something she does. And while she has received numerous awards and recognition for her efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion – including NIU’s Richard A. Flournory Award – she said there is more work to be done.

“The commitment I made to be an agent of change for increasing awareness, changing attitudes, generating action, and fostering accountability for DEI within the physical therapy profession and higher education is real,” Brown said. “We need academics and clinicians to promote real change toward diversifying the profession so that students and patients can see themselves in us.”

Brown said she is determined to ensure that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants and students from all backgrounds have a sense of belonging within their academic institutions or clinical facilities. In turn, she hopes the award serves as a motivation for a future generation of physical therapists.

“I hope that receiving this award will be an inspiration for my students in the NIU Doctor of Physical Therapy program,” Brown said. “I hope they continue working toward creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive physical therapy community where academics, clinicians, and patients are respected and valued because of their unique sociocultural backgrounds.”

Learn more about NIU’s physical therapy program.

Source: NIU Today CHHS News

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