Dawn Brown, NIU Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy in the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, is the 2021 American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Minority Faculty Development Scholarship Award winner.
“I am both honored and excited,” Brown said. “Receiving this award has strengthened my resolve toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in physical therapy education, research, and clinical practice.”
Brown said the award empowers her to remain vigilant in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in physical therapy no matter the obstacles that threaten to dismantle it.
“I am committed to being a part of the solution for ensuring that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants reflect the racial and ethnic identities of the patients whom we treat,” Brown said.
Brown earned her bachelor’s and master’s from Northwestern University, and her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Alabama State University. With a plan to earn her Doctor of Education from NIU within the next year, Brown said she will be better positioned to concentrate her research on diversity, equity and inclusion in physical therapy education and practice, as well as diversity leadership in higher education.
“My focus is not only toward recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority faculty and students,” Brown said. “My goal is to ensure that their experiences within physical therapy programs and clinical settings are positive and rewarding, instead of marginalized.”
Sherrill Morris, chair of the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, said one of Brown’s most impressive attributes is her mentorship and support of any and all people with whom she comes into contact.
“Dr. Brown aspires to create an inclusive community of learners, works collaboratively with students, faculty, and professional colleagues to develop strategies that eliminate learning barriers and create a culture of civility,” Morris said. “She is highly deserving of the APTA Minority Faculty Development Scholarship Award.”