WOC in PT: April Witherspoon, PT, DPT
Welcome! So for the first feature in the Women of Color in Physical Therapy series is April Witherspoon, PT, DPT. Dr. April graduated from University of St. Augustine (St Augustine campus) and is now working as a traveling physical therapist! When not working, she runs her blog, Purposefully Travelling, where she shares all things PT and travel related. Without further ado, let’s meet Dr. April!
What moment made you decide to pursue physical therapy?
My mom was involved in the medical field so I had always had an interest in health. My interest in physical therapy began in high school after interning at a SNF. I was exposed to some adaptive equipment and saw the elderly doing things that I couldn’t believe! I knew that I wanted to help people, but at that moment I knew “how.” I still have a soft spot for geriatrics to this day.
Was there a certain challenge you had to overcome as a WOC in PT school and/or at a professional setting and how did you overcome it?
I definitely struggled with being one of a few black girls at USA. Sometimes I just wanted to talk hair, music, or anything “culture” with people who looked like me. To overcome that, I made sure to make a connection with every black girl that I met there. I am still close to a few of them!
What advice would you give to fellow women of color trying to break into the physical therapy profession?
GO FOR IT! Get plenty of observation hours in as many different settings as you can. Make good impressions and form relationships with PTs or other healthcare professionals who you have worked with. They can provide great personal letters of reference! Believe in yourself and your passion! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!
What woman/women do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from my close group of friends. They push me to not second guess my ideas and believe in myself. And I try to do the same for them. I think everyone deserves their own personal cheerleaders.
In addition to being awesome, what do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a travel therapy, so I’m usually in a different city every 13 weeks. Because of that, I love to explore! I love hiking, eating at different restaurants, visiting museums, and hitting local hot spots. I also started a blog recently and work on that when I am not working.
For the new readers, where can we find you on social media?
Heyyyyy readers!!!! You can follow me at @dr.witherspoon on Instagram. You can also check out my blog at purposefullytraveling.com and @purposefullytravelling on Instagram. I share some things about Travel PT!
Thank you so much to Dr. April for sharing her experience being a woman of color in physical therapy, and her life as a travel PT! Be sure to follow her at the social media links posted above. I have had the pleasure of meeting Dr. April in person and I can honestly say that she is just so genuine and kind and I am lucky to call her a friend! :)
If you are a woman of color involved in the physical therapy world, whether you are just starting as a pre-PT or a practicing PT, I would love to feature you in my WOC in PT series! Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for the next series feature, we have an amazingly diverse group in the mix!
Peace, love & blessings,