WOC in PT: Raven Edwards, PT, DPT
Welcome! Today, for the Women of Color in Physical Therapy series, we are featuring Raven Edwards, PT, DPT. Dr. Raven is a recent graduate of the DPT program of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2018. She also received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Mississippi. Dr. Raven currently practices in Memphis, TN, in an outpatient clinic that specializes in manual therapy. Her dream is to open her own practice focusing on women’s health and wellness. When she is not working, Dr. Raven runs her YouTube channel where she documents her journey of paying off her student loans. Without further ado, let’s meet Dr. Raven!
What moment made you decide to pursue physical therapy?
This is probably the worst story on how someone decided on their career. I originally was pursuing a medical degree in undergrad but I failed 2 of the most important classes. I called my mom crying and she asked, “Are you even sure you want to be a medical doctor?” And I was like, I’m honestly not sure. After that we sat down and made a list of everything I wanted to accomplish in a career. She looked at it and said, “You should be a physical therapist.” It should also be noted that my dad is a physical therapist and I knew this but had no idea what exactly he did. So after this, I did a ton of research and shadowing (dad included) and fell in love. And now I’m here.
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 think the biggest challenge in being a WOC in PT is feeling that you are sometimes the only POC a patient may have ever been in close contact with. (I’m from the South and it happens). People will ask you if you’re the assistant or be extremely surprised when you introduce yourself as Dr. So-and-So. The best way to overcome this is to know that you actually do belong, and you have worked your behind off to become a master of musculoskeletal dysfunction and that no amount of shock or pushback can ever take that from you.
What advice would you give to fellow women of color trying to break into the physical therapy profession?
You probably hear this a lot but be yourself. There are a million different types of patients and they all respond to different things. And there are going to be plenty who need your exact “personal touch” to get them on the right track. Also research every place you interview, be interested in the program not just and interesting story.
What woman and/or women do you draw inspiration from?
My mother, and really any woman who is able to go after what they want, especially those female entrepreneurs out there.
In addition to being awesome, what do you like to do in your free time?
I spend a lot of time taking courses relating to opening a practice and becoming a business owner because that’s one of my short-term goals. I also love to go to the park on the weekends with my dog and just chill.
For the new readers, where can we find you on social media?
All social media is @hey_raven
Thank you so much to Dr. Raven for sharing her experience being a woman of color in physical therapy! Be sure to follow her at the social media link posted above. :)
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,