Read below to learn more about Emory DPT Sustainability’s conceptual plan for building awareness and implementing sustainable systems to support human well-being fostered by our core values of kindness, systems thinking, and mindfulness awareness.
Maximizing Health Outcomes
Ultimately, the purpose of sustainability is to maximize human health in today's society and for future generations. Maximizing health outcomes across the lifespan and the continuum of care includes health promotion and prevention, shifting the scale toward primary prevention while developing better, more efficient and lasting interventions to address secondary and tertiary prevention. In order to achieve these outcomes, our interventions should be effective, efficient, lasting, and supported by sound evidence-based practice. Our approach should be personalized and influence patient/client autonomy rather than fostering dependence on our services.
Image 1: Sustainable Impact Time Scale
Promoting Intelligent Business
Intelligent business practices are crucial to improving well-being for physical therapists, administrators, staff, other healthcare professionals and the patient/client. Most health services and products in our society are delivered through business, so the effectiveness of the physical therapy profession is mutually tied to the effectiveness of the business practices that deliver our services. The financial health, culture and structure of a business has major implications on the quality and reach of physical therapy services. As physical therapists, we must explore innovative business practices with regards to marketing, finance, operations, management, market research and strategy that allow for long term profitability, employee benefit, community well-being and positive patient/client outcomes.
Fostering Social Wellness
Physical therapy and human well-being must be thought of in the context of the short and long term impacts on community and society. For the profession to be sustainable, we must expand our perspective to positively impacting people on more than just the individual level, but rather to empower families, communities and society with a healthy culture and knowledge. As a profession that interacts with people frequently on a personal level, there is tremendous opportunity to positively influence patients/clients on a social level. This can include, but is not limited to the following areas:
Access to care
Humanities and creating shared meaning
Fostering connection between generations
Image 2: Sustainable Impact Social Scale
Cultivating Healthy Ecosystems
As physical therapists, we must cultivate and advocate for healthy ecosystems that contribute to human well-being. We are part of a complex network of interconnected systems that support human life. These networks range from the built environment of our homes, communities, schools, hospitals, businesses, cities and transportation systems to the natural environment's energy systems, natural resources and ecosystem services. It is our duty to be responsible stewards of these systems in our professional practice, so they (and us) have the opportunity to flourish in the short and long term future.
As movement science experts, physical therapists should be advocates for improving and designing better landscapes, hospitals, clinics, transportation and urban systems to influence improvement in quality and quantity of healthy movement. Our clinics, hospitals, homes, workplaces and social venues should be designed and constructed to be ergonomic, limit infection and promote human well-being. It is our responsibility to reduce waste, preserve water quality and promote renewable clean energy.