Celebrating Black History Month 2023 - Student Highlight
Get to Know: Danielle HoodFeb 1, 2023
Get to Know: Danielle Hood
Q&A by Tori Serna
What made you want to pursue a career in Physical Therapy?
My siblings and I grew up playing sports. I watched my older sister get injured, have ankle surgery, and go through rehabilitation. I saw the process then and during my time playing competitive sports in college. I aspired to become a sports physical therapist and dreamed of working for professional athletes. My senior year, I had internships that exposed me to a variety of settings. I got to learn about comorbidities, preexisting conditions, socioeconomic status, and realized I could help a wider range of people working in other settings. I knew I wanted to be intentional in where I worked so that I could be passionate about my work.
How has CU Anschutz Physical Therapy program allowed you to pursue your goals?
In general, the faculty and staff have been incredibly supportive in moments when I needed it. As we all know, imposter syndrome is real and that is something we’re all navigating. The faculty and staff have each instilled confidence in us as students. There have been times where they’ve had more confidence in me than I’ve even had in myself. I’ve been able to meet with my professors about any concerns I had, and they helped me through a few tough situations. The school provides us with opportunities to volunteer within the community. At times, it’s been hard to step out of my comfort zone and give myself such opportunities, but after talking to professors, they helped me set up observation opportunities that allowed me to dive into pediatric settings.
What is your “why”?
I didn’t realize what my “why” was until I was much older. My “why” is all the people of color that came before me and all the people of color that will come after me. Physical therapists of color are few and far between. I’m aware of how privileged I am to be able to have the opportunity I have in life to receive the education I’m receiving, especially considering this country’s history of education for women of color. I do it for folks that have fought for the equality I have today. I will continue to fight and inspire others to also get through those times and to realize what we are truly capable of.
February is a month to honor and celebrate Black leaders. What does this mean for you? What leadership role(s) have you taken up and what impact have they had on you and your time in the program?
Black History Month is a chance to recognize all the efforts and achievements of the brave leaders in and of the Black community. It’s a reminder to most that although we’ve come a long way, we have a long way to go and there will always be more barriers to break down. A month of acknowledgement is nice, but it’s way too short.
As an IPE representative for my cohort, I focus on ethical decision making while collaborating with different professions and schools. We think about how we as future clinicians can provide care in the most beneficial way to be the best providers we can be. The faculty is continuously changing the course to make it better for the students, which also translates to real life practice of us being able to navigate working with patients of different walks of life. Through volunteering with community outreach at schools like Aurora West, I realize how valuable mentorship is. I didn’t have it when I was younger and if I did, that could’ve made a huge difference. I’m glad to have the opportunity to be a part of that process from the other side.
What words of encouragement do you have to share with future students of color pursuing careers in healthcare?
The advice I have for future students of color is to do absolutely whatever it is you want. No matter what it is, set your mind to it and do it. I’m a strong believer of manifestation. Prior to applying for physical therapy school, I bought an iPad knowing it was recommended for note taking and here I am, less than a year away from graduating. The mind is a powerful tool, use it. I also recommend looking for a mentor that you can confide in and talk to about any problems. They’ll guide you to the necessary resources for any given circumstances. Although, there continues to be a lack of representation in physical therapy, there are enough people of color and those that aren’t, that recognize the imbalances and would be more than willing to help anyone get there. It reminds me of the Disney princess movies when I was younger where no princesses looked like me. That has changed and I think healthcare is starting to make that change as well. Listen and trust yourself to get to where you want to be. If anyone can do it, it’s you.