MILWAUKEE — The first Black-owned physical therapy clinic opens Tuesday located near North 16th Street and Fond Du Lac Avenue.
Santana Deacon, an owner and physical therapist at the clinic, grew up not too far away from the location and went to school at North Division High. Not seeing many go before him, he says he had to create his own path.
"Growing up, there wasn't a lot of people that I could look up to that look like me," said Deacon.
This pushed him to step into the field of Physical Therapy to help patients feel seen.
"Patients are more willing to open up and reveal certain things to me. I think right off the bat it's more of a trusting environment where they feel like they can tell me a little more, and it might be that crucial information that can make a difference in their care," said Deacon.
Trust is needed now more than ever in communities of color for medicine. Physical Therapy is known to have a low number of African American professionals. As of 2020, only 5% of practicing physical therapists were Black, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Deacon hopes his presence on the north side will inspire more people like him to enter the field.
"Just being in this location, being able to serve the community we're in, is a big goal for us," he said.
Advanced Physical Therapy will be open for business Monday through Friday.