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Moving Beyond Vision 2020: Join the Discussion

Vision 2020 has served as APTA's official vision statement for the future of physical therapy since it was adopted by the House of Delegates (House) in 2000. In 2011, the House adopted a motion to revise Vision 2020, and the APTA Board of Directors (Board) appointed a Vision Task Force to manage the process.

Since then, the task force developed a new proposed vision statement and supporting vision elements, which the Board will propose to the House in June.

To generate conversation about the proposed vision, the Vision Task Force invites comments at the bottom of this post. Additionally, individuals attending the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in San Diego are welcome to attend the Beyond Vision 2020 Member Forum (also open to nonmembers) on Wednesday, January 23, 6:00 pm-7:00 pm PT, in Ballroom 6C of the San Diego Convention Center.

The new proposed vision statement and vision elements, and background about their development, can be found on the Beyond Vision 2020 webpage. In seeking your feedback, we feel it is appropriate to briefly highlight where we are and how we got here:

From the beginning of our work, the Vision Task Force was guided by a few very broad themes, inspired by the information we collected early on and the charge from the House. We wanted this new vision to be "outward looking" (focused on our role in society and our obligation to meet society's needs) and to reflect the evolution of a physical therapist's role (beyond treating people who are having problems and then discharging them, not to see them again until another serious problem generates a referral).

Those themes might be best captured in the phrase "my physical therapist," which evokes consumers seeing their physical therapist on a regular basis to maintain a healthy, high quality of life so they move efficiently at their highest personal ability level, whatever that means for them. That kind of streamlined, habitual relationship between the consumer and physical therapist would be direct access at its best.

Guided by these themes, the task force decided to aim high and be bold, which was one of the tips provided to us by our visioning consultant, Marsha Rhea, CAE. The proposed vision that will be submitted to the House reads: "The physical therapy profession will transform society by optimizing movement for all people of all ages to improve the human experience."

As many have pointed out, this is a lofty vision. But that's what we believe a vision should be, providing statements of identity (who we aspire to be) and desired outcome (what we aspire to change), while speaking to the public (not "the choir") in language that those within and beyond the profession would understand.

To realize its vision, APTA would of course repeatedly establish specific strategic priorities and objectives, which would be timed and measurable. A vision can and should be something greater, and we hope this proposed statement reflects that.

As you consider your response to this proposed vision, we encourage you to read (or reread) Mary McMillan lectures by Ruth Purtilo, PT, PhD, FAPTA (2000), Andrew Guccione, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA (2010), and Alan Jette, PT, PhD, FAPTA (2012), which are available through PTJ. (In particular, note Purtilo's comments on periods of identity and Jette's comments on systems thinking and positive deviants.)

The Vision Task Force believes that the physical therapist's role in transforming society goes beyond our already familiar, traditional image of physical therapy. There is a leadership role within the public sphere that needs to be embraced, such as advocating for walkable communities and physical education in schools, for example.

We shouldn't sell ourselves or our profession short: improving movement of individuals within society has the power to transform society itself.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the proposed vision statement.

Vision Task Force
William McGehee, PT, MHS, Chair and Board of Directors Member
Patricia Brick, PT, MS, GCS
E. Scott Euype, PT, DPT, OCS
Edelle Field-Fote, PT, PhD
Pauline Flesch, PT, MPS
Charles Gulas, PT, PhD, GCS
Colleen Kigin, PT, DPT, MS, MPA, FAPTA
Tasha MacIlveen, PT, DPT, CSCS
Lisa Saladin, PT, PhD


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