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For a long time APTA and I were just acquaintances.
Starting as a US Army-Baylor physical therapist student, mentors suggested that I join.
Through school and tours of duty at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, and Afghanistan, I was a member because I always knew that someone was doing something for me and the profession somewhere. But I never really knew exactly what it was.
When I retired from the Army another mentor suggested that I start participating beyond paying for membership and attending conferences, and encouraged me to run for state delegate.
As a delegate from North Carolina, I fell in love with APTA at the House of Delegates (HOD).
It was at HOD that I experienced our highest deliberative body-making decisions, large and small, about our profession at large.
HOD is a marvel. It's a congress the way democracy is supposed to work: organized, rigorous, collegial, civil, thoughtful, intelligent, caring, open, and collaborative. There are 403 delegates plus the full APTA Board of Directors, staff, and delegates from all the academies and sections working together to promote, protect, and progress our great profession for the best of all of our patients.
I wish every student member, young professional member, and all our potential members could see HOD work as a member-driven and responsive body that has led to the high level of profession where we work.
Paying to be a member and participating where we can is not about a transaction to get a tangible item in return; instead, what we all get from APTA is this amazing high-level profession to serve our patients.
If you want to find colleagues with your interests who care about best practice, you'll find those people in APTA.
Want to share your APTA love story? Submit it here! Haven't had such an experience or moment? We encourage you to contact Kaylee Pobocik, SPT, Director of Membership, APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors to discover APTA value and opportunities.
Mary Kay Hannah, PT, DPT, is a professor at Elon University.