What did the Board of Directors (Board) do with the recommendations from the Best Practice for Physical Therapist Clinical Education Task Force that it reviewed in November?
The APTA Board of Directors voted to forward the recommendations of the task force to the Education Leadership Partnership (ELP) for action. The Board believes this approach will ensure inclusion and transparency in the process of addressing these recommendations.
The ELP includes representatives from APTA, the Education Section of APTA, and the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT). It was formed in 2016 with the purpose of working collectively to address priority areas in physical therapy education. The ELP subsequently adopted the purpose of "reducing unwarranted variation in practice by focusing on best practices in education" to guide its work.
What action did the Board take on Recommendation 1: "That formal preparation for practice includes physical therapist professional education, followed by a clinical internship and mandatory postprofessional residency, and is accomplished through a process of staged licensure and specialty certification"?
The Board adopted a significantly amended version of Recommendation 1 that eliminates the paradigm-shifting charge for a mandatory residency, staged licensure, and board certification.
The Board's actions were the result of months of extensive stakeholder engagement opportunities, including multiple in-person and virtual town halls, an online survey, and extensive online resources. Valuing the feedback received by stakeholders, the Board adopted the following language relative to Recommendation 1:
That a long-term strategic plan for physical therapist professional and postprofessional education, including staging of activities, be developed to create a work force prepared to meet the evolving needs of society. Engagement with relevant stakeholders will be critical to this effort.
Does the Board approval of the additional task force recommendations mean that all of the items outlined within them are going to happen?
The Board recognized the intent of the task force's recommendations in terms of outlining a direction for the future of physical therapist education, and it approved Recommendations 2-5 as presented. In directing the ELP to continue exploring the issues and concepts of the recommendations, the Board has put its confidence in the ELP to consider these interrelated recommendations in context and recommend action that it collectively believes is in the best interests of the profession.
What power does the Education Leadership Partnership (ELP) have to address these recommendations?
While the ELP cannot bind or commit any of the participating groups to action, it was expected that the representatives from the groups would take information back to their respective boards for consideration.
In 2016, ACAPT, APTA, and the Education Section signed a Memorandum of Understanding that stated, "The [ELP (Committee)] is intended to be a group with a more global perspective than that of any one organization represented on the Committee or any other stakeholder." By ratifying the MOU, the 3 groups agreed to the following:
The Committee shall strive to bring together all relevant stakeholders having an interest in promoting excellence in physical therapist education. The Committee will solicit input and feedback from the organizations represented on the Committee as well as other stakeholders, such as clinical educators, employers, students, the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education ("ABPTRFE"), the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties ("ABPTS"), and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy ("FSBPT").
The Committee shall consider how best to achieve the various recommended actions identified in Annex A. The Committee shall make recommendations to the Founders [ACAPT, APTA, and the Education Section] with respect to the implementation of these recommended actions. Such recommendations may identify the organization or organizations best situated to carry out the work necessary to implement an action. The Committee may make recommendations to the Founders concerning amendments to this Memorandum.
The Committee shall communicate its recommendations to the presidents of the Founders. In order to improve transparency, collaboration, and accountability, each Founder shall make the Committee's recommendations available (eg, by way of the Founders' websites) to all stakeholders in physical therapy education. The Founders will make the Committee's recommendations public to stakeholders so that any group may take action on recommendations if the Founders decline to do so.
Did the Board provide a timeline for these recommendations to be addressed or accomplished?
No. The Board left it to the ELP to establish a strategic plan that would include activities and timelines. The Board recognizes the interrelatedness of these various tasks; and that some work already is being done through previously adopted recommendations, some outcomes will emerge quickly, and others will take significant time due to data and resource needs.
How can I stay informed about the ELP's progress on these issues?
Visit the Education Leadership Partnership webpage for information about the ELP and its ongoing works.
Who do I contact with feedback?
The ELP has 9 voting members, with 3 from each of the participating organizations. Depending on your membership status it may be appropriate to share your thoughts with all 9. You also can send your thoughts to the ELP staff contacts.
- ACAPT Representatives: Zoher Kapasi, PT, PhD, MBA (chair), Nancy Reese, PT, PhD, MHSA, Scott Ward, PT, PhD, FAPTA
- APTA Representatives: Susan Appling, PT, DPT, PhD, Roger Herr, PT, MPA, Bob Rowe, PT, DPT, DMT, MHS
- Education Section Representatives: Laurie Kontney, PT, DPT, MS, Jennifer Mai, PT, DPT, PhD, Sandy Quillen, PT, DPT, PhD
- Staff Contacts: Steven Chesbro, PT, DPT, EdD, Bill Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAPTA