International Summit Aims to Advance Physical Therapist Practice

Leaders from around the world will discuss key issues and explore emerging policies 

ALEXANDRIA, VA, October 20, 2009 — A groundbreaking international collaboration among the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA), and the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) will bring together thought leaders in physical therapy and policymakers October 22-24, in Washington, DC, to share their knowledge about access and practice issues facing the physical therapy profession.

The goal of the International Policy Summit on Direct Access and Advanced Scope of Practice in Physical Therapy is to advance the practice of physical therapy by exploring the current status of different nations and the emerging policies on direct access. The summit will include presentations on practical implementation of advanced or emerging scope of practice from the perspective of practitioners, patients, member organizations, education providers and institutes, and regulatory bodies. Policy and leadership development as critical components of advocacy and advancement for the physical therapy profession also will be discussed.

"We're honored to be hosting our colleagues from around the world at this inaugural event," says APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "With the United States on the cusp of health care reform, the opportunity to bring world leaders together in our profession to present on recent policy changes to advance physical therapy in their respective countries is exciting and timely."

WCPT's President Marilyn Moffat, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA, says, "The different experiences and perspectives of WCPT's 101 member organizations give strength to the international profession. This event is a tremendous opportunity to come together in a collegial, collaborative way to brainstorm, to create, and to be innovative as we look to the future together."

CPA also looks forward to the Summit and the unique opportunity to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the physical therapy profession in Canada and worldwide.

"CPA has been working very hard to ensure direct access to physiotherapy for all Canadians," says Alice Aiken, PT, PhD, president of CPA. "This will not only benefit individual patients but our health care system as a whole. By sharing our experiences and learning from our colleagues from other countries, we will strengthen the profession of physical therapy on a global level and ultimately help to improve the health care for people around the world."

Approximately 150 physical therapists from around the world are expected to attend the meeting, which will take place at the Gaylord Hotel and in National Harbor, Maryland.

Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility -- in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications. APTA represents approximately 76,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice, education, and research. In most states, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at