Background on PASS

Imagination. Inspiration. Innovation. That's what the Physical Therapy and Society Summit (PASS), a first-of-its-kind event for APTA and the physical therapy profession, was all about. PASS took place February 27-28, 2009, at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia, a location selected because if offered a retreat-type of setting that created the "think tank" atmosphere desired for the summit.

PASS used a pit/gallery format for discussion, with defined roles for participants in each section. The pit consisted of approximately 60 participants, including 30 physical therapists, and 30 non-physical therapists representing government, health policy, academia, engineering, bioscience, and information technology. These pit participants were joined by a gallery of approximately 60 individuals from the physical therapy profession. Individuals in the gallery responded to and offered additional input to the 60 participants in the pit, through interactive exchange prior to and during the meeting.

Physical therapist participants were selected through a nominations process that included a self-nomination option as well as the ability for members to nominate other members.

The PASS Steering Committee, with the assistance of a professional facilitator and graphic recorder, designed an invigorating experience and created a highly interactive environment that allowed rich, insightful discussion in five topic areas:

  • education - professional preparation,
  • health care access, systems and funding,
  • practice models,
  • research, and
  • technology.

PASS was the result of an APTA House of Delegates motion adopted in 2006, which states:

That the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) convene a summit in or by 2010 with annual reports to the House of Delegates that shall focus on how physical therapists can meet current, evolving, and future societal health care needs. The consideration of innovative process, technology, or practice models by this Summit on Physical Therapy and Society shall not be constrained by existing law, regulation, education, or reimbursement policy. Summit participants shall include but not be limited to leaders within: Physical therapy, Health policy, Public policy, Academia, Engineering, Bioscience, Theology, and Information technology. 

PASS was a first-of-its-kind event for the profession. It did not duplicate any of APTA's current activities.

The summit was planned by a ten-person steering committee, comprised of a cross-section of APTA members, including: several Catherine Worthingham Fellows, a new professional, a representative from the Massachusetts Chapter - maker of the motion, and the President of APTA's Board of Directors. Chaired by Colleen Kigin, PT, DPT, FAPTA, the Steering Committee also included:

  • Joan Bohmert, PT, MS,
  • Carl DeRosa, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA,
  • David Greathouse, PT, PhD, ECS, FAPTA,
  • Sara Knox, PT, DPT,
  • Mary Rodgers, PT, PhD,
  • Alexandra Sciaky, PT, DPT, MS, CCS,
  • Stanley Wilson, PT, EdD, CEAS,
  • Scott Ward, PT, PhD, and
  • Steve Wolf, PT, PhD, FAPTA.

Through the leadership and hard work of the PASS planning team and the active engagement of the PASS participants, the summit embodied the intent of the motion that brought it to life and achieved its stated mission:

  • PASS had an outward focus and examined, in collaboration with non-physical therapists, including caregivers, the profession's role in the larger health care system.
  • PASS highlighted the profession's positive impact on, and value to, patients/clients, and provided a forum for discussing the various forces at work that influence the profession, including those beyond the direct control of the profession such as economic and political forces.
  • During PASS a wide range of possible opportunities were identified in which physical therapists could take the lead to make a difference in current, evolving, and future societal health care needs.

The intent of APTA's Board of Directors and staff is to capitalize on the energy and ideas of PASS and act on the outcomes of PASS as appropriate in the context of APTA's current and future strategic priorities. A primary goal of the effort will be to engage and encourage members to act on the outcomes of PASS so that the exciting opportunities envisioned by PASS participants can take root and flourish.

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