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  • Vision in Action: 2019 House of Delegates Sees Important Role for APTA in Host of Professional, Societal Issues

    APTA's outward-facing, forward-leaning vision continues to guide APTA’s House of Delegates. The policy-making body considered 70 motions during the 75th House session addressing a wide range of issues, yet 1 overarching theme was clear: the House believes APTA has the potential to be a change agent for the profession and society at large.

    APTA as Advocate
    Delegates approved multiple motions aimed at positioning the association as an advocate for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive profession, beginning with a general statement that APTA "supports efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion to better serve the association, profession, and society." The House also unanimously adopted stronger language around the association's commitment to nondiscrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or health status; as well as a charge directing APTA to work with stakeholders to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in all areas of physical therapy, including clinical, educational, and research settings.

    The House also voted to add language to the Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist (PT) and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) that more clearly describes the duty of PTs and PTAs to report verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual harassment. In addition, delegates approved revisions to the Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy that better align the document with the APTA vision statement and more explicitly reflect the role of PTs in population health and community engagement. In addition, the House created a single set of core values for both the PT and PTA to replace separate versions for each, noting in discussion that core values are common to PTs and PTAs but discrete from behaviors, which continue to be appropriately described in the separate ethics documents.

    Other profession-focused House actions included unanimous approval of the definition of the movement system as "the integration of body systems that generate and maintain movement at all levels of bodily function," further describing human movement as "a complex behavior within a specific context…influenced by social, environmental, and personal factors." The definition will further strengthen APTA's efforts to promote the movement system as a critical component of the physical therapy profession's identity.

    Societal Issues and population health
    The House passed multiple motions related to the ways both the association and individual PTs and PTAs are connected to larger societal issues. In addition to updating positions on the association's role in advocacy for prevention, fitness, wellness, health promotion, and population health, delegates voted to broaden APTA's ability to respond to health and social issues. The House provided examples of what those broader efforts will entail, approving motions that support taking a public health approach to gun violence, promoting public participation in vaccination schedules, improving health literacy, and supporting the availability in physical therapy settings of the drug naloxone to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose.

    A new area of specialization: wound management physical therapy
    Making it the 10th area of physical therapist clinical specialization, delegates approved the creation of a wound management specialty area for certification by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, a proposal developed by the APTA Academy of Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management.

    Finally, in keeping with APTA’s ongoing efforts to follow best practices in governance, the motions deliberated at the House included the second phase of a complete review of all House-generated documents. The review, conducted by a special committee of the House over the course of 2 years, focused on updating, consolidating, and sometimes rescinding documents, resulting in recommendations for changes to more than 100 House policies, positions, directives, and other guidance.

    Comments

    • Way to go House of Delegates! So proud to be a physical therapist and of our association to be an agent of change to improve lives everywhere!

      Posted by Katie Burch on 6/20/2019 1:17 AM

    • If the APTA is going to address societal issues and population health, they need to focus on a public health approach to the causes of all violence and not just "gun violence".

      Posted by James Barsky -> >MT`<I on 6/20/2019 4:41 AM

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