With National Physical Therapy Month kicking off, it's time to celebrate and raise awareness of the physical therapy profession. Need inspiration? Consider the stories of 3 physical therapists who are leading the way in promoting the profession worldwide.
Marilyn Moffat, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA, a past president of APTA, now is leading the way in her role as president of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT). This summer, Moffat was reelected to a second 4-year term as president of WCPT. In her first term, she co-coordinated the development of WCPT's Guidelines for Physical Therapist Entry Level Education and Standards of Physical Therapy Practice and served as a catalyst for a complete review of WCPT's declarations and position statements. She also was instrumental in the development of guidelines on accreditation/recognition of entry-level physical therapist education programs; clinical education; faculty qualifications; continuing professional development; disaster management; regulation/legislation for physical therapy practice; record keeping, storage, and retrieval; consequences of armed violence, landmines, and other weapons of war; and occupational health and safety. Moffat believes that "as a collective, [physical therapists] have the strength to be an indispensable and powerful force—both today and tomorrow." For more inspiration, read her complete Presidential Message.
Stanley Paris, PT, PhD, FAPTA, is leading the way through his participation in the international development of physical therapy. In honor of his work, Paris has received the Mildred Elson Award, the highest honor bestowed by WCPT on physical therapists who have contributed significantly to the development of physical therapy at an international level. Since his immigration to the US from New Zealand in 1966, he has been actively involved in research, clinical practice, and teaching in the area of orthopedic and manual physical therapy, and has influenced the world of physical therapy through his writing, teaching, clinical practice, and advocacy efforts. Paris is the founding president of the University of St Augustine for Health Sciences and has founded many other influential organizations. For example, he was the founding chairman and second president of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physiotherapists, and he founded APTA's Orthopaedic Section and served as its president. He also founded the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy.
Jill Boissonnault, PT, PhD, WCS, is leading the way through her contributions to international rehabilitation. In honor of her vision and passion in this area, Boissonnault has received WCPT's International Service Award, which is presented to individuals who have made great contributions to physical therapy in the areas of practice education, research, or administration and policy development. Boissonnault is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Physical Therapy Program, where she teaches seminars in professional issues, service learning, and palpatory anatomy, and coordinates a research practicum. She also is the creator of the International Organization of Physical Therapists in Women's Health (IOPTWH), which was recognized as a WCPT subgroup in 1998. IOPTWH has grown to include 17 countries and, due to Boissonnault's focused leadership, has produced a scope of practice document that is recognized by women's health physical therapy organizations around the globe. She also was the force behind a position statement on female genital mutilation that subsequently was adopted by WCPT and presented to the World Health Organization.