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  • PT Leader Helen Hislop Dies

    Physical therapy leader, educator, and author Helen Hislop, PT, PhD, FAPTA, has died near her home in High Point, North Carolina. She was 84.

    Chair of the Department of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California (USC) until her retirement in 1998, Hislop was also a widely read author of journal articles and textbooks, including Daniels and Worthingham's Muscle Testing, Techniques of Manual Examination and Performance Testing (co-author). Hislop contributed to APTA in many capacities, serving as editor of Physical Therapy from 1961 to 1968, on the Board of Directors from 1976 to 1982, and playing a leading role in the development of the postprofessional education program. Her work in education and research helped to shape the profession of physical therapy as it exists today.

    Hislop's skills as a critical thinker and writer were recognized in 1991 when APTA established the Helen J. Hislop Award for Outstanding Contributions to Professional Literature. Hislop was herself the recipient of several major honors during her lifetime, including the Golden Pen Award, the Lucy Blair Service Award, and inclusion as a McMillan lecturer. She was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in 1983.

    Hislop received her undergraduate education at Central College in Pella, Iowa, and her certificate in physical therapy and master's degree, and doctoral degrees in Physiology from The University of Iowa. She contributed an oral history that is available for loan from the APTA library.

    Look for a full tribute to Hislop in an upcoming issue of Physical Therapy.


    • Great teacher, inspiring leader and a warm human being. She was the program director at USC when I was a student. Am very fortunate to have met her and known her for so many years. She was a major influence in my professional development. A deep loss for the profession.

      Posted by Judith Deutsch on 11/19/2013 10:03 PM

    • A true visionary in our profession. May she rest in peace!

      Posted by Kavork Hagopian, PT on 11/20/2013 10:51 AM

    • Helen was a true pioneer and acredit to the profession. She will be sorely missed but her legacy lives on in her body of work.

      Posted by Louise D Yurko on 11/20/2013 1:12 PM

    • My mentor and friend, she was my research advisor in my entry-level PT education, and my boss for 10 years at USC. I watched her "invent" the DPT degree during a faculty retreat around 1990 as she took us, over 2 days, through the rationale and justification for the degree. It was my first but certainly not last exposure to the genius of her vision. I'll miss her.

      Posted by Rob Landel on 11/21/2013 2:09 PM

    • I had Dr. Hislop for my neurology class at USC, in 1974. Her intellect, wisdom, and passion for the PT profession was obvious, and the inspiration which flowed from this was so very motivating to a student. I also had the privilege of listening to her give the Mary McMillan lecture in 1975, presenting the concept of pathokinesiology. Yes, she will be missed, bkut finished the race here on earth with excellence. Gordon Oakes

      Posted by Gordon Oakes -> AGY[< on 11/21/2013 10:20 PM

    • I loved the way she taught and thought. She was a wonderful and mentor and friend. She meant a great deal to me and to our profession.

      Posted by R. Scott Ward -> AFX_= on 11/22/2013 5:30 PM

    • She was the epitome of the professional "dreamer" physical therapy has needed over the years - a true visionary. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know her while part of the USC faculty.

      Posted by Georgeanne Vlad on 11/22/2013 5:38 PM

    • Truly a great inspiration and innovator for the profession of physical therapy. Dr. Hislop was a mentor and motivator to all the students who went to the University of Southern California ! To those whose research she advised will never forget the lessons she taught about research. To the profession her vision of what our profession could be became what is now sculpted ours as a doctoring profession . You were a magnificent orator and leader. Thank you Dr. Hislop for 40 years of being a friend and mentor to myself and to our profession

      Posted by Dr. Thomas Eggleton on 11/22/2013 6:12 PM

    • Dr. Hislop was an inspiration to me as a PT student at USC from 1990-1992. She was well known to teach us how to be "critical thinkers" and to this day, I attribute my success as a PT to her. She continues to influence my decisions as I am reminded each day of how to be a better therapist. Sorry she is gone.

      Posted by Scott Morley, PT, OCS on 11/22/2013 6:29 PM

    • Her visions have helped push our profession forward in many ways. She was an inspiring speaker. I feel very fortunate to have been her student. She will be missed.

      Posted by Michelle McCarthy on 11/22/2013 7:32 PM

    • Helen was a true leader by example. Because of her, I went on to be active in the Physical Thearpy Association and became state president for the Oregon Chapter. She will be missed for all she has done and the examples she demonstrated through her professionalism

      Posted by Joyce Wheeler on 11/22/2013 9:06 PM

    • Rest in Peace Helen! We stand on your shoulders and advance the profession. Thank you for being the pioneer of physical therapy ~ You will be remembered.

      Posted by Katy Flagge on 11/22/2013 9:31 PM

    • I had the privilege of knowing Helen for over 40 years. Her impact on the profession will reverberate for a century. She challenged us with her incredible intellect and dazzled us with her vocabulary! The "Not So Impossible Dream" will be a reality because Helen had the courage to dream and the ability to articulate the greatness physical therapy will rise to one day. We need more Helen Hislops to lift our souls and minds--to remind us of what we can be if we set our profession's goals just a bit beyond our reach today. Who will meet her challenge? Who will pick up her torch? Well done, Helen. Well done!

      Posted by Patti Evans on 11/22/2013 10:39 PM

    • With deep and profound sentiment of mourning, I like to manifest my most honest feeling, to the one person, who modelated my insights as a P.T. student, through her article at The Physical Therapy Association Journal, on The Not So Impposible Dream, were on a brillant,visionary and extraordinary way Dr. Hellen Hishlop described in such esrly stages of our profession, the real problems of levels and the need of Physical Therapists achiving thr level required, in order to assume the lidership position of responsabilities in all senses of our profession. Is with sadness and as well with rejoyce that I express my fairwell to whom I considered a bastion/bulwark for most of us.Thank you Dr. Hislop. Will always be remembered.

      Posted by Francisco Herrero-Garcia on 11/23/2013 7:37 AM

    • Dr. Hislop was a leader , a mentor, a visionary person not only in US, but also, overseas. Thank you Helen from the heart of the Egyptian Physical Therapy Association and Cairo University for your help to develop our faculty and profession in Egypt. Ahmed Samir Elokda

      Posted by Ahmed Elokda on 11/23/2013 8:02 AM

    • I had the distinct privilege to experience Helen's outstanding attributes when I was a student in her "advanced master's" degree program (a precursor to a clinical residency) and as a member of the faculty at USC during the period when she delivered her pivotal "Not So Impossible Dream" McMillan lecture. She was a true visionary for our profession and eloquent in her commentaries. I needed a dictionary with me every time she spoke! Her impact on our profession will be noted long into the future. We are all indebted to her professional accomplishments.

      Posted by Michael A Pagliarulo on 11/23/2013 8:51 AM

    • Dr Hislop was a witty, wise, straightforward, legendary visionary for our profession. May we all aspire to bring her courage and spirit to the challenges our profession faces in our time the way she did in her time. Rest in peace my dear mentor, teacher, and friend.

      Posted by Kathy Sullivan on 11/23/2013 10:42 AM

    • Dr. Hislop's visions and contributions to the field of physical therapy will continue to guide us into the future. It was an honor to be a student in one of those visions, the first DPT class graduating from USC. May we remember her with admiration and respect for her contributions to the field, and her challenge for all of us to strive for our best.

      Posted by Mary Painter on 11/23/2013 2:43 PM

    • Helen recruited me to USC and profoundly influenced my future career in PT. She was a mentor, leader, true visionary, colleague and friend - and she was a wordsmith par excellence! Her influence on the profession was immense, through the programs she developed, the many students who went through those. I hope she meets up with the likes of Socrates and Aristotle - what discussions they would have.

      Posted by Joan M Walker on 11/23/2013 2:56 PM

    • Dr. Hislop was a caring and thoughtful person. When I graduated from PT school in 1996, she gave each of our 5 children an autographed children's book to remember her. Her and the staff at USC all made our experience very personal and special. Thank you Dr. Hislop for the memories.

      Posted by Jeff and Susan Bowers on 11/23/2013 10:12 PM

    • Dr. Hislop will be remembered for her Ioway with words.... Let's all strive to achieve her Impossible Dream, not to be mere "flashes in the pan"...

      Posted by John O. Barr, PT, PhD, FAPTA on 11/24/2013 8:35 PM

    • Dr. Hislop's McMillan Lecture "The Not So Impossible Dream" had a profound influence on the profession. We all benefited from her vision. Her loss affects us all.

      Posted by Elizabeth J. Protas, PT, Ph.D, FACSM, FAPTA on 11/25/2013 10:00 AM

    • Her McMillan lecture in 1967 brought the crowd to its feet, but her address in 1995 in Washington D.C at CSM brought the crowd to tears. That's who Helen Hislop was.

      Posted by Stephen A. Gudas on 11/25/2013 10:04 AM

    • I first met Dr. Hislop in 1972 as I entered my undergraduate P.T. program at USC. She impacted my professional life from that moment forward, later recruiting me to enter the post-professional advanced standing DPT program in 1996. Dr. Hislop was a teacher, mentor, friend. Her inspiring oration was beyond compare and allowed us insight into her vision and dreams. Her "Not so Impossible Dream" will stand as a continued torch for our profession. Rest in Peace, Helen. You will long be remembered as you touched and enhanced lives of so many. I will miss you.

      Posted by Carin Shuler on 11/25/2013 1:29 PM

    • Would love to read the 1967 lecture and revisit her "Not so Impossible Dream" lecture as well. Would APTA consider re-publishing?

      Posted by Bobbie Hurt on 11/25/2013 3:23 PM

    • Helen was also a warm, compassionate member of her community. My sister who for years served her daily breakfast at Foxy's in Downey, CA had a great respect for her. Yes, she was brillant. She was also humble and knew how to connect and brighten the days of all in her path.

      Posted by Debi Craddock on 11/25/2013 6:42 PM

    • Helen will be greatly missed an inspiring leader and advocate for physical therapy having a vision beyond her time in the 70's and 80's making it possible to have our advanced degrees. Thank you Dr Hislop and rest in peace I appreciate all you have done for me because I have reaped the benefit of all your hard work and efforts.

      Posted by Randy C Bruce on 11/26/2013 3:15 PM

    • Thank you, Dr. Hislop for your wise counsel and inpirational leadership. You helped myself and so many others as research advisor, course instructor, and as Program Director. You blazed so many paths that all lead to a brighter future for the profession of Physical Therapy.

      Posted by Walt Weiss, MPT, NCS on 11/26/2013 5:16 PM

    • May she rest in peace. I never like hearing when great leaders and contributors to the field pass on. She will be missed

      Posted by Dave on 12/1/2013 3:36 PM

    • May she rest in peace. She was a genuine mentor to Rancho and USC. Her vision was beyond her time as she challenged Rancho staff, USC and physical therapy to move beyond the present into the future as she envisioned it. We recognize her leadership and thank her for it. May we continue to develop in her vision.

      Posted by Jocelyn Blaskey on 12/3/2013 11:06 PM

    • I met Helen in the pool at the Duke Center for Living where we both took a class for people with arthritis. Her sense of humor, her wry irony, her clever comebacks, and her sense of fun always had me and the others in the class laughing. As part of the so-called Pool Buddies, she opended her home to us for several luncheons -- I still have a giant chocolate rabbit that I won in a raffle she had at one of those events. Yes, I named the rabbit Helen. I miss Helen. She was an amazing person and a wonderful, loving woman.

      Posted by Judy Gehrig on 12/28/2013 12:39 AM

    • Dr. Hislop was a great wit and visionary, also with a flair for signal events and showmanship, including the use of bagpipers when called for. One thing I really admired about her too was her sense of follow-through, and commitment to our patients. I have been inspired by, and shared with many PT students over the years, her following statement: if there is a patient you are treating, who develops a pressure sore, that is Your responsibility. No halfway measures for this great lady!

      Posted by Jeff Carr on 1/11/2014 4:40 PM

    • Dr Hislop was awesome and inspirational to all of her students! I will always remember her for her expertise and striving for excellence in us all!! She is missed!!

      Posted by Judy. Taylor on 8/3/2014 7:07 PM

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