The following candidate statement was written prior to Dhara's election as PT delegate of the Student Assembly Board of Directors.
To reach the vision of APTA, the profession needs physical therapists with a passion to promote and advance the world of physical therapy. I believe the Student Assembly can foster the growth of this type of physical therapist, and I want to be a catalyst for that growth. Serving as a student usher for the APTA House of Delegates (HOD) this year, it ignited a passion in me to serve the profession that has provided me my calling in life. Witnessing first-hand the inner workings of the HOD, I knew I wanted to serve my future colleagues by being a Student Physical Therapist Delegate.
During my undergraduate career, I traveled to Ecuador and served in a government-funded physical therapy clinic for two months. After the experience, I realized how fortunate America is to have abundant resources to treat our patients. I do not take for granted the resources physical therapists have, and I will always advocate to further our profession to better serve future physical therapists and to better serve our patients. From my leadership roles and experiences, I have cultivated the characteristics of empowerment, commitment, and being able to inspire.
Last year, I wrote a letter to my state representative to support the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act. After contributing in this very small way, I wanted to do MORE. I began to attend our state chapter conferences to learn more about the profession. I was the only one from my physical therapy class to attend the Alabama Chapter's fall conference. However, after expressing to my classmates the knowledge and inspiration I received from the conference, we had 20 people from our class attend the chapter's spring conference. That is how it works. We can spread enthusiasm, passion, energy, and create change. These experiences have led to my intent to run for SPT delegate.
My goals as SPT delegate are to always support the interests of student physical therapists, cultivating knowledge on how ALL students can be involved in legislative decisions, and energizing students to get involved with the student assembly. My goals include:
- Conducting webinars where students can ask questions on legislative matters affecting our profession and focus on learning topics. My thoughts are to have a webinar on how the HOD functions and how to start or increase involvement with a student special interest group in your state. These webinars would be a great tool for students from around the nation to collaborate with each other.
- Increasing student awareness in underrepresented states at the National Student Conclave and building excitement for student involvement at the Federal Advocacy Forum.
- Continuing the work of the current SPT Delegate by communicating and supporting sections and core ambassadors as their liaison.
Coming from a state in which we do not have a student special interest group and limited ways to get involved, I value every chance I receive to create an impact on our profession. Physical therapy is my passion, and I will put my heart into delivering the utmost service to my future colleagues.