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  • The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, March 2019

    "The Good Stuff" is an occasional series that highlights recent media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. Enjoy!

    Grab the popcorn: Lauren Snowdon, PT, DPT, professor in the Seton Hall physical therapy program, served as a clinical consultant for The Upside, the recently released movie starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart. (New Jersey Stage)

    Now hear this: Lisa Muratori, PT, is working with a music professor to create audio software that helps patients with neurological conditions sense gait fluctuations. (Wired)

    Waddle it be? Cara Berg-Carramusa PT, MSPT, has advice for minimizing slips on the ice: "You've got to walk like a penguin." (WKBN27 News, Youngstown, Ohio)

    Post-flight physical therapy: Air Force Capt Anna Adkins PT, DPT, is part of a new program aimed at keeping pilots healthy between missions. (Stars and Stripes)

    Rolling with it: Karena Wu PT, DPT, explains some of the advantages of using a foam roller to address muscle soreness. (Better magazine)

    Let's dance: Michelle Ritter McGuire, PT, helps run an innovative program for the Cincinnati Ballet to bring adaptive dance to children with motor disabilities. (Falmouth, Kentucky, Outlook)

    The PT as DJ: Creighton University physical therapy students Danny McAndrew, SPT, and Kelsey Biaggi, SPT, are helping conduct research on the effect of customized playlists that use songs with specific beats-per-minute to help runners adjust their stride to lessen pain. Creighton professor Terry Grindstaff PT, ATC, PhD, is advising on the project. (KMTV3 News Now, Omaha, Nebraska)

    Making tummy time easier to stomach: Kristy Johnson, SPT, explains why it's important for parents to ensure that their infants spend time on their stomachs—even it's not their favorite thing to do. (KXNET News, Bismarck, North Dakota)

    Triathlete, PT, and mom of 3: Delaine Fowler PT, DPT, describes her approach to training during and after pregnancy. (Salisbury, North Carolina, Post)

    You don't know the calf of it: Nicole Haas PT, DPT, shares her perspective on the importance of calf strength. (Outside)

    Exercise and PD: Michael Braitsch, PT, DPT, outlines the importance of exercise for individuals with Parkinson disease. (Parkinson's News Today)

    Quotable: "If you have been smart enough to get PT after a problem, never second-guess the therapist. If he or she tells you to ice it twice a day, do it. If there is a rehab program assigned for ‘homework,’ follow it as scheduled." – Wina Sturgeon, editor of Adventure Sports Weekly (Bristol, Virginia, Herald Courier)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    North Carolina PTs Get Decisive Dry Needling Win

    After a nearly 4-year battle, physical therapists (PTs) in North Carolina can finally claim victory in their fight to protect dry needling: last week, the state's acupuncture licensing board relented on its attempt to restrict the intervention, signing off on a settlement agreement in federal district court that acknowledges dry needling as a part of the PT scope of practice in the state. The settlement is a decisive win for APTA’s state chapter, the North Carolina Physical Therapy Association (NCPTA), as well as for APTA, which provided support for the chapter's efforts.

    The agreement effectively ends a lawsuit brought by 4 PTs and 2 patients against the North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board (NCALB) in October 2015. That lawsuit asserted the NCALB's efforts to prevent PTs from engaging in dry needling—efforts that included issuing "cease and desist" letters to PTs who perform dry needling and threats that they would be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for violating federal antitrust laws.

    The lawsuit continued in court for the next 3 years, surviving the NCALB's attempts to get the case thrown out. Dry needling was also at issue in a September 2015 suit filed against the state's physical therapy licensing board by the NCALB, which sought to have a county superior court declare that dry needling is outside the scope of PT practice. That suit eventually wound up in the state's Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court's ruling that dry needling was part of PT practice in the state. The agreement reached in the federal case applies to current and future acupuncture boards, and includes a monetary settlement to the plaintiffs.

    "The Acupuncture Board finally yielded to the NCPTA's demands," said NCPTA President J. Kyle Covington, PT, DPT, PhD, in an online statement. "This tremendous victory—including the monetary settlement—sends a powerful message to those would seek to prevent our patients from receiving the treatment they need: no matter how tough the fight, no matter how long it takes, NCPTA will always stand up for our patients' access to care."

    At the national level, APTA assisted the North Carolina Chapter during the fight, as did other APTA components and individual members.

    APTA Director of State Affairs Angela Shuman says the decisive victory is a testament to both the validity of dry needling as a legitimate component of PT practice and the commitment of PTs, the North Carolina Chapter of APTA, and the association as a whole.

    "This is a major win for patients and physical therapists in North Carolina," Shuman said. "But it could not have been achieved without some amazingly hard word by the North Carolina Chapter and its members, and APTA is proud of what they have accomplished."

    New APTA Partnership Aimed at Improving Health Care Throughout the Americas

    APTA will be doing even more to support access to rehabilitative services beyond US borders, thanks to its newest partnership, with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the world's oldest international public health agency.

    PAHO is now a participant in the APTA Partnerships Program, an initiative aimed at enhancing relationships between the association and other organizations that share common goals. APTA's collaboration with PAHO initially will focus on collecting data on what countries in the Americas are doing ensure and improve access to health and rehabilitation services. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 150 million people in the western hemisphere live with a disability. Rehabilitation services are extremely limited in many countries across this region.

    Founded in 1902, PAHO works with other entities to promote equity in health and improve the lives of the peoples of the Americas. It serves as the Regional Office of WHO for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System.

    "APTA has been working to build and strengthen relationships that can be leveraged strategically to benefit health care. We've also been exploring ways to expand our activities related to global health and international development, and to promote to our members the importance of these issues," said APTA CEO Justin Moore, PT, DPT, in an APTA news release. "Our vision to transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience is well aligned with PAHO's plan. They are an ideal partner for us."

    PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne agrees that her organization and APTA are a good collaborative fit and thinks the partnership comes at an opportune time.

    "Rehabilitation is an increasingly important health service for the region, particularly for older populations and those who have experienced an injury or noncommunicable disease or for many with long- or short-term impairments," Etienne said. "This is an important partnership for PAHO as we look to strengthen rehabilitation services in the Americas."

    Other partners in the APTA Partnership Program include the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapy, the American College of Sports Medicine, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, Move Together, Special Olympics, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Crazy Little Thing Called (APTA) Love

    APTA members are sharing the APTA love—and their stories are all about finding community in the association, no matter the paths they took to get there.

    In the spirit of Valentine's Day, APTA asked members to share their "APTA love stories" by recounting how they first came to join the association, and what made them feel a true connection to the organization and fellow members. The results are being posted to social media and have been collected on a special "APTA Love Stories" webpage.

    The stories reflect the diversity of the APTA membership. From a then-DPT student who questioned a program's membership requirement only to come to see the value in the connections she made, to an aspiring physical therapist (PT) who asked to join APTA before she'd even entered school, to longtime PTs who've spent their careers involved in the association, the details are varied. The common thread: each member discovered the ways APTA builds connections, strengthens the profession, and provides opportunities for professional growth.

    But that's not where the stories end. APTA will continue to collect member reflections and periodically publish what members share, so watch your social media feeds and check back with the Love Stories page from time to time.

    How about you? We'd love to hear your "APTA love story"—visit the APTA Engage website to find out how to get started.

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, February 2019

    "The Good Stuff" is an occasional series that highlights recent media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. Enjoy!

    The power of Darfur United: Alexandra Nuttall-Smith, PT, MPT, ATC, shares her experiences as athletic trainer for the world's first soccer team of former refugees. (NATA News)

    Quotable: “Physical therapy students get more intensive anatomy training than our medical students because their profession is very anatomy dependent. They are so knowledgeable and great with the med students that it’s just like having another faculty member. It was an experiment that I think is going really well.” –Daniel Topping, MD, director of the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine's anatomy lab, explaining why the lab has adopted a program that brings in DPT students to help instruct medical students. Kayla Combs, SPT; Akash Bali, SPT; and Kelly LaMaster, SPT, were recent student-instructors; Patrick Pabian, PT, DPT, is UCF DPT program director. (University of Central Florida News)

    The private details: Karen Litzy, PT, DPT, offers tips on growing a private practice. (Authority Magazine)

    Battle of the bands: Brian Gurney, PT, DPT, provides suggestions on ways to properly stretch the iliotibial band to lessen hip and knee pain. (Prevention)

    Quotable: "No one ever died of an overdose of physical therapy." –Caleb Alexander, codirector of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, on the need for insurers to increase access and lower patient costs for nonpharmacological approaches to pain management. (Politico)

    A lesson in advocacy: Ashley Wallace, SPT, is among the University of Southern California DPT students learning about advocacy from professors Cheryl Resnik, PT, DPT, FAPTA, and Yogi Matharu, PT, DPT, MBA, while Scott McAfee PT, DPT, a recent graduate of the USC program, says he's still benefitting from the lessons learned. (USC News)

    Exercising the options: Amy Stein PT, and Heather Jeffcoat, PT, DPT, rate the top Kegel exercisers. (New York magazine)

    Post-resolution solutions: Stephen Rapposelli, PT, lays out 8 tips for improving health even after the New Year's resolutions have been abandoned. (Delaware online)

    Dealing with bladder leaks: Carrie Pagliano PT, DPT, explains how physical therapy can help women overcome stress incontinence. (Consumer Reports)

    Quotable: "The important thing to remember is we aren't treating ALS. We’re treating Kelli." -Greg Bachman, PT, on his work with Kelli Johnson, who is now in her 10th year of living with ALS. (Emporia, Kansas, Gazette)

    No slouch at posture instruction: Julie Moon, PT, provides pointers and exercises to improve posture. (KHON2 News, Honolulu)

    Home is where the gym is: Brian Jones, PT, discusses simple ways to create usable exercise space at home. (C&G Newspapers)

    Massager messenger: David Reavy, PT, MBA, lists the best back massage devices to help ease pain. (Prevention)

    Quotable: "That’s when I learned what a difference there is between doing some exercises on my own versus having a physical therapist guide my rehabilitation. And those professionals have tools and techniques to help manage pain and inflammation that would not be available to me otherwise, unless I become a professional athlete. " – Donna Kallner, describing the importance of rehabilitation even when living in a rural area makes access challenging. (The Daily Yonder)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    APTA Volunteer Opportunities Now Available

    There are new volunteer opportunities available with APTA—and a new way of letting the association know you're interested.

    Calls are now open for several APTA Board of Directors-appointed groups, including the Reference, Ethics and Judicial, Finance and Audit, Public Policy and Advocacy, and Scientific and Practice Affairs committees; as well as APTA awards subcommittees on advocacy, education, lectures, practice and service, publications, research, scholarships, and Catherine Worthingham Fellows. Deadline for making your interest known is February 28, 2019, for all groups except the Reference Committee, which has a March 1 deadline. More information on the opportunities can be found on APTA's volunteer groups webpage.

    But that's not all of what's new when it comes to volunteering with APTA. The most recent call for volunteers coincides with the debut of APTA Engage, a new volunteer portal designed to make it easier to serve the association and its components. The new system allows users to build a volunteer profile that can help identify the right volunteer fit, and features a dynamic list of opportunities ranging from 1-time, low time-commitment, locally based options to long-term volunteer positions at the national level.

    Members interested in volunteer positions currently open should use APTA Engage to notify the association of their willingness to serve, but even those who aren't hoping to participate in 1 of the currently available roles should consider creating an APTA Engage profile soon to make the process that much easier when other opportunities present themselves. Questions? Contact denakilgore@apta.org.

    'No Bigger Fan': US Surgeon General Believes the Physical Therapy Profession is a Key Player in the Fight Against Opioid Misuse

    If you think the physical therapy profession has an important role to play in improving public health on multiple fronts, you won't get any arguments from US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH. In fact, you might get the rhetorical equivalent of a high-five.

    In an address that repeatedly cited the APTA's community-building mission, Adams told his audience of association leaders that the profession is "well-positioned to change the culture around pain management" in the United States and that "we know that physical therapy is going to be a part of" the evolution toward value-based care. The remarks were delivered as part of the APTA Component Leadership Meeting, an event that preceded the 2019 APTA Combined Sections meeting being held in Washington, DC, January 23-26.

    Adams focused on the opioid crisis and the physical therapy profession's role in addressing it, with an emphasis on the importance of involving and educating communities on nonopioid alternatives to pain management, and compassionate care and treatment of individuals with addictions. It's a concept Adams is extending to public health in general through what he calls "better health through better partnerships."

    Surgeon General Speaks at CSM
    Surgeon General of the United States Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, addressed a meeting of APTA component leaders.

     

    "We can't operate in silos" to address public health challenges such as the opioid crisis, Adams said. "We need partnerships and we need collaborations. We need to bring people and organizations together that we may never worked with, never thought of before."

    The fact that APTA's new mission statement is rooted in the idea of building a community to improve the health of society wasn't lost on Adams, who cited both the association's mission and its #BetterTogether hashtag as a reflection of the values he believes are key to positive change.

    "APTA is a public health leader within communities," Adams said, and among the "game changers and disruptors" that will be necessary players in turning the tide on opioid abuse.

    Adams acknowledged that the country's health care system contributed to the rise of opioids and in many ways was not prepared for the crisis it now faces. In fact, he explained, the issue wasn't on the radar of most public health experts—but attitudes quickly changed. Paraphrasing boxer Mike Tyson, Adams told the audience that "Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

    "The opioid crisis is our punch in the mouth," he said.

    Adams has a firsthand understanding of the devastating consequences of addiction. He told the audience that is brother is currently in prison, serving out a sentence for theft committed to support his opioid addiction.

    "Addiction can happen to anyone," he said. "Even the brother of the United States Surgeon General."

    And while the opioid crisis has ravaged families and communities, "out of this tragedy there is tremendous opportunity," Adams said. That opportunity is rooted in making connections both across health care disciplines and throughout communities. He urged APTA members to become well-educated on opioid addiction and its treatment—including learning how to carry and administer the anti-overdose drug Naloxone—and to help promote nonopioid pain management through initiatives such as APTA's own #ChoosePT campaign and the Office of the Surgeon General's resources on opioid addiction and prevention.

    "It's an indisputable fact that physical therapists are well-positioned to change the culture around pain management," Adams said.

    He also believes the physical therapy profession is a leader that "should be at the table" for a wide range of health policy discussions—particularly when those discussions center on the evolution away from fee-for-service models and toward value-based care. The reason, he said, is simple: "We know that physical therapy is going to be a part of every one of those value-based practices."

    The bottom line for health care should be "stop paying for things that don't work and start paying for things that do work," including physical therapy, Adams added.

    In a brief Q-and-A session with APTA CEO Justin Moore, PT, DPT, after his remarks, Adams extended his community education philosophy to the challenge of changing the country's exercise habits. The problem for health care providers is that "we tend to talk in ways that make sense to us but don't resonate with other folks," Adams said. Instead, the exercise message needs to be built around the concept that regular physical activity can improve economic and social opportunities—better jobs, more time spent with family, and more prosperous communities.

    And if by the end of his address, anyone in the audience was still unsure of the surgeon general's attitude about the physical therapy profession, a follow-up APTA video interview left little room for doubt as to where Adams stands.

    "Physical therapists are key to overcoming not only the opioid epidemic but in creating healthier societies," Adams said. "Know that you have no bigger fan than the United States surgeon general."

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, January 2019

    "The Good Stuff," is an occasional series that highlights recent media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. Enjoy!

    The PT as gaitkeeper: Colleen Brough, PT, DPT, MS, and Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, talks about the importance of gait analysis to help prevent injury in runners. (CNN)

    Quotable: "Our profession right now is the sleeping giant." – Sharna Prasad, PT, on the role of physical therapy in contributing to a better understanding of pain and pain treatment. (Straight Shot Health podcast)

    An exemplary Navy PT: Marissa Greene, PT, DPT, has been selected as the 2018 Navy Medicine Physical Therapist of the Year. (Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)

    Guarding the rear: Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT, discusses the ways sciatica can include pain in the backside. (Women's Health)

    On a roll(er): Jeffrey Yellin, PT, explains the importance of taking the right approach to the use of foam rollers. (Bustle.com)

    Living his dream: Brett Bousquet, PT, DPT, and Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, describes his role as a PT for the Milwaukee Bucks. (Pacific University, Oregon, Alumni News)

    Punching back at PD: Kristin Hawley, PT, shares the benefits of the Rock Steady Boxing program for individuals with Parkinson Disease. (Muscatine, Iowa, Voice of Muscatine)

    Quotable: “Physical therapy taught me that, even though I was depressed and sad about hurting, movement felt good." – Karla Pankow, whose lifestyle changes (including regular physical therapy) led to a 100-pound weight loss. (NBC News)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    While You're in the Neighborhood: 2 Easy-to-Do Opportunities to Help the Local Community During CSM

    Headed to the 2019 APTA Combined Sections Meeting (CSM)? Now you can help out the local community while you're there. It's easy.

    This year, CSM attendees have 2 opportunities to help kids and adults in the DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia (DMV) area. One involves little more than downloading an app and doing what physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students like to do anyway—move. The other may require that you pack a little extra something into your luggage before you leave, but hey, do you really need those extra pairs of socks?

    Details on both programs, and how to sign up, are available on APTA's CSM Community Service webpage. Here's a quick rundown of the opportunities:

    1. Walk4Wheels Step Challenge
    What is it? A good old-fashioned count-your-steps-for-charity jam. APTA is poised to donate $10,000 to the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital's adaptive sports program, which serves families in the DMV by providing sports programs to anyone with a physical disability at no cost—but we need to meet a step goal first.

    What do I have to do? Just walk. Use the link on the CSM Community Service webpage to download a special app that tracks your steps each day between Monday, January 21, through midnight, January 27. If attendees, members, and staff reach a combined goal of 135 million steps, APTA will make the $10,000 donation. Best of all, you don't need to attend CSM to participate—anyone can download the app and help contribute to this great cause.

    2. Sports Equipment Drive
    What is it? APTA national, the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy, the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy, and the APTA Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Wellness have partnered with the nonprofit Level Playing Field (LPF) to sponsor a collection drive for new and used sports equipment to provide to low-income kids in the DMV area.

    What do I have to do? Review a list of needed items, then bring your donations to the CSM exhibit hall during the times listed on the CSM Community Service webpage, or during the Academy of Sports Physical Therapy's social event on Friday, January 25, 7:00 pm–7:30 pm (Mariott Marquis, Salon LM). Alternatively, you can simply make a financial donation to LPF. (Note: don't donate large equipment that's bulky or hard to transport.)

    Relevant Reading: 2018's Top PT in Motion Magazine Stories

    Want to get a feel for the reach and diversity of the physical therapy profession? Browse through a few issues of PT in Motion magazine, APTA's award-winning monthly member publication—whether it's an exploration of what physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) need to know about medical marijuana or an investigation into working with particular populations such as combat athletes, articles are packed with information, insight, and most important, relevance.

    If you missed out on a story, don't worry—APTA maintains an online archive of back issues you can access any time.

    And if you don't know where to start, we can help with that, too. Here are links to the 5 most popular articles from 2018.

    A Growing Interest in Medical Marijuana
    When it comes to the use of medical marijuana, PTs and PTAs need to understand not only the complicated legal landscape associated with use of the drug, but the ways in which use of medical marijuana may influence physical therapy care.

    Improving the Lives of People With Dementia
    Although it may seem counterintuitive to some, PTs and PTAs have an important role to play in the care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

    Working With Combat Athletes
    Combat athletes—individuals who compete in sports such as boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, and Brazilian jiu jitsu—subject their bodies to intensely demanding situations that can lead to serious injury. But PTs and PTAs can be instrumental in helping them recover from (and even prevent) those injuries and come out swinging—or kicking. Or both.

    Pedaling Past Injury
    More than 100 million Americans ride a bike each year. No matter the kind of riding they do, all riders face some of the same challenges, such as risk for falling, overuse injuries, and improper alignment due to a poor bike fit. That's where PTs and PTAs come in.

    Not 'Small Adults'
    PTs and PTAs treating pediatric overuse injuries must approach their work with the understanding that the biomechanics of children can be different from those of adults. And that can get complicated.