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  • Veteran and Emerging Physical Therapy Leaders Speak Out

    What's the difference between an emerging physical therapy leader and a well-established one?

    Not much—at least when it comes to love for their work and their vision of the profession’s future. (Apologies if you were expecting a punchline.)

    For its December issue, PT in Motion magazine posed an identical set of questions about the physical therapy profession to 2 seemingly different groups: this year's cohort of Catherine Worthingham Fellows of APTA (FAPTAs), and the 2019 class of APTA Emerging Leaders nominated by their chapter or section. Answers from the physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) tell the story of a profession that embraces its transformative potential but is clear-eyed about the challenges standing in the way.

    Questions posed ranged from the personal ("What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?") to the arguably unlikely ("If you had the undivided attention of Congress for 10 minutes to educate lawmakers about something related to physical therapy, what would you say?"), and points between. The answers, at times, were equally far-ranging.

    At other times, however, a seeming consensus emerged. Most respondents, for example, felt that today's younger generation of PTs and PTAs are better at establishing a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, the seasoned professionals and the relative newcomers generally share a perception that the cost of physical therapy education is making it difficult to create a more diverse physical therapy workforce.

    And, while not articulated in every response, it becomes clear as the article unfolds that nearly every responding PT and PTA places a strong value in the potential for dedicated professionals to make a difference for both individual patients and the physical therapy profession as a whole.

    Interviewee Gammon Earhart, PT, PhD, FAPTA, sees that value as a source of optimism.

    "Our biggest strength is our people. I am inspired by the talented, dedicated leaders in all areas of our profession who are passionate advocates for physical therapy," she said. "My optimism for the future comes not only from these current leaders, but equally from up-and-coming students and early-career professionals who bring great energy and new ideas."

    "Generation Rap: Veteran and Emerging Leaders Speak Out" is featured in the December issue of PT in Motion magazine and is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA.

    New APTA Campaign Makes Membership Personal—And Offers Prizes

    At APTA, it's always been about individual members working together to support shared values. That's the concept at the heart of a new membership campaign that builds on connections—and offers rewards to members who make them.

    APTA's "ONE by ONE" campaign, launched in October, makes membership personal by encouraging current members to recruit their fellow physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and physical therapy students to join the association. Every time they recruit a new or returning member, they're entered into a monthly drawing for a free year of APTA membership. And if a member is able to recruit 5 or more new members by the campaign's end on September 30, 2020, she or he is entered to win 1 of 5 iPads that will be given away in October 2020.

    But that's not all: If a new member also joins an APTA section, the recruiting member receives an additional entry in the monthly free membership drawing, and all new members recruited through ONE by ONE are entered into a monthly drawing for APTA’s Passport to Learning, which provides access to the association's continuing education offerings in the APTA Learning Center. There's even a prize for the participating section that experiences the largest year-over-year growth rate during the campaign. All the details can be found on the ONE by ONE webpage, including a toolkit that gives you everything you need to join the campaign.

    APTA member Christel Johnson, PT, MPT, from Texas, was among the first to win free APTA membership. She's thrilled to get a break on dues, of course, but is quick to point to the bigger picture.

    "I believe in APTA and what it stands for, and I appreciate how it works to support this profession that I love," Johnson said. "I speak with all of my colleagues, residents, and students, to make sure they understand all that APTA does for us and the importance of supporting the organization through membership."

    The APTA ONE by ONE campaign runs through September 30, 2020.

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, November 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!

    Getting soldiers back in shape: Kevin Houck, PT, DPT, recounts his experiences providing physical therapy to soldiers in the Middle East and the US. (Sharon, Pennsylvania Herald)

    Don't get uptight (quads): Rachel Tavel PT, DPT, offers stretching and relief techniques to help counter tight quadriceps. (Men's Health)

    Home is where the PT is: Jay Shaver, PT, makes house calls. (Kalispell, Montana, Daily Inter Lake)

    Falls prevention: Alex Anderson, SPT, discusses the importance of falls screening for adults 55 and older. (WHSV3 News, Harrisonburg, Virginia)

    Hospital-YMCA partnership: Becky Geren, PT, explains the physical therapy benefits of a new partnership between a local hospital and YMCA. (Chattanooga, Tennessee, Times Free Press)

    Thumb thing to think about: John Gallucci, PT, DPT, affirms that yes, "text thumb" is an actual injury, and provides tips on easing the discomfort.(Yahoo! Lifestyle)

    Making exercise habit-forming: Catherine Hoell, PT, DPT, shares her approach to helping her patients make exercise a part of their routines. (CapeCod.com)

    Quotable: "I want to be a patient advocate. I try to provide my patients with opportunities to improve their quality of life." -Ian Lonich, PT, DPT, who specializes in neurologic physical therapy. (Washington, Pennsylvania Observer-Reporter)

    Taping it for granted? Nick DiSarro, PT, DPT, peels back the real from the hype when it comes to kinesiology tape. (Parade)

    Spina bifida and e-stim: Gerti Motavalli, PT, outlines the benefits she has observed in using electrical stimulation therapy in treating children with spina bifida. (13 KRCG News, Columbia, Missouri)

    Advice for the hot-to-trot: Michael Conlon, PT, shares a few pointers to help get people ready to participate in post-Thanksgiving "Turkey Trot" runs. (NBC Better)

    Quotable: "I’m still interested in physical therapy. I get the magazines – it’s part of my life. You never get out of it!" Gertrude Schwarz, PT, who at 100 is the oldest living graduate of New York University's physical therapy program, on her love for her profession. (NYU News)

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

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, October 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!

    Quotable: “She pushes me almost to the limit every time I have physical therapy, which is twice a week. I encourage her to give me all I can take.” – Former President Jimmy Carter on the importance of physical therapy—and his PT—to his health at age 95. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

    Honoring the "silent teachers": Tyler Tice, SPT, was among the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences students who spearheaded an effort to create an on-campus labyrinth honoring anatomical donors to the school. (University of Delaware UDNews)

    What lies beneath: Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, describes the musculature that surfaces as sought-after "V-line abs"—after dietary change and a little exercise, of course. (openfit.com)

    Healthily ever after: Jenna Kantor, PT, DPT, is cofounder of Fairytale Physical Therapy, a program that incorporates theater and physical therapy in children's hospitals. (Good Morning America)

    Snooze, you win: Justin Ho, PT, DPT, outlines the importance of adequate sleep on overall health. (425 magazine)

    Getting out of a slump: Laurie Bell, PT, offers tips on attaining better posture. (Coshocton, Ohio Tribune)

    Aging should be a moving experience: Marion Marx, PT, age 90, helps her senior living community neighbors stay active. (Piedmont, California Patch)

    Putting a fine point on it: Josh Smith, PT, explains what dry needling's all about. (Lewes, Delaware Cape-Gazette)

    In sickness and in running shorts: David Ryland, SPT, managed to work in a marathon relay race on his wedding day—and his team earned second place. (Akron, Ohio Beacon Journal)

    Quotable: "Two minutes of being in there ... she knew. She put my arm up in the air and felt around and held my pulse. ... My pulse was just completely gone in my hand." – Madison Stoffel, a swimmer who experienced thoracic outlet syndrome that went undiagnosed—until she visited a PT. (Arlington Heights, Illinois Daily Herald)

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

    2019 APTA Honors and Awards Nominations Now Open

    Members of the physical therapy profession do amazing things for people every day, and not just inside the walls of a clinic. And with National Physical Therapy Month upon us, now's the perfect time to honor those contributions by nominating an APTA member for national recognition through the APTA Honors & Awards program.

    The APTA Honors & Awards program is now accepting nominations for the 2020 awards cycle, an annual effort aimed at celebrating members' outstanding achievements in the areas of education, practice and service, publications, research, and academic excellence. In 2017 the awards program was expanded to include humanitarian work and societal impact, and this year's awards program features 2 new opportunities: outstanding physical therapist fellow and outstanding physical therapist resident.

    The program also includes the Catherine Worthingham Fellows of APTA, the Mary McMillan Lecture Award, and the John H.P. Maley Lecture Award.

    Detailed award descriptions, eligibility information, and nomination instructions for these and the many other awards and honors in the program are available on the APTA Honors & Awards webpage. Deadline for nominations is December 1.

    Award winners will be recognized at the 2020 NEXT Conference and Exhibition, set for June 3-6 in Phoenix. For more information, email Alissa Patanarut.

    Leaders from Wyoming, Ohio, Minnesota, and Indiana Honored for State Advocacy Efforts

    Recognition of the importance of direct access to physical therapy for consumers, updating decades-old practice acts, and making it easier for patients to obtain handicapped parking plates and placards were among the accomplishments of this year's APTA State Legislative Leadership Award winners, The awardees were recognized at the association's recent State Policy and Payment Forum in Arlington, Virginia, hosted by the Virginia Chapter of APTA.

    This year, 4 members were honored for their service to the profession at the state level:

    Jamie Childs Everett, PT, DPT, was awarded an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award for her efforts to bring unrestricted direct access to Wyoming. As chapter president, Childs led the Wyoming Chapter in a legislative effort to remove the state's limitations on access, among the most restrictive in the country. The chapter's efforts were successful due in large part to her leadership around educating legislators on the need for change. The final bill, which was signed into law and took effect July 1, allows for unrestricted direct access in the state.

    Alan Howell, PT, ATC, received an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award in recognition of more than 7 years of service to the Ohio Chapter as state legislative chair. During his tenure, Howell led a 5-year effort to update the state physical therapy practice act’s definition of physical therapy to include diagnosis. To accomplish this, he led chapter efforts to improve grassroots involvement, PAC fundraising, and building stakeholder alliances, all of which significantly elevated the chapter’s profile in the legislature during that time. The expanded definition was signed into law in December 2018.

    Anne Johnson, PT, DPT, was recognized with an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award for more than a decade of outstanding efforts on behalf of the Minnesota Chapter. Johnson began her service by participating in the chapter’s Government Affairs Committee when she was still a student, and quickly expanded her involvement to include chairing various work groups and serving as committee co-chair since 2013. During that time, she grew the active membership of the committee, implemented a key contact program for state representatives and senators, and initiated the use of the Take Action App for the chapter’s lobby day. Johnson's leadership was integral in a recent chapter victory: the addition of physical therapists to the list of providers who may provide certification of disability for purposes of parking placards and plates. The new law became effective August 1, 2019.

    Emily Slaven, PT, PhD, received an APTA Legislative Leadership Award for her contributions to a multiyear effort in Indiana that resulted in a comprehensive update to the state's outdated physical therapy practice act. Slaven coordinated the chapter’s efforts to communicate with members about the chapter’s plans, led the organization of successful and well-attended lobby days in 2018 and 2019, and personally engaged in negotiations with several stakeholder groups to resolve their opposition to the chapter’s bill. The law, signed May 1, 2019, establishes an independent board of physical therapy, expands direct access from 24 to 42 days, includes a contemporary definition of the practice of physical therapy, adds new term and title protection provisions, and much more.

    ChoosePT: 5 Ways to Participate in National Physical Therapy Month in October

    National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is just around the corner. Are you ready?

    October is the profession's opportunity to amplify and promote the benefits of physical therapy, and APTA is here to help you get the message out. This year, #ChoosePT has expanded to include all the benefits of physical therapy, how it is effective for a wide range of conditions including chronic pain, and that connecting with a physical therapist (PT) can be as easy as visiting APTA's Find a PT directory.

    Getting involved in NPTM is easy. Here are 5 ways to share the ChoosePT message:

    1. Help consumers choose you.
    The best way to promote the profession is by increasing the public's engagement and positive experiences with physical therapy—in other words, by doing what you do best. But before you can make that very personal case, the public has to know you're out there and ready to help. APTA's Find a PT directory, a physical therapist member benefit accessible through our consumer website, ChoosePT.com, makes it easy for consumers and other providers to filter results by practice focus or specialization. Take the time to sign up—or if you're signed up already, make sure your information is up-to-date. You can even add a headshot to enhance your profile.

    2. Let the public know about ChoosePT.com.
    APTA's consumer website has a new name and a new look. ChoosePT.com includes the Find a PT directory, symptoms and conditions guides, health tips, podcasts, and more. Get the word out on what the site has to offer—it's easy to navigate and full of resources designed to help the nonclinician understand the value of physical therapy.

    3. Get social.
    This one's easy: use #ChoosePT in your social media posts, and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

    4. Spread the word with handouts and flyers (and look awesome doing it).
    APTA’s updated ChoosePT toolkit offers downloadable handouts and graphics that help you get the word out. And because it just wouldn't be a celebratory month without swag, we're also offering new ChoosePT t-shirts that allow you to keep the message close to your heart (scroll to the bottom of the toolkit page to order).

    5. Celebrate Global PT Day of Service on October 12 by helping out in your community.
    PTs, physical therapist assistants, and students have a strong track record for being community-minded all year long, but October 12 is a special day set aside for letting the profession's dedication to community service really shine. Visit APTA's PT Day of Service webpage to find out more, participate in challenges, and find local projects to join.

    Questions? Contact APTA's public and media relations staff.

    5 Ways to Get Ready for Falls Prevention Awareness Day

    An estimated 1 in 4 adults 65 and older experiences a fall each year, and according to a recent study, falls-related deaths among adults 75 and older are on the rise, all of which makes falls prevention more relevant than ever.

    With Falls Prevention Awareness Day coming September 23, now is a great time to check out a few falls-related resources from APTA and its components. Here are a few ways to make the next few days a little more fall-focused.

    1. Check out the tests and measures at PTNow.
    In addition to being your source for clinical summaries, clinical practice guidelines, and research, APTA's evidence-based practice resource also includes a host of tests and measures—including many related to balance. Members can download information on the 360-degree turn stand, the balance error scoring system, the elderly mobility scale, and the falls risk assessment tool, to name a few. Some of the resources even come with accompanying videos. And don't forget other falls-related resources at PTNow, such as this clinical summary on fall risk in community-dwelling elders.

    2. Learn about (and share) the research that supports physical therapy's value in reducing fall risk.
    This 2-page pdf document compiles summaries of recent studies that underscore the important role physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can play in falls prevention. It's easy to print out and share.

    3. Get involved with a SIG—or 3.
    SIG stands for an APTA "special interest group," a place where you can connect with other providers who share your passion for a particular subject. When it comes to falls, you have options: the APTA Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy's Balance and Falls Special Interest Group, the Balance and Falls SIG sponsored by the APTA Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy, and the APTA Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy's Oncologic Balance and Falls SIG. You'll need to be a member of the respective academies first, but belonging to any of them has its own merits.

    4. Stay informed.
    APTA's Learning Center makes it easy to grow your knowledge around falls prevention by way of timely (and convenient) continuing education offerings offered at a discount to APTA members. Two relevant and relatively recent examples: "Physical Therapy and the Aging Adult: Management of Falls and Falls Prevention in Older Adults," a 0.4 CEU online learning course, and "Management of Balance Impairments and Fall Risks for Adult Cancer Survivors," a 0.7-CEU online course that explores a perspective surveillance model to decrease fall risk in this population.

    5. Help your patients and clients understand the importance of falls prevention.
    The risk of falls can't be reduced if patients aren't actively engaged—and that engagement begins with education. APTA's consumer focused ChoosePT.com website is designed to do just that, making it easy for nonclinicians to learn about a wide range of conditions and what PTs and PTAs can do to help. ChoosePT.com resources include a Physical Therapist's Guide to Falls that lays out the basics, an overview of how physical therapy can aid in falls prevention, a podcast on falls and falls prevention, and a short video on how balance can be improved—and falls avoided—through physical therapy

     Want more? Check out APTA's Balance and Falls webpage. Resources include tips on developing consumer events on falls and links to other organizations.

    3D Technology: All That's Fit to Print?

    When it comes to 3D printing and physical therapy, the future is now—well, almost now.

    In the September issue of PT in Motion magazine: "A New Dimension to Physical Therapy," a feature article that explores the current use of 3D as well as its challenges and possibilities, as seen through the eyes of physical therapists (PTs), a physical therapist assistant (PTA), and a professor of visual arts who heads the University of North Georgia's 3D printing efforts.

    The APTA members interviewed for the story say that in many ways 3D printing has arrived in physical therapy—and already is allowing for the creation of customized equipment and devices, many of which can be produced relatively quickly, and some at a fraction of the cost of their non-3D printed counterparts. The possibilities for orthotics and adaptive equipment for pediatric patients are just some of the reasons the interviewees are excited about the technology's future.

    "Future," however, is the key word: While 3D technology has improved dramatically since its debut in the 1990s, refinements still are needed. And the cost of the devices—particularly those capable of manufacturing with multiple materials—must come down before they become standard equipment in a physical therapy clinic.

    The challenges aren't just technological—a clinic has legal and regulatory considerations should it decide to go all-in on 3D printing now or in the future. Patient safety is an issue, of course, but so is the line between a clinic that produces the occasional customized orthotic and an equipment manufacturer, and the attendant regulatory oversight that entails.

    Still, those challenges shouldn't overshadow 3D printing's potential in physical therapy, and they certainly shouldn't cause physical therapy education programs to shy away from incorporating 3D printing concepts into their curricula.

    Robert Latz, PT, DPT, who was interviewed for the article, says there's good reason for practicing PTs and physical therapy students to keep up with the technology and not wait until it's perfected.

    "We need to learn the technology and apply the development process to this new technology," Latz says in the article. "If we do not do this, someone else will. I guarantee that the technology of 3D printing is only going to continue to improve and that the cost to create with this technology will continue to decrease."

    "A New Dimension to Physical Therapy" is featured in the September issue of PT in Motion magazine and is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Also open to all: highlights from the 2019 APTA NEXT Conference and Exhibition.

    Physical Therapy Education Leader Rosemary Scully Dies

    Rosemary Scully

    Physical therapy thought leader Rosemary Scully, PT, EdD, FAPTA, whose tireless passion for learning left a lasting imprint on physical therapist clinical education, has died. She was 83 years old.

    Scully was born in West Virginia and earned her first degree—a baccalaureate in physical education—from West Virginia University. She later received a master's degree in physical therapy and a doctorate in education from Columbia University in New York. Along the way, Scully dedicated herself to applying what she had learned to improve the physical therapy profession, particularly related to education.

    Her work and educational efforts eventually took her to the University of Pittsburgh, where she led the university's physical therapy program until her retirement in the early 1990s. Scully's legacy lives on at Pitt through the Scully Scholar Lecture Series, an annual event that features some of the most prominent voices in the physical therapy profession.

    Scully authored several influential reports, studies, and books, including "Cooperative Planning for Clinical Experience in Clinical Therapy" and the comprehensive textbook, Physical Therapy, published in 1989. In addition, she was a coeditor of the Studies in the Health Related Professions series of publications, and within that series, a coauthor of several books focused on physical therapist and physical therapist assistant faculty characteristics.

    A member of APTA since 1958, Scully was vice speaker of the APTA House of Delegates from 1977 to 1983. In 1989, she received the association's Lucy Blair Service Award, and was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in 1992.

    Scully's love for the physical therapy profession—and particularly for the learning opportunities it presents—shone through in a recap of an oral history she provided to APTA in 1999. In that recap, published in the association's PT Magazine in 2000, Scully described what she viewed as one of the profession's greatest assets.

    "I was very fortunate to find physical therapy, a profession where I could, as an individual, do whatever it is that I wanted to do, while at the same time, other folks in the same field are doing entirely different kinds of things," Scully said. "I was always pleased with its diversity. Physical therapy is eclectic. It brings in all different kinds of people: wonderful folks who are pioneers and push the field forward."