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The award honors individuals who exemplify the compassionate nature of the physical therapy profession by actively expressing a commitment to humanity and exhibiting admirable degrees of selflessness in addressing key health concerns. The inspirational endeavors completed by this award’s recipients will establish a sustainable foundation to provide ongoing value and benefit to their patients and clients, the physical therapy profession, and the public at large.

Established in 2017, the APTA Humanitarian Award contributes to the association’s mission of advancing physical therapy by recognizing member efforts that focus on achieving a broad global impact upon humanity. This award will distinguish association members whose demonstrated leadership and outstanding humanitarian volunteerism have improved the quality of life of individuals worldwide.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered for the APTA Humanitarian Award all nominees must:

  • Be active APTA members in good standing at the time of nomination and selection.
  • Include detail and record of activity that spans a period of at least 1 year preceding the nomination submission

The APTA Humanitarian Award is open to physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, and student members. The award may be presented to either an individual or a team.

Criteria for Selection

Member efforts should be of exceptional value while meeting the following criteria:

  1. Extraordinary humanitarian services and volunteerism: These are activities initiated by physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and/or students of physical therapy, working alone or in association with others, to help improve the quality of life of individuals throughout the world, including but not limited to the following:
    • Survivors and/or victims' families after a significant event such as a natural or person-induced disaster, a national or international incident, a civil war, or a forced migration
    • A community of any size in which long-term political, economic, social, and/or other circumstances have caused movement impairments for a substantial portion of that community
  2. Advancement of physical therapy: These activities exemplify core values of physical therapy and are applied to actively address major health concerns on domestic and/or international levels.
  3. Establishment of legacy: These are sustainable activities that benefit humanity; they must demonstrate advocacy for promoting greater quality of life and expansive reach. Activities should be documented and/or implemented through at least 2 channels (eg, publications, provision of services, programs)that have influenced these respective areas in durable ways.

What Recipients Receive

An award will be presented to the selected recipient(s) by APTA's Board of Directors at an APTA national event. Selected recipients also will be recognized in an official announcement that will appear in an association publication.

Submission Requirements

The following documents are required to accompany the nomination:

  • A completed nomination form
  • A letter of nomination, not to exceed 4 pages in length, detailing how the nominee meets all 3 of the criteria listed above
  • Two letters of support, not to exceed 2 pages in length, from individuals other than the author of the nomination letter that detail how the nominee meets at least 2 of the award’s criteria as described above

Submit a Nomination

The nominations call for the 2022 Honors and Awards program are now closed. Selected recipients will be notified of receipt of the honor or award in May 2022.

Additional Resources

If you have any questions about the nomination process or the award, please contact