To fulfill the APTA mission of "building a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to improve the health of society," said APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, at her APTA House of Delegates Presidential Address, the physical therapy community "must get involved—with open arms and open minds—not only as a community, but as individuals."
For quite a few physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students, this responsibility takes the form of global service. APTA recently partnered with Move Together, a nonprofit organization founded by members Efosa Guobadia, PT, DPT, and Josh D'Angelo, PT, DPT, to establish a physical therapy clinic in San Pedro Sacatepequez, a rural town in Guatemala.
APTA staff members Amelia Sullivan and Katy Neas participated in this effort, seeing firsthand how service, in partnership with local communities, can leave a lasting, tangible impact on people's lives. "The contribution of this profession to people's health and well-being is profound, and if we can leverage the strength and capacity we have in the United States to help build the capacity and partner with other communities that don't have the same level of resources, that's an honor and an obligation," says Neas. "People have every right to live without pain."
In addition to helping with construction, Sullivan and Neas interviewed Move Together patients and team members about their experiences and observations. These are their stories.