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Ensuring that the physical therapy profession realizes its transformative vision requires skillful, committed leaders who can help shape the future. That's what the APTA Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership, now in its 11th year, is all about.

Managed by the APTA Academy of Education, the fellowship program provides developing and aspiring program directors in physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs with the skills and resources they need to be innovative, influential, and visionary leaders. Thanks in part to the innovative learning approach it uses, the program was awarded a 2018 "Power of A" Silver Award from the American Society of Association Executives for its leadership in "advancing society and improving the economy." The program has graduated more than 165 fellows to date, and the 2022-23 class is the largest-ever at 31.

This year's graduates were Laurel Abbrussese, PT, EdD; Ayodele A. Akinremi, PT, PhD, MSc, MHS; Karl Bergmann, PT, ScD; Jennifer A. Blackwood, PT, PhD; Kerin Cook, PT, DPT; Janet Dolot, PT, DPT, DrPH; Mary Insana Fisher, PT, MSPT, PhD; Jaime Z. Gonzalez, PT, DPT, PhD; Laura Gras, PT, DPT, DSc; Alvaro N. Gurovich, PT, PhD; Kellee Harper-Hanigan, PT, DPT, PhD; Shana Harrington, PT, PhD; Tiffany Hilton, PT, PhD; Renee M. Huth, PT, DPT, PhD; Stephen D. Jernigan, PT, PhD; Chad Lairamore, PT, PhD; Daniel J. Lee, PT, DPT, PhD; Julian L. Magee, PT, DPT, ATC; Janna McGaugh, PT, ScD; Daphne Pereira, PT, MPT; Julie Peterson, PT, DPT, EdD; Melissa L. Peterson, PT, PhD; Margaret Wicinski Reynolds, PT, DPT, EdD; Jill Seale, PT, PhD; Stefany Shaibi, PT, DPT; Brian T. Swanson, PT, DSc; Tracy Thomas, PT, DPT, PhD; Ralph Utzman, PT, PhD, MPH; Tasha Womack, PT, DPT, MPA; LaDarius Woods, PT, DPT, PhD; and Feryl York, PTA, BS, MSL.

The yearlong fellowship program includes:

  • Nine online modules provided by content expert faculty.
  • Virtual mentorship sessions and ongoing mentorship provided by experienced physical therapy program directors.
  • Mentorship provided by higher education leaders.
  • Implementation of a personal leadership plan and an institution-based leadership project.

The program was first accredited in 2012 by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education, the accrediting body for post-professional residency and fellowship programs in physical therapy, and it was reaccredited in 2017 for a 10-year period.


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