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APTA and the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research have formalized their relationship by way of an agreement that makes the foundation a related organization of APTA. The new relationship will not alter the missions of either organization, but it will allow both groups to leverage each other's strengths for the advancement of physical therapy research.

Under the new agreement, the foundation will continue to operate as an independent 501(c)3 organization led by a board of trustees with limited oversight by the APTA Board of Directors. The formal arrangement opens the possibility for APTA to provide various support services to the foundation, and creates opportunities for outreach and stewardship.

The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research will retain its name and will continue to support physical therapy research through grants, scholarships, and fellowships.

“This updated relationship is designed for shared success, ownership, and support of research to advance our profession,” said APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD. “It’s also symbolic of two organizations maturing in their operations and collaboration.” 

Since 1979, the foundation has awarded more than $19 million for physical therapy research — including  $370,000 in research grants and  $212,500 in scholarships and fellowships in 2020. Through the years, APTA has remained the nonprofit’s lead partner in research. APTA also has stepped in to support major foundation-funded research initiatives such as the Center on Health Services Training and Research.  

“APTA has been our leading donor throughout our history — sharing our vision for what research can do for the profession,” said Foundation for Physical Therapy Research President Paul Rockar Jr., PT, DPT, MS, FAPTA. “This strengthened relationship will provide the support (the foundation) needs to continue funding physical therapy research using the same independent review process that we have used for years.” 

The APTA Board of Directors will bring a motion to the 2021 APTA House of Delegates to formally define related organizations within APTA’s bylaws and to establish the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research as the primary research organization to advance the vision, mission, and goals of the association. 

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