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Ensuring that the physical therapy profession realizes 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 10th year, is all about.

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 some 165 fellows to date, and the 2022-2023 class will be the largest-ever, at 32.

This year's graduates were Eric Coley, PT, DPT, ATC, EdD; Shala Cunningham, PT, DPT, PhD; David Denton, PT, DPT, EdD; Megan Donaldson, PT, PhD; Carrie Clark Hawkins, PT, DPT, PhD; John Heick, PT, PhD, DPT; Maureen Holtz, PT, DPT; Chad Jackson, PT, DPT, EdD; Dawn James, PT, DPT, DSc; June Kume, PT PhD; Toran MacLeod, PT, MPT, PhD; Mike Masaracchio, PT, DPT, PhD; Jessica Nelson, PTA, BSPTA; T. Kirk Nelson, PT, PhD; Evan Papa, PT, DPT, PhD; Cherie Peters-Brinkerhoff, PT, MPT, MHA, EdD; Laura Plummer, PT DPT, EdD; Gary Schindler, PT, DPT, ATC, PhD;  Susan Shuster, PT, DPT;  Bhupinder Singh, PT, PhD; and Brian Young, PT, DSc.

The final gathering was held in person and included graduates from last year's cohort.

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.

Partners who help promote and support the fellowship include APTA, the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy, the APTA Academy of Physical Therapy Education, and the academy’s PTA Educators Special Interest Group.

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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