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William D. Coughlan, CAE, a former APTA executive vice president and chief executive officer who oversaw notable growth in the association's services and reach during his tenure, died on Dec. 24, 2023, at age 77. He served as APTA CEO from 1987 to 1994.

The first non-physical therapist to be named to the position, Coughlan brought more than two decades of experience in several health organizations, including the American Medical Association, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American College of Cardiology.

Coughlan's leadership helped to bring significant positive change to APTA, including the association more than doubling non-dues revenue and increasing membership by nearly 30%. Coughlan also oversaw the expansion of the range of contract services available to APTA components, established a marketing department for the association, created the APTA Office of Minority Affairs, and launched PT Magazine, now APTA Magazine. During his tenure, APTA also introduced its first specialist certifications in Orthopaedics (1989) and Geriatrics (1992).

Coughlan received a bachelor's and master's degree from DePaul University, in Chicago, and went on to earn additional master's degrees in health science administration, public affairs, and philosophy. Coughlan also wrote a book on his work philosophy, called "Legacy or Love," which was self-published in 2000. The books author biography states that Coughlan "believes life, love, and legacy are unlimited, limited only by our imagination. Is your life legacy or love?"

In lieu of flowers, family members suggest a donation to Columbia Community Care.

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