It was great to be back in person for CSM 2022! The annual Awards Ceremony and Member Meeting looked and felt a little different this year due to the circumstances of the pandemic, but it was no less a celebration of the accomplishments of our members and the profession of physical therapy. While we could not all be together in person, it is still important to recognize our peers and the excellence they bring to our profession. The awards categories were consolidated to represent the key areas of APTA Geriatrics’ mission: Clinical Practice, Education, Research and Service.
Carole B. Lewis Lecture
Michelle Lusardi, PT, DPT, Ph.D., FAPTA, will present the Carole B. Lewis Lecture at the Combined Sections Meeting in 2023, in San Diego. We are looking forward to another engaging and inspiring Lewis Lecture by Michelle next year.
Clinical Impact in Geriatrics Award
The Clinical Impact in Geriatrics award seeks to recognize one APTA Geriatric Member for outstanding clinical practice in a geriatric health care setting. This year’s award was given to Edward Reyna, PT, DPT. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Reyna has been an advocate for patient care and inclusion. He achieved the title of Master Clinician within his company and then obtained the designation of Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy along with the recognition as a Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult. His letters of recommendation describe him as the perfect role model of a physical therapist that exemplifies clinical excellence. He is a highly dedicated professional who knows how to motivate his patients to achieve their goals. Both in the rehab department and in person, Dr. Reyna is a dynamic and powerful communicator who possesses the gift of being able to make complex subjects understandable. Despite these gifts, he is a humble and approachable person that loves to share his extensive knowledge with others, especially his coworkers.
Academic Impact in Geriatrics Award
The Academic Impact in Geriatrics Award seeks to recognize one APTA Geriatric Member for excellence in an academic setting. This year’s award is given to Dr. Barbara Billek-Sawhney, PT, DPT, EDD. Dr. Billek-Sawhney is a dedicated educator who continually works to improve her coursework, competencies, and examinations at Slippery Rock, where she works full time. This is coupled with an ongoing commitment to educating therapists where she practices clinically and around the globe. Barb excels in many areas as a physical therapist and a professor, but the one thing that makes her stand out is her desire to serve her students and patients well. Barb goes above and beyond to ensure her students receive the most out of their education, and in doing so, shares her passion for her profession. The university where Barb works is in a rural area without a medical center. Dr. Barb has invested an incredible amount of time in developing case studies, filming real-life patient videos, sharing her experiences, and engaging students in active learning via case scenarios and labs. Her teaching methods create an environment that allows students to gain hands-on experience and be active participants. Barb integrates service-learning into two courses she teaches. She is also mentoring physiotherapists in Ethiopia on hosting their first health fair for the entire country. Barb has assisted in grant writing, logistical organization, identification of space /equipment needs, developing educational materials, and handouts. It is evident that she makes the content relative to geriatrics engaging, and dynamic and she recognizes that the students today are her future colleagues, so she actively encourages their engagement with older adults.
Excellence in Geriatric Research Award
The Excellence in Geriatric Research Award recognizes an outstanding research contribution to science as shared in a research report published by a physical therapist member of APTA Geriatrics in a peer-reviewed journal in the field of geriatrics and gerontology. The research is recognized for the perceived impact of the published report on future research, education, clinical practice, or a combination of these areas. We give the Excellence in Geriatric Research Award to Jennifer Vincenzo, PT, MPH, Ph.D.
Jennifer and her team published “Older Adults Perceptions Regarding the Role of Physical Therapists in Fall Prevention: A Qualitative Investigation.” One key finding of the study was that older adults lack awareness about the role of pts for fall prevention, believing they should only seek treatment to address a specific problem. This work identified misconceptions that all PTs can use to improve the utilization of PT to reduce falls.
Joan M. Mills Award
The APTA Geriatrics Joan M. Mills award seeks to recognize an APTA Geriatric Member who has given outstanding service to the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy. This award was established in 1980 in honor of the APTA Geriatrics’ first President, Joan M. Mills, whose vision, determination, and dedication united physical therapists caring for geriatric patients in their commitment to excellence in the delivery of physical therapy to ageing adults.
This year the award is given to Michele Stanley, PT, DPT. Michele has been involved in the field of geriatrics for her entire career, working in skilled facilities, home health, extended care and various hospitals in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She exemplifies excellence in the integration of scholarship, service and teaching in the field of geriatric physical therapy. Michele Stanley embodies the characteristics of Joan Mills in advancing the knowledge of geriatric physical therapy practice across all populations while recognizing the unique needs of marginalized groups. Under Michele’s leadership as being editor of the GeriNotes, the focus issues for continuing education have recognized the need for physical therapy education regarding these marginalized groups. She has challenged hard topics such as Social Determinants of Health impact on Physical Therapy, Issues related to immigration and LBGTQ populations, impacts of social isolation on frailty and a recent issue dedicated to issues post-COVID. Her energy and passion to move the clinical practice for aging adults forward made her the clear selection for this prestigious award.
Bob Nithman, the Chair of the ABPTA Geriatric Specialty Council congratulated 2021 new and renewed Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialists.
A final thank you to the following outgoing volunteers for their service to the academy.
- Nominating Committee – Lucy Jones, PT, DPT, MHA
- Balance and Falls SIG Chair—Jennifer Vincenzo, PT, MPH, PhD
- Cognitive and Mental Health SIG Chair—Christine Childers, PT, MS
- Health Promotion and Wellness SIG Chair—Gina Pariser, PT, PhD
- Section Programming Chair – Tiffany Adams, PT, DPT, MBA
- Board of Directors—Susan Wenker, PT, PhD
- Board of Directors– Kate Brewer, PT, MPT, MBA
We also express our appreciation to retiring State Advocates. Our academy is grateful to have most of our states represented and working at the local level to advocate for ageing adults and the academy. Thank you for all you do to advance our profession.
President Cathy Ciolek shared an overview of all that APTA geriatrics accomplished in 2021. There were 4858 participants in APTA Geriatrics educational programming. APTA Geriatrics gave 8,660 contact hours, 40% of which were free. There were 312 new Board-Certified Clinical Geriatric Specialists and 47 recertified. JGPT grew to a 3.381 impact factor. The board voted to offer free student dues in 2022 and we have already seen our student population increase from 1% to 10%. APTA Geriatrics launched a new website that is mobile-first. We are planning a standalone conference for 2023 and looking to offer hybrid options for the CEEAA course in 2023.
We hope to be in person with you for next year’s celebration on February 22-25 in San Diego, California. The call for abstracts and session proposals is now open and will be through March 14 for sessions and July 18 for platforms and abstracts. Thank you for the incredible work you have done over the last two years since we were last together in person.