Physical Therapy Program Honored at APTA Conference

News Story: January 17, 2013
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recently recognized students and professors in Sacred Heart University’s PT program for their national leadership in the field. Some 2,400 practitioners and doctoral students from across the country gathered in Baltimore for the APTA Honors & Awards program including nearly 20 students and professors from SHU.
Now in its 21st year, the APTA’s Marquette Challenge, co-sponsored for 2009 by Georgia State University, gathers funds for research and service. In its first year of participation, Sacred Heart University raised over $10,000 for the Challenge and was recognized with both an Honorable Mention Award and as the Most Successful Newcomer. Among the schools participating were prestigious independent institutions such as Boston University and the University of Pittsburgh and large public schools such as Indiana University and the University of Southern California.
Dr. Michael Emery, a professor of Physical Therapy and chairman of the Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science Department at SHU, also co-presented a three-hour educational session on “Societal Expectations of Doctoral Education.” The University’s own doctoral program in physical therapy was named the best in Connecticut and among the top 25 percent in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. Launched in 2004, the DPT curriculum was the first doctoral program for the University and a first for the state of Connecticut as well.
A further indication of Sacred Heart’s growing prominence in physical therapy was the inauguration of Dr. Pamela K. Levangie as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow, the APTA’s highest recognition. A physical therapy educator for more than 35 years, Professor Levangie joins Dr. Emery among the Worthingham Fellows: a distinction enjoyed by very few schools. Her widely used educational resource, Joint Structure and Function, will go into its fifth edition next year.
The University’s leadership contribution to the Georgia State-Marquette Challenge resulted from the hosting last fall of a special educational seminar on campus. It featured a nationally known therapist and educator, Dr. Josh Clellan, and drew participants from throughout the Northeast. Among the organizers of that forum were Sacred Heart doctoral candidates Yanira Figueroa, who was also named the Minority Scholar of the Year by the APTA; Ruth Crossley, and Jennifer Colonna.
Thirty-six students graduated from the DPT Program at Sacred Heart this year, and the program continues to grow in academic quality and reputation, according to Dr. Emery, with an entering class that exceeded 60 this fall.