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Dallas student attends national forum

Doctoral Physical Therapy student receives scholarship from Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy for trip to Washington, D.C.

Nadiyah Suleiman, Page Editor

Jennifer Webb poses in front of the Washington Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Jennifer Webb poses in front of the Washington Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Second year Doctoral Physical Therapy student Jennifer Webb boldly represented students of Physical Therapy in Washington, D.C. after receiving a scholarship from the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy who awarded her with the Student Advocacy Award.

The scholarship allowed Webb to attend the American Physical Therapy Association’s Federal Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill where over a thousand physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students from 46 states collaborated.

In an email Webb stated: “Seeing hundreds of [Physical Therapy] professionals, APTA leadership, TPTA leadership and fellow students storm the offices and have important conversations about real life issues happening everyday was empowering and inspiring. It made me realize how much those have done before me to transform the PT profession into how we know it today, and how excited I am to continue this progress for all of us in the future.”

According to the American Physical Therapy Association’s website, the purpose of the Forum is to keep issues that have the potential to affect physical therapists and their patients a priority for Congress. During the Forum, issues such as repealing the Medicare Therapy Cap and adding Physical Therapy to the list of occupations that can apply for the National Health Services Corps which will increase therapy options in underserved areas.

“We also brought up the bill to prevent interruptions for PT patients by allowing our profession to enter into locum tenens arrangements in the case of emergent situations for the PT.” Webb said, “This is particularly important for patients at small, privately owned PT clinics. Not having this option has greatly impacted small clinic owners, with some even having to shut down their clinics in the midst of very unfortunate circumstances.”

According to Webb, discussions also focused on defining the role Physical Therapy plays in rehab research, brain injuries, concussion management including protection in traveling with sports teams, and Telehealth.

In a concluding statement, Webb said: “Ultimately, my involvement in federal advocacy the last two years has really shown me how valuable it is to be involved in caring for and shaping the future of a profession I so passionately care about. When I see how simple it is to be a part of a process that can make huge influential changes that impact how I will practice every day, I get a sense of having my finger on the ‘pulse’ of PT. It is exciting and so very meaningful as a student, and I know it will only become more meaningful as I continue this as a professional.”

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