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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

A Pauline Cerasoli Lecture to Remember

Published March 8, 2011 5:33 PM by Brian Ferrie

At the 2011 APTA Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in New Orleans last month, one of the highlights was the Pauline Cerasoli Lecture, a fixture of CSM for more than a decade. This 14th lecture was also the first to take place since Ms. Cerasoli passed away in September at age 71 from injuries originally suffered in a 1996 beating.

Presented by James Gordon, PT, EdD, FAPTA, associate dean and chair of the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the lecture was titled, "Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy: What Is It and How Do We Get There?" He opened by stating the best way to honor Ms. Cerasoli and other leaders from the history of physical therapy is to accept their challenge to pursue excellence.

Excellence is not really a state but a process of striving to be better, related Dr. Gordon. "If academic physical therapy is a train, then excellence is the engine."

The ascendancy of academic physical therapy is based on three pillars, he added. "Teaching, research and practice. We need to highlight the interrelationships between these three components. Their synergy gives the profession its strength."

Practice is based on science, research should not be self-serving and education should prepare critical and reflective practitioners, noted Dr. Gordon. The ideal curricular objective of academic physical therapy is a PT capable of practicing in true direct-access settings. Further, academic programs should demonstrate that high-quality care can be delivered without losing money.

"Academic physical therapy is the essential foundation for achieving APTA's Vision 2020," he concluded.

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