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Toni Talks about PT Today

How to Get Elected to the APTA

Published October 28, 2015 4:25 PM by Toni Patt

Last weekend was the Texas Physical Therapy Association annual conference. Before the conference began, I attended a board meeting. Among the items on the agenda was a nomination to the APTA. Being curious, I asked what the process was to be nominated to run for a national office.

The process is long. In order to run for a national office, a candidate must be nominated by either the chief delegate of the state or by the PT Board of the state. Either of these entities can nominate more than one person, but only one person per office. They do not have to nominate someone from their state but the nomination is considered endorsement of that candidate by the state.

To be considered for such a nomination, the person must be known to the board and have served previously in other offices, particularly the House of Delegates. It helps to have been a previous chapter president or vice president. District presidency is the usual stepping stone to a chapter presidency.

Realistically it will take at least 10 years to establish the name recognition in the state to even be considered to be nominated. Winning on the national level requires name recognition outside of the state, which is generally obtained by serving three or four terms in the state's House of Delegates, although there are other options.

Getting elected at the state level is difficult but possible. It just might require running in election after election. From what I've seen, it takes two or three tries to get elected to the state House of Delegates for the first time. Only the chapter president and chief delegate go to the national House of Delegates.

Those of us who want to see changes have a long road ahead of us before we can get into a position with the power to influence what decisions are made. The House of Delegates has some ability to make decisions but can only vote on what is presented to them. Policy comes from above.

Even if a nomination is secured, there is one last problem. Most of the people in the higher positions have been there for years and have become entrenched. Unseating them is not easy.

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