Who We Are

The Foundation for Physical Therapy is the leading organization in the United States in physical therapy research.

We aim to overcome physical limitations by promoting mobility, function, and quality of life through the funding of top emerging investigators in the field. We aim to revolutionize how physical therapy is administered through the development of the next generation of physical therapy researchers. The emerging talent we fund go on to develop new and innovative treatments and approaches in various medical disciplines, including: orthopedics, geriatrics, pediatrics, neurology, chronic conditions, and cardiology.

Since our establishment in 1979, the Foundation has awarded more than $17 million to launch and fund the research careers of more than 600 physical therapists around the country in scientific, clinical, and health services research. Our Foundation alumni have gone on to leverage their grants to secure an estimated $804 million from other funding sources in order to produce groundbreaking evidence of physical therapy’s crucial role in such areas as:

  • Recovering from stroke, injury, and accidents;
  • Improving mobility for children with cerebral palsy; and
  • Offering pain-free movement in patients with low-back pain.

The Foundation is an independent 501(c) (3) charitable organization governed by a Board of Trustees and dedicated to funding physical therapist researchers through grants, scholarships and fellowships.  The Foundation does not have members but rather relies on the donations of individuals, corporations and organizations to advance its mission.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a 501(c) (6) organization whose purpose is to represent and promote the profession of physical therapy and to meet the needs of its members, is a benefactor of the Foundation.  As with all major donors, the Foundation keeps APTA up to date on how funds they have invested are used to impact the profession.

Why Is this Needed?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1 in 5 Americans lives with a disability. This totals to about 53 million people!

Physical and developmental disabilities have made it difficult for many people (young and old) to carry out regular daily activities, let alone strenuous physical tasks, thus requiring rehabilitative medicine to improve their quality of life. The need for new evidence-based research is drastically growing however, early-career researchers continue to struggle to acquire federal funding. The Foundation prides itself on creating a level playing field for our researchers to go on to compete with established investigators and obtain highly coveted federal grants and contracts.

View our Timeline and see why our strategy works!
Learn more by checking out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)