ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 13, 2013) – The Foundation for Physical Therapy announced today that it will launch the public phase of a campaign to establish the nation’s first center dedicated to expanding the number of physical therapy scientists in the field of health services and health policy. The announcement will take place at the Foundation’s annual gala at this year’s APTA Conference and Exposition on June 27-29.

The mission of the Center of Excellence (COE) is to train the next generation of physical therapist investigators who will gain skills necessary to examine effective delivery, organization, financing, and analysis of outcomes.

The campaign for this 5-year initiative has surpassed the half-way mark, with $1.7 million raised toward the goal of $3 million. Its progress so far is due in large part to a generous leadership pledge of $1 million from APTA and through 100% participation in the campaign from the Foundation’s board members.

Other significant contributors include the Magistro Family Foundation, APTA’s Tennessee Chapter, Wisconsin Chapter, Section on Geriatrics, Home Health Section, Neurology Section, Orthopedic Section, Private Practice Section, Section on Research and the Sports Physical Therapy Section.

“This fundraising campaign will support the largest grant in the Foundation’s history,” said Foundation President William G. Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAPTA, FAAOMPT. “We are extremely pleased that APTA has made this generous pledge to help the Foundation launch the COE. And we are grateful to its chapters and sections that have committed to helping us move forward with this initiative. We will soon be reaching out to additional APTA components, individual members and organizations outside the profession in order to make the center a reality.”

High-quality health services data is more essential than ever to the profession for 2 reasons: (1) to investigate evolving practice models that focus on the prediction and achievement of optimal patient outcomes, appropriate resource utilization, and cost effectiveness related to physical therapy practice, and (2) to help the profession make a strong case for the role of physical therapy in health services delivery as health care reform is implemented in legislative and regulatory settings.

“The physical therapy profession is in great need of scientific data defining and supporting physical therapists’ role related to health services delivery,” said Boissonnault. “While we have made strides in this area, there is a tremendous call for outcomes data associated with the most effective ways to deliver, organize, and finance health care delivery.”

The Foundation will award a $2.5 million grant to the most qualified institution or health systems network to set up and manage the training program, which will expand the number of physical therapy investigators conducting health services and health policy research. The request for applications for this opportunity is currently under development.

This new cadre of physical therapists will specialize in studies focusing on the many areas of health services and health policy research, which could include resource utilization, costs, and quality, and will work to identify the most effective ways to deliver, organize, finance, and assess outcomes. The training these scientists will receive will allow them to:

  • Answer key questions related to best physical therapy practice principles and models
  • Assess information from electronic health records and other large scale databases and registries
  •  Build capacity for creation, dissemination, and application of health policy knowledge among practitioners, policymakers, payors, and other stakeholders

“We fully expect this initiative to change the face of physical therapy and its role in health care delivery. Through the generosity of our contributors so far, we now have great momentum, and we look forward to working with more of our supporters to reach our $3 million goal,” said Boissonnault.

The Foundation for Physical Therapy was established in 1979 as a national, independent nonprofit organization to fund physical therapy research to optimize health and movement. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in research grants, fellowships and scholarships. Many of today’s leading physical therapy researchers, clinicians, and academicians began their careers with this support. Foundation-funded researchers have gone on to secure more than $824 million in follow-on funding.

To donate or learn more, visit or call 800/875-13678.




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