RC 1-17: Is It Time To Update Our Mission Statement?

As the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) 2017 House of Delegates, the legislative body for the organization, quickly approaches next month, the first motion (RC 1-17) to hit the floor this year will ask two questions:

  1. Is it time for a new organizational mission statement?
  2. Who should draft this new mission statement?

The current APTA mission statement and mission fulfillment statements were voted upon and adopted by the 1993 House of Delegates. Since then many things have changed in the world of healthcare and physical therapy including the introduction of a medicare therapy cap, the rise of electronic medical records, an attempt to create universal healthcare, and recently the release of the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases codes. As the physical therapy profession navigates through the evolving world of healthcare, is the APTA mission statement contemporary enough and compatible for healthcare in the 21st century? The current APTA mission statement reads:

“The mission of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the principal membership organization representing and promoting the profession of physical therapy, is to further the profession’s role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of movement dysfunctions and the enhancement of the physical health and functional abilities of members of the public.”

Furthermore, this motion suggests that the APTA board of directors are to be the authors of the new mission statement, though the current mission statement was created by House of Delegates. Thus causing the debate: is the creation of a mission statement the role of the House or the Board? The board of directors believes it has a fiduciary duty to create and maintain a mission statement under the Article IX section 5 of the APTA by-laws:

“The Board of Directors shall act as a planning body. It shall exercise decision-making authority over developing the Association’s strategy and establishing priorities for the utilization of its resources. In exercising this authority the Board of Directors shall take into account the directives and policies passed by the House of Delegates.”

However, the House does have precedent for adopting the current edition and may exercise it’s right to create the mission statement under the APTA bylaws Article VIII section 1 which reads:

“The House of Delegates has authority to determine directives and policies of the Association… to adopt ethical principles and standards to govern the conduct of members of the Association in their roles as physical therapists or physical therapist assistants”

This is a motion that will surely attract some discussion when the House meets in June. How do you feel about updating the mission statement and which body of the association should be creating this document? Be sure to weigh in: follow us on Facebook here


  1. American Physical Therapy Association. Packet I: Reference Committee 1-17. Alexandria, VA. 2016:14-15.
  2. Mission Statement. American Physical Therapy Association Web site. http://www.apta.org/uploadedFiles/APTAorg/About_Us/Policies/Goals_Missions/MissionStatementAPTA.pdf Updated July 27, 2012. Accessed May 5, 2017
  3. American Physical Therapy Association. Bylaws:Article IX Section 5. Alexandria, VA. 2016:11-13
  4. American Physical Therapy Association. Bylaws: Article VIII Section 1. Alexandria, VA. 2016:9-11