RC-8: What does it mean to Transform?

Idea to transform

As we continue to explore the motions at the 2017 American Physical Therapy Association’s House of Delegates, RC-8-17 plans to stir some discussion. The motion reads and charges, “[That] the American Physical Therapy Association develop an external entity to expedite the creation and growth of effective transformational innovations that revolutionize physical therapist practice and positively impact society.”

Our vision statement, “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience,” makes it clear that we as a profession will be able to improve the human movement of enough individuals to create a societal change. As therapists across the country interact and improve the movement of the members of society the questions remains, are there enough of those interactions taking place that cross the threshold necessary to transform society? Will a bottom-up approach alone create that societal change, or do we also need a top-down approach and guidance for the association to ensure that the bottom-up approach is united and effective in its effort?

The makers of this motion believe that “physical therapists do not appear to have the tools and/or models to transform society given the numbers of individuals required to actually have a transformative effect.” As a result, this motion calls for the creation of a separate external entity much like The Foundation For Physical Therapy. This entity would be modelled similarly after the American Medical Association’s Innovation Ecosystem, which brings diverse experts together to improve physicians’ processes and therefore patient care and outcomes. The external entity of RC 8-17 would be focused on “proving market effectiveness, thereby bringing transformative and scalable innovations, operated by practicing physical therapists, into the market at large.”

While healthcare is a rapidly changing environment, turning to our colleagues from other professions may serve as inspiration to help the profession of physical therapy adapt to the dynamic world of healthcare effectively. Nonetheless, last year the APTA established a council to stay up to date with the changes of healthcare called the Frontiers in Research, Science, and Technology (FiRST) Council, which looks to advance science and innovation that our profession needs to understand and incorporate into our practice, education, and research. Yet, there seems to be no mention of how this council would impact and achieve transforming society.

What seems to be the most difficult portion of this motion is the lack of detail that would describe how it would work, how it would operate, and to what extent the financial expectations of APTA would be. Please let us know your opinion on this and other motions and follow us on Facebook here.


  1. American Physical Therapy Association. Packet I: Reference Committee 8-17. Alexandria, VA. 2016:29-31.
  2. American Medical Association. Innovation to Improve Health Care. https://www.ama-assn.org/ama-innovation Accessed May 22, 2017.
  3. American Physical Therapy Association.Frontiers in Research, Science, and Technology (FiRST) Council
    https://www.apta.org/FiRST/ Updated June 2, 2017. Accessed June 3, 2017.

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