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From the Interim Director

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Marie Johanson

One of the most impactful quotes attributed to John F. Kennedy is one that he actually never delivered. As part of a speech that was to be given on that fateful day in Dallas in November 1963, the president's remarks were to include, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." In other words, both are intrinsically linked-- you can't have one without the other.

At the Emory Division of Physical Therapy every faculty member is committed to training not just the world’s brightest, most skilled physical therapists, but the most bold, innovative leaders in our field. In a health care system that is increasingly complex where caregivers are expected to do much more with significantly less resources, we are challenging our students to fill the leadership gap to ensure that no matter how difficult external factors become, patient care is never compromised. That means developing physical therapists who are adept in business and can help a practice respond to community need by spearheading growth and innovation. It also involves teaching our PTs to be leaders in developing and improving public health policy.

In 2010, Emory DPT became one of the first physical therapy programs in the country to adopt a dual degree program. Since then, 18 students have earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Emory along with either an MBA or MPH. In conjunction with the physical therapy degree, we also offer a PhD in Applied Physiology from the Georgia Tech School of Biosciences or a Master of Arts in Bioethics.

In this issue of Emory Physical Therapy, we are pleased to chronicle the careers of five of those dual degree graduates. While two are successful practicing physical therapists, two are making remarkable contributions to our health care delivery system outside of physical therapy while the other is in a teaching role geared to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities internationally.

As educators, we couldn’t be prouder of these individuals who are making their mark as leaders. They are shining examples of why the dual degree program was created in the first place. If you are a current or future Emory DPT student who is considering joining one of our dual degree programs, I encourage you to read our feature story on this. You’ll be glad you did.

Also, in this issue is an in-depth look at the collaborative efforts of faculty and students to bring the fun to graduate school.

As educators at one of the most esteemed physical therapy programs in the country, we design the Emory DPT curriculum to be challenging and rigorous. But we also want to create a culture where students have the freedom to press pause on their studies and join our faculty for events that strengthen relationships and enhance wellness. Please read the article, which highlights some of those fun activities such as lunch-time trivia, yoga, group walks or a night out at a professional sporting event.

And finally, please make sure to read about some individuals within the Emory DPT family who are making a major positive impact in the field of physical therapy research. We highlight the impressive research efforts of Emory DPT alumnus Michael Ellis who was recently awarded a prestigious National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant (R01) for his ground-breaking research that could improve the lives of stroke victims. We are so proud of Michael and hope you are as inspired by his remarkable career at Northwestern University as we are.

We also chronicle the collaborative projects that Emory faculty members Mark Lyle and Peter Sprague are working on that have the potential to change the standard of care in the treatment of patients who have had ACL reconstructions.

As we celebrate the many Emory DPT graduates who are enjoying success around the world, this summer, we welcomed the class of 2022, comprised of 72 students from 21 states, China and Korea and representing 52 universities and 24 undergraduate majors.

I hope you enjoy this publication and sincerely thank you for your continued support of the Emory Division of Physical Therapy.

Best wishes,

Marie Johanson, PT, PhD

Professor and Interim Director


Make a Gift to Emory DPT

Please consider making a gift to the Division of Physical Therapy. Your unrestricted support will help sustain our ground-breaking research, allow for the recruitment of the top researchers in the field, and help us maintain state-of-the-art facilities. For more information, please visit https://www.emorydpt.org/alumni/give-now/

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