Earlier this month I had the opportunity to represent the state of Washington as a first time delegate for the APTA House of Delegates (HOD). Despite preparing for the week with monthly conference calls with my fellow delegates and reading through material posted on the APTA website beforehand, I initially felt overwhelmed but was quickly swept up in the excitement of the house.
For the months prior to HOD, I listened to the voices that were my fellow Washington delegates on monthly conference calls, during which we discussed the motions and candidates that we would be voting for at the HOD. Soon after arriving in Nashville, I was in a room putting faces to voices. It was exhilarating to be in a room with so much brain power, vision and passion for the profession of physical therapy.
As we later entered the HOD, the excitement was palpable. Again, I felt energized and in awe of the amount of passion and intellectual power of the delegates from across the country. Over the course of the next four days, it was fascinating to see the visions of the APTA Board of Directors and HOD come to life. The most exciting was to see the HOD and APTA enthusiastically support a recent Center for Disease Control report on opioids, which listed physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative for pain management. Before the HOD even commenced we had seen a billboard in Nashville on the way to the hotel from the airport with the APTA campaign. With a swift unanimous vote, the #ChoosePT campaign was promoted with a press release; the action of the HOD visible the next day on Twitter feeds everywhere and even a Washington Post article.
Over the course of the week, I felt I was taking ownership for the direction of my profession, playing my small part in steering our ship to safe and secure waters. The HOD voted on motions supporting PT’s role in diagnostic imaging, to the role PTs ought to play in promoting active lifestyle options in communities, to investigating the burden that student debt places on those of us who are new in the profession. In a rapidly changing healthcare environment, this involvement in the direction the APTA is going feels like an integral and necessary part of shaping a secure and prosperous future for the PT profession.
The HOD seemed to end as quickly as it started. I left Nashville feeling more connected than ever to the profession and to the APTA. I left knowing that there are avenues for change and advocacy out there and that there are brilliant PTs working so hard to represent our profession every day. Thank you PTWA for allowing me to serve you in the HOD!
PTWA Delegate to APTA House of Delegates