My written communication silence the past few months, except for AC, CSM, and several Town Halls is by no means an indication that I am not thinking about APTA Pediatrics and all of our members daily. I reflect consistently on the challenges many of our members, and the families and communities we serve, are faced with daily. Step back, REMEMBER we are all in this together. I have mentioned to all of you many times, I am thankful to be a part of this wonderful community within our Association; the Academy and all the individuals I have meet and engaged not just during the pandemic but throughout my career. The comfort I have experienced during this crisis due to the relationships formed has been remarkable. I look forward to my last 9 months of serving our members and families
I am so thankful we celebrated “10 years of MAGIC,” our 10th anniversary of the APTA Pediatrics Annual Conference in Disneyland. Our conference in November 2019 brought record attendance. At the same time, we “kicked” off “45 years of VISION,” our celebration of APTA Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy’s 45th Anniversary. Our Academy’s anniversary celebration at the Denver Center Performing Arts brought together more than 400 attendees during CSM; we celebrated APTA Pediatrics’ wonderful history of accomplishments.
Our celebration is thanks to the vision and passion of previous leaders and members. I am grateful to all that believed in this adventure from the beginning and understood that we must “keep swimming!” I believe it is more important NOW than ever to keep fond memories close to our heart and look forward to building many more.
Once leaving Denver in 2020, which we all know now as pre-pandemic, no one could ever have imagined or predicted the global and devastating consequences the next 2 years would bring. It is heart wrenching to watch the evolution of so many catastrophic events spread across our country and the globe and feel so helpless. Fortunately, our Academy was not idle. We all took a deep breath and united. United our community within APTA Pediatrics and within APTA. We forged ahead into the unknown and stayed connected with our leaders, our members, our potential members, and individuals in various practice arenas throughout our country.
Fast forward to CSM 2022, our first in-person conference in 2 years, now a pleasant memory! While there, my excitement increased each time I greeted friends and colleagues that I had not seen in 2 years. As that excitement built it was impossible not to reflect on Denver CSM 2020, and APTA Pediatrics Annual Conference 2019, where we celebrated our Academy, our Association, our profession.
The many celebrations of our Association’s first century were quite different than originally planned for 2021. A century ago, a group of women envisioned the possibilities of what “BETTER TOGETHER” would accomplish! A group of women who I can only aspire to embrace their kindred spirit. During our first century and for sure the recent unprecedented years required the grit and “bad-ass” determination our founders personified to start the journey that propelled our profession and Association forward. I have been so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve under Dr. Sharon Dunn’s leadership during my tenure as President, especially during these unprecedented times. It was a wonderful experience I will always cherish. Dr. Dunn, the “best of the best,” exemplified our founder’s spirit elegantly, with a wonderful twist of southern flair!
I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve with President Rodger Herr and Vice President Dr. Susan Appling and the first Black woman serving on the Board of Directors in 100 years, Dr. Kim Nixon-Cave, a member of APTA Pediatrics. I am confident that, along with the APTA Board (which is slowly beginning to look like the individuals we serve) and APTA staff, they will ensure the journey of our Association and profession will continue onto diverse pathways, as we move into the third year of global crisis,
Embracing our founders spirt, APTA kicked off our second century in January 2021 with the opening of our new headquarters at APTA Centennial Center! As I watched the virtual ribbon cutting of our progressive space of the future, I envisioned the direction our profession and Association will venture as it builds on connections with members, the community, and legislators – and ventures into health promotion, recognizing physical therapists as primary-care providers, addressing legislative health care reform, and increasing awareness of social determinants.
I was honored and humbled to represent APTA Pediatrics at the APTA Centennial Celebration in September 2021 in Washington, DC. Several APTA Pediatric leaders attended events at the APTA Centennial Center, the Centennial Gala at the National Cathedral, the APTA House of Delegates, the annual APTA Honors & Awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center, the Future of Physical Therapy Summit (see illustrations below), and the US Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. I was grateful to gather and celebrate with friends and colleagues.
APTA Pediatrics participated and sponsored two APTA Centennial Scholars (Josie Kautsky and Emily Quinn). “The Centennial Scholars Program was designed to nurture new generations of leaders and thinkers by establishing a network of scholars individually mentored by experienced association leaders,” including one of our members (Mary Jane Rapport).. Scholars participated in several events and activities throughout 2021: APTA Founders Day celebration, the Centennial Gala, meetings with APTA staff and BOD, meetings with APTA Pediatrics leadership, and an engaging curriculum that covered association leadership and management topics leading to the completion of a Centennial Scholar capstone project.
APTA's Future of Physical Therapy Summit offered inspiration and a challenge to take risks to help the profession achieve its potential. "Clinician," "collaborator," and "citizen" were the catchphrases for the summit, appearing frequently on the stage and embellished on t-shirts commemorating the day. The Future of Physical Therapy Summit was recorded and the full video is available for watching online, including a surprise visit from First Lady Dr Jill Biden!
Dr Sharon Dunn's closing remarks stressed the importance of acting on faith in our profession, even when there's risk involved. “We may feel unsure about how to make change happen, but that doesn't mean give up," Dr. Dunn said. "That means try. Try something. Be the change. Don't be afraid to experiment. Don't be afraid to fail.”
APTA Pediatrics has not shied away from the risks or possibility of failure. In fall of 2021, reflecting on our history and our vision for the future, we developed our new strategic plan including a new vision, mission and goals. Our plan embarked on increased pathways toward the Academy’s future, including increased commitment to DEI, advocacy, collaboration, and elevation of education and research. We arrived due to mindful, thought processes and broad vision, a lot of hard work, and for sure heart! I invite all of us to take that vision, and especially the heart, and move forward unified without boundaries as we soar to wonderful heights.
Check out our web presence, including COVID 19, telehealth, Annual Visit, ChoosePT, and Family Resources pages. We now have10 Special Interest Groups. All of them have increased their presence to the benefit of our members. We shifted our Annual Conference to virtual in both 2020 and 2021, as did APTA CSM in 2021. In 2022, Innovations to School-based Physical Therapy Practice course, Advanced Clinical Practice in Pediatrics course, and the APTA Pediatrics Annual Conference, will including online programming in addition to in-person meetings to increase professional development accessibility for all members. Make sure to check out our APTA Pediatrics Education Hub as well. We are excited to advance practice for both members and potential members.
As we embrace our past and look forward to the future, let’s continue the vision and passion for the families and the profession WE SERVE. Recognize we are ONE WORLD, and we must all take care of the planet and its people as we serve in our own unique capacity within the APTA Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy! APTA Pediatrics accepts the challenge to be “Agents of Change.”
I have been pleased and excited with the change in our call for volunteers over the past 5 years, including collaborating with APTA and their volunteer Engage platform. All APTA Pediatric committees call for volunteers go through the Engage platform. The goal is to include and engage all members in our wonderful Academy.
April was volunteer month. Thank you to all APTA Pediatric Leaders, the Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, Co-Chairs and ALL members for your commitment to the academy, the profession & the families we serve, for generously giving your time to address the strategic work of the Academy. NO MATTER HOW SMALL OR LARGE YOUR ROLE IN THE ACADEMY, WHAT YOU DO IS MEANINGFUL TO OUR PROFESSION AND THE FAMILIES WE SERVE. We could not accomplish all we do without you! We welcome members to share their interests and skills by volunteering their talents to APTA Pediatrics.
The last 6 months I have reached out to our leaders, our volunteers, to thank them personally, to hear their stories. Now I would love to hear YOUR volunteer story, whether it be with APTA Pediatrics, your community, your university or school, your place of worship, your workplace, etc. We recognize that our members embody the heart & grit of our founders. Please share your story, your journey with me at email@example.com. If you would like to meet me virtually or next time we are face-to-face to discuss your story or any topics of interest to you, please contact me.
IN HONOR OF ALL APTA Pediatric Volunteers we are Launching Volunteer Corner. Our Volunteer Corner will feature our members’ volunteer stories. We will initially launch on our web site, in Milestones, and on social media platforms. Contact me and share your STORY, your JOURNEY!
THANK YOU ALL for your support, encouragement, and especially for believing in me throughout my service to the Academy.
What a privilege to be part of this adventure,
Cindy Miles, PT, PhD
Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy
President Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy
Pronouns: she, her, hers