Committee Chair Letter

Kelly McFarland, PT, DPT
By Kelly McFarland, PT, DPT

It is a pleasure and privilege for us to be in such a great profession as physical therapists but an even higher privilege for us to see the magnificent impact so many individuals are making on behalf of our profession.

Each year the APTA Private Practice acknowledges members who have made valuable contributions to physical therapist-owned businesses, their community, and to the Section. The APTA Private Practice Awards Committee works throughout the year to recognize and award those who are paving the way as amazing positive leaders to our colleagues, communities, and physical therapy teams. Throughout the year we ask for nominations from our members for these three major awards. The winners receive their award at the APTA Private Practice Annual Conference at the Opening Awards Presentation and President’s Reception.

The APTA Private Practice Awards Committee is responsible for the following three awards:

The Friend of Private Practice Award: Awarded to an individual who has shown the distinguished contributions of time, energy, or expertise towards promoting the goals of the Section, as well as physical therapist owned business.

The Community Impact Award: Awarded to the APTA Private Practice member who demonstrates the core values of excellence, integrity, social responsibility, altruism, and professional duty. We look for those who have developed or created a unique sustainable program or service that positively impacts their community.

The Robert G. Dicus Award: The highest-held, most-esteemed APTA Private Practice accolade we recognize each year is awarded to a single member of the APTA Private Practice Section whose contributions to the Section and to APTA, like those of Robert G. Discus, the first chairperson of the Section, have been of exceptional value through a lifetime of service.

All of these recipients are leaders, innovators, volunteers, supporters, educators, mentors and even some entrepreneurs. As a profession and in the APTA Private Practice Section we want to recognize those who have done so much for all of us and award them with the honor of these awards. These award winners don’t do what they do to win the award, or the prize or the recognition. They do it because they love our profession, they love what we stand for, and spend timeless efforts showing how to be such an impact in our profession. We believe we should continue to recognize these individuals who show tireless commitments to our profession. They make an imprint on us all when we get to hear from them about their journey, their experiences, their professional path, and their dedications.

Please take a moment to read the most recent Dicus Award Winner’s Speech given by Angela Wilson Pennisi, PT, DPT, MS. Members can find it on page 15 and also at

As part of the receiving of the Dicus Award, the winner then serves one year as a member of the Awards committee. As the chair of the Awards Committee for five years, I have in fact felt the intense benefit of getting to know these previous winners on our committee to a wonderful level. It has been an ultimate privilege to see, hear, and learn so much from them all.

We ask you all to share with us, the awards committee, who you see as exceptional service leaders through our nomination process which can be found on our section website, Thank you for considering those who continue to show promise in our profession with your nomination. Ultimately it helps us all when we can share and learn from our talented colleagues and show our appreciation for their contributions. 

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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