Thoughts on the Graham Sessions


Students give their perspectives on the Graham Sessions.


I first heard about the Graham Sessions two years ago at Federal Advocacy Forum. After the concept was explained and some big ideas from the previous years were discussed, I was instantly intrigued. It seemed like a mythical, arcane place that I would never be able to experience, but somehow this year I found myself honored to be sitting in the front row surrounded by some of the most passionate luminaries our profession has to offer. The honest and insightful conversations exceeded expectations and inspired action.

I was in awe of how welcoming and encouraging all of the professionals were to the students in attendance. The thread that connected all of these progressive leaders was the desire to improve the future of our profession. These current leaders understand that they are borrowing the profession from the next generation of the physical therapy family and— with that mindset—guide and mentor students. I am fortunate to have experienced the pure “awesomeness” of the 2015 Graham Sessions and have been inspired to continue to foster candidness and engagement from the future of our profession.

—Robert Hofschulte, SPT


At the 8th Annual Graham Sessions, I sat in a room with arguably some of the most passionate people in our profession. I would be a lying if I did not admit I was a little intimidated to be conversing among names such as Dianne Jewell, Alan Jette, Tony Delitto, John Childs, Paul Rockar, and dozens of other physical therapist with countless years of professional experience. It was after reflecting on my insecurity that I knew I had to push the boundaries of comfort and take a risk. I had to step up to the microphone and let everyone there know what I had to say.

I believe that our future students need to realize that this profession does not need mediocrity. It needs leaders who are willing to lay all their cards on the table daily for the betterment of our profession and the greater good of our patients. In school we are equipped with the tools to treat safely. It is important however to realize that when it comes to taking care of business and working toward innovation, safe is an ugly word. I believe that students today should reflect, learn, and become more comfortable with smart risk taking. When it comes to change, innovation, and preparing for an ever-adapting future, those who are ok with playing it safe will be left in the dust.

—Thomas Janicky, SPT


Many great ideas seem to be followed by two words, “You’re crazy!” I hear echoes of that phrase from family and friends when they ask me about my professional goals and my vision for physical therapy. However, this weekend, I received a different response. At the Graham Sessions, I was surrounded by a population of the most passionate visionaries in our profession. They were delighted to share their wisdom, insight, and experiences. More importantly, these innovative thinkers were genuinely interested in hearing what my vision was for our profession and offered ways they could help me obtain my goals. Me. A student.

I believe that as students, our opinions have more value than we realize. It is easy to compare ourselves to others. We may not be as experienced or as accomplished as those leading the profession now, but they are interested in our vision. I believe we can offer a fresh perspective that is beyond the status quo and will entice others to think about problems and solutions differently. Similarly, leaders can offer their perspective to transform our ideas into obtainable goals. I believe this is necessary dialog that leads to innovation. And as students, we can be instruments and builders of disruPTive innovation. All we have to do is say it aloud.

—Stephanie Weyrauch, SPT


Attending the 8th Annual Graham Sessions was one of the most empowering experiences I have had as a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) student. I was surrounded by the most positively disruptive people in the profession—the ones who will not take no for an answer, who never use the words “it’s always been done this way,” and who strive for a better future for our profession. It was Mike Horsfield who said that the profession of physical therapy is like a farm—we do not own it, we are simply borrowing it from our children. The main goal of the physical therapists sitting in that room is to make our profession better for the generations of physical therapists to come.

As a soon-to-be DPT, I feel compelled to spread this message to the newest generation of physical therapists as well as to current students. With early involvement and an attitude of wanting to change the status quo, we can continue to transform the profession just as those who have come before us have done. We are the future leaders of this profession, and it is up to us to decide now just how green the pastures will be.

—Lauren Kealy, SPT

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