PCOM Georgia's Dr. Ruth Maher Receives Top Honors at APTA
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Maher Receives Top Honors at APTA 
DPT Student Volunteers Attend

March 18, 2022

Ruth M. Maher, PT, PHD, DPTRuth Maher, PT, PhD, DPT, chair of the Physical Therapy program at PCOM Georgia, recently received the Top Poster Award from the Academy of Pelvic Health at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting held recently in San Antonio, Texas. The poster, presented with augmented reality, was entitled “A Short Story in Stimulating Awareness of the Pelvic Floor.”

In addition to chairing the program and serving as a full professor, Dr. Maher is a board-certified clinical specialist in women’s health from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Her published research centers on assessment and validation of novel wearable neuromuscular stimulation devices in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction and the use of ultrasound imaging in physical therapy research and practice.

She said, “It was wonderful to attend and present in-person at our national physical therapy conference. However, the most fulfilling part for me was seeing how much our DPT students enjoyed everything the conference had to offer. The conference is unique in that it represents all facets of the physical therapy profession with 350+ specialty-specific sessions, 50+ pre-conference programs and more than 1,000 poster presentations. Additionally, many offerings were specifically geared towards students.”

APTA is a community of 100,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and physical therapy students, according to the association’s website, who work to pursue a “transformative vision” for the profession.

Several faculty members attended the conference as well, including Alaina Bell PT, DPT; Carol Miller PT, MS, PhD, board certified specialist in geriatric physical therapy; Robert Friberg PT, PhD; Teresa Pierce PT, DPT, board certified specialist in pediatric physical therapist, and Jeanne Welch, PT, DPT, board certified specialist in neurologic physical therapy. In addition, three Doctor of Physical Therapy students, who were selected as APTA volunteers following a national call-out for applicants, attended the conference. They included Karlee Grab (DPT ’24), Breana Fair (DPT ’24) and Danielle Kershner (DPT ’23).

Doctor of Physical Therapy students volunteer at eventWhile attending the conference, the trio of students had the opportunity to learn more about the association and the physical therapy profession, in addition to networking with more than 13,000 attendees from 30+ countries.

Kershner said that APTA “energized me and reminded me why I work so hard at school. I left the conference with a sense of rejuvenation and inspiration.”

Fair agreed, saying, “The conference made me excited about this profession and allowed me to network and connect with physical therapists from everywhere.”

All of the students noted that meeting physical therapists and recruiters was a great benefit of the conference. In addition, Grab said, “I enjoyed being submerged in the profession and having the chance to see new technology and research. I can’t wait for next year in San Diego!”

Volunteer responsibilities included assisting attendees in scanning their conference badges when entering sessions; monitoring the breakout rooms; assisting staff members with helping attendees at the conference locations; and using their technical skills to assist attendees with an app built for the conference.

In return APTA reimbursed student volunteers for a portion of their registration fee, and the students were able to attend sessions and visit the exhibition hall and poster sessions when they were not working.

Kershner said, “Volunteering at the conference is something unique and only offered to current DPT students. I would highly encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity.”

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About PCOM Georgia

Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a branch campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a private, not-for-profit, accredited institution of higher education with a storied 125-year history dedicated to the healthcare professions. Located in Suwanee (Gwinnett County), PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and physical therapy. Graduate degrees are offered in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science and physician assistant studies. The campus joins PCOM South Georgia in Moultrie in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state. Emphasizing "a whole person" approach to care, PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the community. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.

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Jamesia Harrison, MS
Assistant Director, News and Media Relations
Email: jamesiaha@pcom.edu
Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 470-572-7558

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