Maher Receives Top Honors at APTA March 18, 2022
DPT Student Volunteers Attend
Ruth 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).
While 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
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About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. 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 pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
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