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Physical Therapy Student Essay Contest

Dec 17, 2019

Last updated: February 2022

Each year, ACAPT's Consortium for Humanities, Ethics & Professionalism (CHEP) joins the Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation (JHR) to sponsor a judged writing competition designed to encourage deep thinking by students about the role and value of humanities, ethics and professionalism in academic training and professional life.  

The annual CHEP/JHR Physical Therapy Student Essay Contest offers a creative opportunity to ignite critical reflection in PT students across the nation.

Read more about the 2022 and 2021 recipients.

Prize description

The winner of the Physical Therapy Student Essay Contest receives $250 award from the CHEP. Additionally, the contest winner and two finalists will have their personal narratives published in a future issue of JHR.

The 2022 contest is completed, but PT students can revisit this page in the fall of 2022 to learn about the next contest.  The essay prompt for 2022 was:

The pandemic highlighted a critical need to reimagine education in physical therapy, as programs had to quickly pivot to adopt virtual learning environments. Standing on the edges of the crisis, we are emerging forever changed individually, institutionally, and professionally.

As you consider the challenges and benefits of remote learning from a student perspective, how has this unique experience impacted your image of yourself as a physical therapy professional? Using details and analysis from a specific experience, explain how your idea of physical therapy education, training and practice have changed.

This narrative essay should describe the experience and your reaction to it. It should explain what you learned from the situation and what that lesson means for you as a physical therapist, along with the field of physical therapy more broadly.

For more information on what to consider in a narrative reflection, check out the JHR Narrative Reflection Submission Guidelines.

Eligibility and required materials

All students currently enrolled in a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) or physical therapy assistant (PTA) program are eligible to apply. Submissions must include an original, unpublished personal narrative as well as a short (3-4 sentence) personal bio that includes the student’s current academic institution.


  • Fall 2022: Submissions will open
  • January 2023: Submissions close.  
  • The winner and two finalists are announced in the spring.


 Submissions are reviewed by a selection panel comprised of our guest judge(s), JHR Editorial Board and CHEP steering committee. Submissions are assessed upon their engagement with the prompt, narrative structure, and attention to language.

How to submit

  • Only electronic submissions will be accepted.
  • Submissions should follow these formatting guidelines: twelve-point font, double-spaced text. Narratives in both PDF or Word files (.doc and .docx) will be accepted.
  • 800 word limit.
  • Since the winning personal narrative, as well as two finalists, will be published in a future issue of JHR, please do not identify individual names (other than the author's) and specific locations for publication purposes.

Learn more about ACAPT's Consortium for Humanities, Ethics & Professionalism (CHEP).  Individual members of ACAPT member institutions can join CHEP for free.

CHEP advocates for the importance of the humanities, ethics, and professionalism in physical therapy education practice because excellent clinical practice requires the ability to make meaningful connections with patients and to make decisions in unclear or vulnerable circumstances.  To that aim, the consortium provides a forum for discussion of the art of physical therapy and the lived experience of patients, thereby creating a platform for sharing resources that focus on how to teach humanities, ethics, and professionalism in physical therapy education.

Check out the Center for Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy


ACAPT welcomes ideas & solutions to help meet the needs of DPT programs. Submit your suggestions for continuing education, professional development, guidelines, tools, best practices and more.

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