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Full Story

Introducing ACAPT board member Marie A. Johanson

Mar 1, 2021

Marie A. Johanson, PhD
Professor & Interim Director at Emory University

How did you first get involved with ACAPT and what drew you to it?

Even before I was my DPT program’s ACAPT member representative, I attended ACAPT’s business meetings because many of the issues discussed were so pertinent to future directions for our profession. 

My heightened interest in ACAPT stemmed from my cumulative experiences across the educational continuum, including the pre-professional, academic and clinical professional and post-professional levels. Within each of those educational contexts, it was often difficult to find the ideal educational models because the “big picture” was missing. 

I found myself wanting to be involved with ACAPT in order to play a role in moving our profession to a broader shared educational vision. 

What are your top priorities with ACAPT?

  1. DEI initiatives critically needed to transform the profession to better serve our patients.

  2. Continued development of ideal educational models across the continuum of PT education, including benchmarks for academic PT units encompassing best practices for education, research and service.

What are the top ways your work has been affected by the pandemic – and how are you/your program adapting?

I had to become much more intentional about meeting with faculty, staff and students to listen to news, concerns and field questions, as impromptu meetings in hallways, clinics/hospitals and classrooms disappeared. 

I also spent more time developing guidelines and advocating at the School of Medicine and University levels for PT students to:

  • Return to lab classrooms and clinics, 
  • Lift students’ restrictions from treating patients with COVID-19 and 
  • Receive priority for vaccines on par with my institution’s paid healthcare workers. 

Faculty in my program have done an impressive job of converting to online teaching, restructuring labs, pivoting to a disrupted clinical education environment and continuing scholarly productivity even when our research labs were closed. 

Among several bright lights: 

  • Faculty were able to invite internationally-renowned speakers/panelists to classes that were online.
  • We have begun recording continuing education courses, which gives our clinical partners and alumni across the country access to offerings that were previously only accessible to the local community.  

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