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Full Story

ACAPT awards faculty who are DEI advocates with innovative teaching initiatives

Sep 5, 2023

Congratulations to ACAPT's 2023 award recipients!

Learn more about ACAPT's awards.

2023 ACAPT award winners

Emerging Educator Award: Reed Handlery, PT, DPT, PhD - Arkansas Colleges of Health Education

 "It is an honor to receive this award," says Dr. Handlery.  "It motivates me to keep pushing!"

He shares his passion for the profession of physical therapy, physical activity, and supporting those with movement limitations because of neurologic conditions through educating those around him. Despite being early in his academic career, Dr. Handlery has already published ten manuscripts and presented at over 20 poster or platforms, receiving many accolades for his for work.

  • He also distinguishes himself as a subject matter expert in the areas of exercise physiology, therapeutic exercise, and health promotion and wellness through service at the local and national level by founding the Gamecock Challenge, a national competition that combines service, fundraising, and physical activity to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts within PT education, the profession, and the community.

    Each year the Challenge promotes physical activity, exercise, and wellness through a 50-kilometer team-based rowing challenge and has grown from only one participating school in 2018 to now involving 14+ PT programs across the US; the Challenge has raised more than $26,000 for charitable groups supporting DEI.

  • Dr. Handlery incorporates multiple different teaching methodologies in his classroom to keep it engaged and active, never keeping the students in their seats for over two hours at a time. One supporter describes Dr. Handlery “as an intentional, fervent, and eccentric physical therapy educator” intentionally using gamification in his teaching.

  • His unique assignments, like an interactive reflection assignment where physical therapy students lead adaptive CrossFit classes for people with spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s at a local CrossFit Gym, are how he ensures an integrated curriculum where students engage with a topic from multiple perspectives including lecture, laboratory, videos, audio clips, standardized patient experiences, community experiences, and games.

Innovation Award: Jennifer E. Tucker, PT, DPT, PCS - University of Central Florida (UCF)

Dr. Tucker initiated several unique activities to enhance student learning including:

  • Virtual, interdisciplinary assessment of stroke survivors through Zoom.
  • Virtual patient interactions where students practice collecting patient history and assess patients with various neurological conditions.
  • Online course supplementation with videos of patient examination and treatment.
  • Field trips to neonatal ICUs at area hospitals and on-campus clinics to immerse students into patient care environments & enhance student learning.

Most recently, she pioneered UCF’s new 3-D hologram technology in teaching pediatric physical therapy. She led the filming of pediatric developmental sequencing, children with atypical motor development, and children and young adults with medical complexities so students could learn developmental milestones, treatment planning, and determine medical equipment needs.

Dr. Tucker also created and implemented an assistive technology fair providing face-to-face interaction of students, clinicians, and assistive technology experts.  She uses anatomical dolls to teach students effective handling techniques.

Her interprofessional education (IPE) projects include:

  • Working with faculty from Communication Sciences and Disorders to develop course resources allowing for increased accessibility for students with learning differences.
  • Creation of new IPE coursework for PT and SLP students across four courses.
  • Interdisciplinary assessment and supervision of patients with stroke and TBIs who work in the Knights-on-the-Go Harness Cafe
  • Hosting numerous Go-Baby-Go workshops engaging students from PT, SLP, engineering, and  health science undergrads. She added a component to her Go-Baby-Go events making it Kids-Building-for-Kids by including local middle school robotic teams at the event, allowing students to learn the value of creating solutions for children with mobility impairments.

One supporter commented that Dr. Tucker “sees difficult situations as a challenge and is never afraid to try something if it benefits the collective” while another said her “tireless efforts deserve recognition at the national level.”

Friend of PT Award: Ajit M Chaudhari, PhD, FACSM - The Ohio State University

Dr. Chaudhari's unwavering commitment to increasing diversity within the physical therapy profession and his exceptional engagement in the ACAPT NEDIC Summit illustrate his contributions to this profession.  His accomplishments include:

  • Revamping the DPT program's admissions process to be more holistic and inclusive, creating a model for the entire School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
  • Strongly advocating for physical therapy students to have access to university fellowships from the graduate school, and working with graduate school leaders to ensure DPT students can compete effectively for awards with PhD students.
  • He has also championed the needs of physical therapy faculty for representation and for promotion at the university.

As one supporter wrote, “I found Dr. Chaudhari to be a person who not only contributes to the conversation, but facilitates the discussion by asking challenging questions of other leaders to deepen the conversation and drive outcomes.”

Check out the Center for Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy


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