President's Message

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My Leadership Philosophy

Monday, February 26, 2018  by paolangeli

My Leadership Philosophy

I have developed this philosophy to share my values and beliefs. I will strive to live and work according to these principles. I share it with you so you will the know core of my actions, and so you can let me know when I am falling short of these goals.

My goal is to have an engaged APTAMA membership.  Having an engaged membership will happen through continued growth of the leadership team to create more opportunities for engaging people in areas related to their passions and interests; to build structure where the work of many propels the association forward in quantum leaps; to inspire PTs, PTAs and students to transform society through optimizing movement and as such to see themselves as key influencers of health and wellness in the community.

Included here are a few more general thoughts about my approach to leadership:

  • I am genuinely invested in seeing you grow & succeed.  
  • I am driven by building relationships.  The people around me fuel my energy. I will share that energy back to you.
  • I will contribute value to the team’s goals.  I will operate under the guide that we are working towards the same mission and vision.  I will uphold my role in executing the work associated with it, and expect that you will do the same.
  • I will ask for input from others and maintain and open mind to seeing all sides of the situation.  If I forget to ask, I am still open to you giving input anyways.
  • I will always seek to grow my knowledge and skills.  I will also be available to support your learning and growth.
  • I will communicate clearly in the way that meets your needs.  I will speak honestly and openly.  Do the same with me. We can only move forward if we understand each other fully.

My hot buttons that tend to cause conflict in a relationship with me are the following:

  • Only doing the right thing when someone is watching.  Your team is always counting on you. Be accountable to yourself and others will value you highly.
  • Saying you will do something and then not following through.  If you are struggling with the skills or timeline necessary, ask for help without delay.
  • Being disrespectful of other’s time.  Every person’s time is valuable, be it for time with family, work, hobbies or alone.   

-Heather Jennings PT, DPT, APTA MA President top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

New Year! New Leaders! New Goals!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017  by paolangeli

Hard to believe that it has been a year since stepping into this role.

Here are just a few highlights from 2017:

  • Welcomed 50% new leaders to our 2017 Leadership Retreat
  • Refreshed the APTAMA mission to better align with Chapter goals.
  • Spring Assembly unanimously passed a motion to adopt support of APTA Vision
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan with Membership and Advocacy goals.
  • Over 200 PTs, PTAs and students converged on Beacon Hill for #PTDayontheHill
  • Hosted #MovementMatters Scope of PT practice fair at the MA state house to highlight the wide breadth of the value of PT
  • MA Delegation submitted and passed two motions at the APTA House of Delegates related to the PT role in setting disability status and ameliorating the administrative burden
  • National Recognition for consumer portal which allowed the launch of the #ChoosePT campaign, and idea born out of MA.
  • #Bold in collaborations with local states and national to advance our mission.
  • Connecting over 300 PTs, PTAs and students at APTAMA Annual Conference
  • Building relationships with Massachusetts Governors Office

Last week the APTAMA Board held it’s final board meeting of 2017. We welcomed new Board members: Maegan Brady Secretary, Maureen Bass Southern Metro District Chief Assembly Representative, Aimee Perron Southeastern District Chief Assembly Representative,  and Matt Penney  Private Practice Special interest group Chair.

We hit on a few big topics.

 Better payment for physical therapy services in Massachusetts.

APTAMA is actively interviewing firms to represent us and support our agenda to improve direct access and payment for physical therapy services in Massachusetts. The great news here is the time is right!  We have two passionate leaders taking on the role of Co-Chair of the Public Policy Committee, Kevin Flaherty and James Casady.  With a group of about 20 they are breaking out into targeted work groups to address issues in care of the pediatric population, protection of dry needling, scope of practice protection, private and public insurance issues, direct access and more.  Most exciting is that government is primed for us to provide solutions. The legislature seeking strategies for health care cost containment we have a huge opportunity to show value in quality at low cost.

Standardized Practice is a growing hot topic nationally.  How do we push for PT as solution to national health crisis like pain management when wide practice variability still exists? How to we create a PT experience where consumers get the same high value care at every clinic and with every provider?

APTA is taking positive steps to support this through resources such as PTNow, Clinical Practice Guidelines and more.  APTAMA districts and committed leaders will be exploring opportunities on the state level to spread best practice.  Have an idea? Contact us to get involved? Save the date and join us at APTAMA Assembly of Representatives to take action! Wednesday, May 23rd Brandeis University, Gossman Athletic Center 415 South St, Waltham, MA

Want to join this team? Join us Saturday February 3rd for our Annual Leadership Retreat, MCPHS Worcester MA. top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

Be Your Best Self

Tuesday, September 26, 2017  by paolangeli

This past month has been quite busy including a meeting with Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, APTA’s State Payment and Policy Forum, a legislative hearing on consumer choice and gearing up for our APTAMA Annual Conference but I’m going to take a moment to talk about a bigger issue…..

In college I worked as a server at a prominent Boston restaurant.  There was an intensive hiring process complete with multiple interview days, a personality test and days of training complete with written and performance exams.  The goal of this process was to ensure employees had the professionalism, knowledge and teamwork commitment to make the operation flow seamlessly.  Seems intense for what was a college waitressing gig right?

BUT the culture that the employer created was remarkable.  The staff seamlessly provided service for the full restaurant. In the model they created, every server and staff was responsible for every guest.  If you passed a newly sat table it was your responsibility to greet them and initiate drink orders within 30 seconds, or as you walked through the dinning room, you were responsible for clearing any table you passed that had finished dishes.  Everyone helped everyone.  The system, if well executed, is flawless and service delivery impeccable.  BUT if one server became selfish-minded, tunnel-focused, it could fall apart quickly.  Guests could be left waiting, requests missed, and customer-service suffered.

I share this because shortly after leaving a meeting with Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA to improve collaborative relationships and gain clarity on their updated time-based payment policy, I learned that a private PT network had participated in a similar meeting just the week before.  I thought of how disjointed this makes our profession appear and how much stronger our voice would have been to attend the meeting together as a collective voice.

This got me thinking about all the other ways that we fail to work as a team in our profession.  Mary Zupkus, past president, emphasized our identity as PTs first and by our setting second.  We are all PTs and PTAs.  For that restaurant guest who happened to come during a time when our system fell apart, their experience suffered.  They probably left with a negative view of our restaurant and decided never to come again. They also probably shared that negative experience and view with their friends and family who will also now never experience what could have been an impeccable customer service experience.

This is the same challenge we face with variance in practice, failure to standardize care, lack of adherence to clinical practice guidelines….

 When a patient in one clinic is receiving a completely different intervention than a patient in the next clinic over for the same condition, THAT IS A PROBLEM.  When insurance companies judge us based on utilization in number of visits and their data shows that PT visits for an episode of care vary from 4 to 209 visits, THAT IS A PROBLEM.  When we cannot provide the data to show that we provide quality and outcomes, THAT IS A PROBLEM. When we have clinics that routinely improperly use aides for delivery of services, overbooking patients and eliminating personalized care and treatment, THAT IS A PROBLEM. When we do not follow evidence-based established clinical guidelines because “our experience” tells us we know better, THAT IS A PROBLEM.  When we are the first non-physicians group to establish recommendations for the Choose Wisely campaign, and then don’t follow the recommendations in practice, THAT IS A PROBLEM.

We HAVE to stop bad practice now! The storm is already here folks. 

To establish ourselves as respected professionals with proven value in the health space we have to be proactive.  Start with standardizing practice in your setting.  Connect with upstream and downstream providers. Utilize evidence based outcome measures to capture change, not just for the single patient but also for the population. Enroll in data collection programs like the APTA outcomes registry.  Use this data to critically evaluate your practice and compare yourself to benchmarks. Join tasks forces, committees, and research working towards advocacy for physical therapy practice. 

APTA of MA leadership is continuously striving to work better.  To harshly criticize areas were we could have acted in a more powerful way, collaborated differently, advocated more effectively.  You as members are APTA of MA. You are representative of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students who are the most engaged in your profession, most committed to excellence, the most committed to the TEAM of physical therapy.   I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and walk the walk of being the best example of what physical therapy is AND impacting your employers, your peers, your patients to collaborate with you in setting the new bar.

I hope to hear your comments on how you are going to get started!


Heather Jennings PT, DPT

Board-Certified Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy

APTAMA President


Twitter: @heathjenningsPT

Instagram: hrgjennings

Facebook: Heather RG Jennings top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

#BeBold & #MovementMatters

Tuesday, August 22, 2017  by paolangeli

Dear Friends:

It has been a busy spring and summer for APTAMA!  First, nearly 200 PTs, PTAs and students visited Beacon Hill on May 22nd to show opinion leaders in Massachusetts how physical therapy can impact people’s lives. This allowed us to build relationships with many state legislators and speak with them about the bills that have an impact on the practice of physical therapy and our patients.  Really exciting was the opportunity for a small group of Chapter leaders to meet with staff from Governor Charlie Baker’s office on the role we can play in supporting state efforts to curb the opioid crisis. Discussions continue with the Governors office and we hope to welcome some staff to address attendees of the APTA MA Annual Conference this fall so stay tuned!

Coinciding with PT Day on Beacon Hill, we hosted our second #MovementMatters Scope of PT Practice fair. Areas of practice less well known to the general public were highlighted such as concussion, pelvic floor, pediatric, cardiovascular and pulmonary, vestibular and balance were highlighted through interactive exhibit tables.  Based on the success of this day, we have decided to make it an annual event! So if you missed it, you can join us next May!

We wrapped up APTA House of Delegates and NEXT Conference & Exposition! It was a blast to have these events right here in Boston, MA.  The week started with some pretty cool things.  Sunday, I welcomed the Chapter and Section presidents to component leadership meetings along side APTA President Sharon Dunn. Extra special was the opportunity to comment on how MA has had some bold moves in welcoming new leaders and being an example for other states to model.  The theme of the week was #BeBold which tied perfectly with having just attended the Boston Business Women’s Be Bold Conference the month prior.

Massachusetts had a second opportunity to shine as I moderated a panel of state Chapter presidents discussing #BetterTogether and #Bold moves.  Highlights were the strong ties to national through our re-invented Annual Conference on the Human Movement System and building stronger relationships with neighboring states through combined leadership retreats, initiatives and sharing of resources.


APTA House of Delegates came next. This was my first year as a Delegate. There are many times that I find myself in awe of the greatness of the PTs around me, but sitting in a room of 400+ thought leaders, discussing the future of our profession, pushing boundaries to improve health care and patient care was POWERFUL.  Massachusetts’s delegates always have a strong presence at HODs. MA proposed two motions and both PASSED! One related to increased access and recognition of physical therapists for disability elevation and the second charged APTA to develop a plan to ameliorate the excessive administrative burden on physical therapy practice. I’d say those are some pretty #Bold ideas.

As House of Delegates wound down, NEXT conference ramped up. A shift most notable at the Opening Ceremony where a Cheers themed staged of past McMillian Lectures were good sports to puns and jokes before welcoming Adrianne Haslet to address the crowd and share her experience surviving the Boston Marathon Bombing.  Conference rolled on with outstanding lectures and programming as well as of course the not-to-miss Oxford Debate. There was singing and dancing, taunting and running, clappers and noisemakers in full swing to debate the idea of producing Specialists vs Generalists for graduating DPTs.

Towards the end of the week, I got one more chance to shout out to the amazing leaders of MA APTA in an interview with Jason Bellamy, APTA’s director of web and new media.  I am excited to spread the word on how awesome you all are at inspiring younger leaders and excited to watch as the Chapter continues to grow. It was a pleasure to interact with so many of you either at our Chapter exhibit hall booth or the MA social event.  I am really excited to get you all involved in the many ways you are interested so that we can continue to make MA Chapter a great resource to members, improve value for membership, advocate more effectively for our profession and clients and basically continue to be rockstars that lead the nation in #Bold thoughts.  Thank you!! top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

Create a Culture of Advocacy

Monday, February 27, 2017  by paolangeli

From Heather Jennings, APTAMA President 

I can’t believe it is almost March.  2017 is off to a flying start!  We’ve already hosted a two day orientation/leadership retreat, traveled to San Antonio for Combined Sections, and started work on our 2017-18 legislative agenda.  All that and we’re in the heart of planning to HOST the APTA’s NEXT Annual Conference & Expo in Boston, June 21 – 14.  Wow!

The Chapter kicked off 2017 with two days of orientation and generative discussion among the Board and other Chapter Leaders. The outcome of these meetings was revision of our Chapter mission and establishment of a focused strategic plan for the upcoming year.  Attendees left energized with specific objectives to bring Members high quality educational programming, social events, membership value and improved communication platforms making for what will be a very busy year.  

In order to continue to promote leadership development in our Chapter, APTAMA is hosting the APTA HPA Section LAMP course in early April.  Chapter leaders from across New England will gather in Worcester for this two-day, nationally renowned session.  If you are interested in attending, there are still seats available, so contact Tamara at APTAMA HQ right away for more information. 

One of the most exciting goals that emerged from this meeting is “to create a culture of advocacy.”  This is an important path for the Chapter.  With the new Administration in Washington and many unknowns in the future of healthcare, it is vital to the future of the profession that we create strong ties with our state legislative players and health care payers.  This will require all of us to be nimble and responsive to changes but also proactive in seeking opportunities. We have to be at the table as opinion leaders work to create a better system of health delivery.  Just last week APTA launched the PT Outcomes Registry which will be a great resource to demonstrate the benefit of care by a Physical Therapist with true data in a way we have never been able to before. 

The gang on Beacon Hill is back at it and we’re right there with them.  While the Chapter only submitted one bill this cycle, we are in the mix on a number of legislative initiatives regarding scope of practice, payment policy and numerous other initiatives.  Our bill is related to the Pediatric Plan of Care.   Our Pediatric Special Interest Group has initiated conversations related to the bill with the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans to work towards achieving better care of children with disabilities in the Commonwealth.  

Mark Your Calendar Now!  We are excited to welcome PTs, PTAs and students to Beacon Hill on May 22nd for our PT Day on the Hill and Scope of Practice Fair.   While the Chapter has hosted numerous “Lobby Days” on Beacon Hill, this will be our second Scope of Practice Fair at the State House. This is a great opportunity to combine advocacy with education.  Our goal is to demonstrate the wide scope of physical therapy practice from sports to pediatrics, cardiopulmonary, pelvic health and more to those opinion leaders who routinely make decisions on healthcare.  Throughout the day, we will facilitate opportunities for you to meet with your legislators, get to know them, share what Physical Therapists do and support our legislative initiatives.     

That’s it for now.  If you haven’t already, please follow us on Twitter, @aptaofma.  It’s a great way to get up to the minute highlights on the Chapter, SIGS, Districts advocacy efforts and more.


Upcoming Event Highlights:

  • Membership Committee Meeting, March 22nd 7pm Boston, MA- Open to All Members
  • LAMP Leadership Certification April 8th-9th MCPHS Worcester- Registration Link
  • Visit Chapter Events on the website for several upcoming SIG events 
  • Spring Assembly of Representatives May 10th –Open to All Members
  • PT Day on Beacon Hill and Scope of Practice Fair May 22nd Boston, MA top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

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