Explore. Learn. Grow.

Thank you for visiting our Archive Page. Since APTA's Creation in 1921, Massachusetts has played an active role in moving our profession forward. Below you'll find a sample of our chapter history segmented by decade and insight into the milestones we have reached as a Community.

If you have something to add, please let us know!


Did You Know?

Mary McMillian, first President of the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association, was from Massachusetts

"No one was surprised but McMillan herself. In her inaugural message to the organization, McMillan promised to do everything in her power “to live up to the trust and confidence” bestowed upon her by those who elected her. That year membership stood at 274 from 32 states."

Pulled from APTA's Centennial Website. Read more about McMillian's rise to presidency here.


Physical Therapists stay prepared during World War II

In 1943, at the request of the Emergency Medical Division of the Civilian Defense of Massachusetts, 17 women from the Massachusetts Physiotherapy Association were chosen to receive further training in gas decontamination work

Polio Pandemic broadens PT Scope of Practice

Physical Therapists rise to the occasion to treat patients with post-polio syndrome

Serving where needed: October 1944: 3 physical therapists from MA left the state to go serve in areas of the country with large numbers of cases of poliomyelitis. Boston Sargent College sent 7 senior students to practice under the supervision of graduate physical therapists

President Truman declares week of June 2nd, 1945 National Rehabilitation Week declared by President Truman (Physical Therapy Volume 25 Issue 4 July 1945)

“Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby declare the week beginning June 2, 1945, as National Rehabilitation Week. I urge all churches, educational institutions, health and welfare services, civic organizations, chambers of commerce, boards of trade, industry, labor, public-spirited citizens, radio, and the press throughout the United States to observe National Rehabilitation Week, to the end that handicapped men and women throughout our Nation may be located and advised of the benefits to which they are entitled.”

Continuing Education Opportunities:

  • June 19 to 24, 1949: APTA Annual Conference Held at the Copley Plaza Hotel
    • Preliminary programming including: “The Neurological Basis for Treatment of the Hemiplegia,” “The Neurological Basis for Treatment of Poliomyelitis,” “The Neurological Basis for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis,” “Physical Therapy and Arthritis”
  • November 1949: Women’s Educational and Industrial Educational Union holds meeting in MA for optimal post-polio treatment
    • Mr. Jonathan Butler talked about his experience/thoughts/reactions as a patient who had poliomyelitis
    • Mrs. Russell T Loesch (former vice-president of Massachusetts Occupational Therapy Association) talked about problems encountered as a mother with twin sons who both suffered from poliomyelitis
    • Miss Evelyn Droeyer (Medical Social Service Department) spoke about social service aspect of some of the reactions of patients and their families to poliomyelitis

Technology brings Physical Therapists closer together

Two-Way Radio makes educational opportunities more accessible for all

1969: New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts start utilizing two-way radio conferences to provide continuing education for physical therapists in 24 counties in their three states. They provided live, two way discussions between PTs and hospitals and was broadcasted through WAMC, the radio station of Albany Medical College

James Holmblad, MD and Clair DuBois ((Chief of Scoliosis clinic and Physical Therapist at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady, NY, respectively) were the featured speakers in this revolutionary event.

October, 1986: Physical Therapy Month declared by Governor Michael S. Dukakis






June 21st to 27th, 1987: Physical Therapy Week declared by Governor Evelyn. F Murphy



APTA Massachusetts Focuses on Connections with Legislators in the 1990s


  • March 1997: "Legislative Day" Held by APTA of MA 1998
    • 21 Participants presented legislative issues to many members of the General Court, the Committee attended hearings at the State House and provided testimony, along with attending fundraisers.
  • February 1998: Governor Argeo Paul Cellucci declares February 13, 1998 Physical Therapy Day: Mentioned in the proclamation is the fact that Combined Sections Meeting is occuring in Boston from February 11th to 15th in 1998
  • March 29, 1999: Massachusetts "PT Day on the Hill: Attended by over 60 PTs, PTAs, and students

2018: President Heather Jennings leads the APTA Massachusetts Board in Strategic Planning, partners with Amy Lafko to Reframe our Chapter's "Why"

"We inspire, engage, and empower you to reach your potential"Jennings_Heather-1

Pushed to rethink APTAMA's "why" statement, the Board of Directors met for the first of what would become an Annual Meeting, designed to:

  • Create a high-functioning Board of Directors
  • Set chapter goalsgoals and outline action plans for each Committee, Special Interest Group, and District for the following year, improving engagement, accountability, and spreading the workload
  • Engage new leaders and continue to grow chapter leadership, creating a pipeline of leaders

This leadership event continues to occur every year. Keep an eye on our events page for upcoming information for our event this year!

What have we been working on recently?

Branding United: How APTA is rebranding its components, sections, and programs to reflect a common mission, vision, and purpose.logo

APTA Massachusetts was one of the first groups to jump on the opportunity to align our Chapter Branding with APTA's new logo. The logo's general shape pays tribute to multiple previous association logos—particularly in the use of a triangle shape, which can be traced back to the association's first logo from 1921. However, the mark also features contemporary design that evokes movement and hints at a more open, outward-facinShort Logo Color (light)g association.

APTA's 3-year strategic plan includes an objective to "embody the APTA mission and vision through an integrated brand strategy," in order to help deliver on the goal to "maximize stakeholder awareness of the value of physical therapy."

APTA Massachusetts unveiled their new branding at the 2019 Annual Conference.

APTA Massachusetts Responds to COVID-19Screen Shot 2021-09-14 at 6.45.44 PM

The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected all of us as individuals and as professionals. APTAMA is proud to have kept our members (and all clinicians) up to date at the changes that happened, at times hourly, that impacted different settings of care. We were proud to offer this to all, and not just our membership. Highlights include:
  • Our COVID-19 resource page, where our leadership team worked tirelessly to update all clinicians in Massachusetts with clinical resources, PPE availability, telehealth resources, mindfulness resources, and reimbursement information; along with a central place for all relevant CDC Guidelines, APTA Guidelines, and Massachusetts-specific guidelines and information. As COVID restrictions eased, this resource page evolved to include information about reopening guidelines for clinics and vaccine information.
  • An area on the APTAMA website to submit questions related to COVID-19 to APTAMA Leadership
  • Telehealth Coalition: As part of our COVID-19 response, we have partnered with several other groups to continue to improve access and reimbursement for telehealth services in Massachusetts. We continue to work as part of this group with goals of continued and improved payment and access across Massachusetts.
  • COVID-19 Perspective for School-based Physical Therapists in MA - Developed by the APTAMA Pediatric SIG in conjunction with school-based physical therapists practicing in various parts of the state. The goal of this document was to provide direction, guidance, and inspiration for school-based physical therapists during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Weekly (sometimes daily) emails with updates from APTAMA President, Eric Folmar. These communications were also posted on the APTAMA Website for reference for non-members.

We continue to support and serve you as we continue through this pandemic.

If you continue to have questions regarding COVID-19 and your practice, please reach out to our leadership.

Regional Virtual Annual Conference


  • In 2020, Massachusetts launched its first virtual conference, along with APTA New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. This conference had over 500 registered attendees and showed how the chapter can pivot, continue to provide great content, and bring our members together.
  • We look forward to hosting our 2021 Northeast Physical Therapy Conference this Fall! More details at: https://www.aptaofma.org/2021-virtual-annual-conference


APTA Massachusetts Celebrates the Centennial, focuses on DEI Initiatives

This September, APTA Massachusetts leadership attended APTA's Centennial Celebration in Washington DC. This five-day event celebrated our past, recognized our present, and looked forward towards our future. Highlights included:Centennial Center

  • An Open House at APTA's New Headquarters in Alexandria, VA where guests were invited to tour the facility, and included The John H.P. Maley Lecture, given by Tim Flynn.
  • The Annual House of Delegates: The Massachusetts Delegation brought a motion to the floor to add "Inclusion" into the list of Core Values for the Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant. The motion passed almost unanimously by a vote of 422-6.
  • ColleenThe Mary McMillan Lecture by Colleen Kigin: Titled "Innovation is integral to our profession," Massachusetts own Colleen Kigin reflected on how the profession must pivot to continue to progress and meet the need of society. The Mary McMillan lecture is the highest award the APTA can bestow on a member, and we are extremely proud of Colleen for her exceptional discussion!
  • The Future of Physical Therapy Summit: A day full of programming geared towards continuing to push our profession forward, the Summit took a hard look at where our profession must continue to progress towards to be successful. Speakers from all over the world, including First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, engaged and excited the crowd. We are exceptionally proud of Massachusetts own, Dr. Laura Gull, PT, DPT, who took part in a panel focused on "passing the torch" and continuing to engage our next generation of APTA Leadership.

APTA Massachusetts looks forward to continuing to inspire, engage, and empower you to reach your potential in our next 100 years. We thank our members for their support, leadership, and service!