A Record Setting Conference! Here's what happened at APTA Massachusetts' 2019 Annual Conference


Just over a week ago, APTA Massachusetts hosted our Annual Conference at the Sheraton Four Points in Norwood, MA. With over 350 attendees, it was our highest attended conference to date and was a day packed with innovative topics, big reveals, and a ton of networking and fun.

The day started with APTA Massachusetts’ President Eric Folmar, PT, DPT revealing the new APTA Massachusetts Logo, a part of APTA’s Strategic Plan for a more unified look. “By creating a more unified brand, we strengthen our voice and our ability to represent and advocate for our members, the physical therapy profession, and the people we serve.“




Our Keynote Speaker, Mike Eisenhart, PT, inspired the room with his beliefs on where the physical therapy profession should move, and how we can position ourselves to be the movement experts by shifting our abilities towards health-promotion and upstream prevention of the issues that we treat now. “Movement is a window to future health,” Eisenhart stated.




Eisenhart continued to inspire, as part of a salon of innovative thinkers in physical therapy. The salon was a strong panel, including Gretchen Hawley, PT, DPT, who has launched a virtual business to serve patients with Multiple Sclerosis; Kate Hamilton, PT, DPT, owner of Girl Fit Physical Therapy in Newton, MA; and Kip Schick, PT, DPT, MBA, APTA Massachusetts liaison to the National APTA Board of Directors.




Even lunch was a busy time for our attendees! First, Kip Schick gave an overview of what APTA National is working on, including a new headquarters in Alexandria, VA and the build up to APTA’s Centennial Celebration in 2021.




APTA Massachusetts was able to honor our 2019 Award Recipients as follows:

Ruth P. Hall Fellowship Award Winners

Michael Lopez, SPT


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Rachel Midwood, PTA, BS


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Mary MacDonald Distinguished Service Award

Debra Bangs, PT, DPT


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Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Practice

Susan DiRocco, PT, MS


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Also honored was outgoing APTA Massachusetts President Heather Jennings, PT, DPT for her leadership, service, and dedication to the APTA Massachusetts Chapter. Heather’s commitment to APTA Massachusetts has left a lasting impression on the Chapter, and without her guidance and mentorship, APTA Massachusetts would not be where it is today.


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And how could we recap the day without talking about the programming!? The educational programming throughout the day was full of variety and innovation. Six tracks, including a student-specific track, spanned a variety of areas of physical therapy practice. The Poster Presentations were full of interesting research being done across the state. Congratulations to this year’s winners:

Special Recognition for Excellence in Research in the Case Report Category

Naseem Chatiwala, PT, DPT, MS, NCS; Heather Mistry, PT, DPT, NCS; Melissa Armstrong, PT, DPT: Pisa Syndrome and Parkinson's Disease: To correct or not correct the lean

Special Recognition for Excellence in Research

Marie B. Corkery, PT, DPT; Alexandra Avilov, SPT; Blake Asis, SPT; Ryan Kim, SPT; Matthew O'Brien, SPT; Alex Pinto, SPT; Emily Stearns, SPT; Jason Parente, MPAS, PA-C; Sheng-Che Yen, PT, PhD: A comparison of the effects of diaphragmatic breathing instruction on diaphragm muscle contractility in different exercise positions using ultrasound.

APTA Massachusetts would like to thank our Education Committee, co-chaired by Debbie Bangs, PT, DPT and Pam Donlan, PT, DPT, EdD. This volunteer-led Committee consistently ensures there is top notch programming in Massachusetts and makes the Annual Conference possible.

APTA Massachusetts would also like to thank your sponsors of this event, and we look forward to working with them in the future.

Thank you to our sponsors(1)

Are you feeling inspired by Annual Conference? Did you miss out and want to join the fun? We are always looking for individuals to volunteer and help move the profession forward in Massachusetts. Whether you are looking to give a few hours or are interested in a longer standing position, browse our new volunteer portal, APTA Engage, for more information on volunteering opportunities.

Not sure where you fit? Email membership@aptaofma.org to touch base with our leadership and learn more about available volunteer roles and positions.