2015 NEXT and HOD in National Harbor


Rachel Livolsi                                                                      

NEXT 2015 was an excellent learning experience and I am so honored to have been able to attend this conference.  While at NEXT, I was able to be apart of multiple different events that I would not have had the chance to attend otherwise.  The first event that I attended was House of Delegates.  This provided me with the inside experience on how physical therapy laws are passed and the process involved.   House of Delegates truly inspired me to become involved in the legal aspect of physical therapy and hopefully become a Massachusetts delegate one day.  Additionally, this event was a great networking opportunity.  I was able to meet the speaker of the house, Susan Griffin, as well as the current and former APTA presidents Sharon Dunn and Paul Rockar.  Another event that was the highlight of my week was PT Day on Capitol Hill.  I cannot emphasize enough how great it was to be able to directly participate in this day.  Being able to talk to our nation’s leaders on bills directly related to physical therapy really motivated me to continue this process in the future.  Additionally, I was able to speak about the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act, which was a great way for me to be involved instead of just observing.  The members of congress who I spoke to were Congressmen Stephen Lynch, Congressmen William Keating, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.   All members of congress were really interested and receptive of what we had to say, which made me feel as if I helped make a difference in the world of physical therapy.  Throughout the week I was able to attend multiple educational seminars.  These lectures provided me with material and information that would not be covered in the classroom.  The lectures that I attended were Hot Topics at NIH on Rare Disorders and The Quality Care.  The Exhibit Hall was also a fun way to relax during the day and a chance to meet others.  During my time at the Exhibit Hall I was able to meet and connect with multiple students from across the US.  This was a great networking experience and an additional way to make contacts.  Also, I enjoyed discussing with other students how their programs are organized as well as what clinical experiences they have had.  The Exhibit Hall had multiple booths set up that ranged from a wide variety of topics.  There were multiple employments booths, which I spend a lot of time at.  One employer that particularly interested me the most wasRusk Rehabilitation because I am interested in becoming an acute care physical therapist.  Additionally I enjoyed the booths that had the newest technology and physical therapy treatment techniques.  A final area of the conference that I enjoyed was the 46thMary McMillan Lecture.  This year’s speaker was Lynn Snyder-Mackler.  I truly enjoyed her presentation due the fact that it was student centered.  She discussed how important it is for students to immerse themselves in education and spoke about how there is a lack of research among student physical therapists.  This is something that is important to me because I believe there needs to be more programs offered to students to enhance research among our profession to provide our patients with the best care possible.  Overall, NEXT 2015 was a great experience and I highly recommend it to students in the future.     


Abby Field                                                                

I had an incredible time at the APTA NEXT Conference 2015 and the House of Delegates. I arrived at the House of Delegates on Tuesday morning and I could feel the energy; I was immediately excited! Attending the House really fed my interest in advocacy for our profession. I loved seeing and hearing the passion with which the delegates spoke. Being part of this process really opened my eyes to all that the APTA does for our profession. I got to meet so many incredibly individuals, many of whom I look up to now.

The conference was another great experience. I attended many educational sessions and social events where I learned so much and had a great time! I think that one of my favorite events was the Oxford Debate. It was so fun and interactive and I loved seeing that side of physical therapists. I actually spoke during it, which was very scary! I'm happy I did it though and I am grateful for the experience.

I was able to visit many booths in the exhibit hall. All of the exhibitors were very knowledgeable and engaging. As a student, it was great to be able to talk to potential employers and exchange business cards. The free stuff was great too!!

PT Day on Capitol Hill was unforgettable. The rally was so much fun and so empowering. When I walked into my first meeting, I was very nervous. However, the two PTs that I was with (one of them being APTA of MA Chapter President, Mary Duffy Zupkus) made me feel very confident and comfortable. As soon as I started speaking, I felt more and more confident in what I was saying. I loved how passionate I became about the bill for physical therapists to be part of the Workforce. The whole experience really fed my desire to advocate for our profession and helped me feel more informed to talk to others about our profession.

I am extremely thankful to the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts for providing me with a scholarship to attend the House of Delegates and NEXT 2015. This was an unforgettable experience that I really think is going to shape my career and keep me involved with the APTA. I got the opportunity to network with some of the top professionals in our field and in the APTA. I always knew that I wanted to be a physical therapist to help our patients but attending NEXT and the House of Delegates helped me realize that I love advocacy and I want to make our career better in this way as well. This was an incredible experience and I hope that more students can get this opportunity!


Ellen Girouard

In my first year of graduate school in the Simmons College DPT program, our Professor George Coggeshall showed us pictures of his previous students rallying on Capitol Hill from the NEXT Conference. I instantly thought to myself how great of an experience it would be to have this opportunity to advocate for our profession.

Three years later on June 2, 2015, I was grateful enough to be one of the scholarship students eligible to fly down to D.C. to experience the behind the scene framework building within House of Delegates session. I never thought to wonder how Physical Therapy was regulated and pieced together and this experience has been the one to open my eyes to this aspect of our profession. At the HoD session, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the main members of the APTA, such as Paul Rockar, Susan Griffin, and Sharon Dunn. After leaving this great opportunity, I could not wipe the smile off my face – I would recommend that every Physical Therapy student have this opportunity to someday be able to contribute to making the future of our profession thrive and succeed.

The NEXT Conference also gave me and other students the opportunity to attend lectures on various topics to stay in tune with new research and practices that are taking place within our profession. As an athlete, I geared towards the Female Athlete Triad lecture which was a phenomenal presentation on a topic that I new very little about. The lectures not only promoted topics directly related to new treatment interventions and equipment, yet they broadened the scope on health policy. This was very helpful in terms of understanding the healthcare picture as a whole, which I have had little study of in school. Overall, the NEXT 2015 Conference was extremely successful at making everything I have learned in the classroom and clinics flow together.

Though this was a Physical Therapy conference, the NEXT assemblers were very crafty in their way of presentations. They engaged the audience with a musical on Alzheimer’s, interactive group discussions, and even made us get some much-needed exercise at the Oxford Debate! They also swept the field with powerful speaker, Lynn Snyder-Mackler who presented the McMillian Lecture. I felt that this speech was personal to me and motivated me as a student to engage myself in the gray area of the Physical Therapy profession that I have yet to fully and confidently submerse myself into – this being research.

Though I enjoyed every second of the Conference, I would say my most memorable moment was Capitol Hill Day. I could have not been more grateful to have the experience to meet the Massachusetts House of Representative committee members as well as my District’s Congressman. I felt that the APTA’s preparation session was the most informative session in terms of the political aspect of Physical Therapy and I am very grateful to have had experience in realm. I would not consider myself a master in politics, but after representing my District and advocating for our field I feel as though I have gained a lot of self-confidence and I have been motivated to someday be a Delegate.

If I could compare myself to the week before attending NEXT to the week when I arrived back in Boston, I would say I am a completely changed woman – in a good way! I had little experience and knowledge on the hard and tedious work that members of the APTA conduct to build the structure of Physical Therapy. However, after leaving the Conference I felt as though I had more clarity on the future and how I can someday be involved to make impactful changes within the profession. I cannot thank everyone enough at the APTA who helped to give me this life changing opportunity!

"Movement Matters" at MA State House
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