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Advocacy: How you can get involved as a student

Wednesday, March 28, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Nicholas
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Advocacy: How you can get involved as a student

By: Megan Lamphere, SPT Northwestern UniversityIt was a cold, somewhat snowy Wednesday morning but that didn’t stop students and clinicians from all over Illinois drive to Springfield for a day of advocacy. There were tables set up in the lobby, plenty of #ChoosePT swag and passionate people behind every name tag. The tables were filled with information on the benefits of physical therapy and how we can help decrease the opioid crisis. There was also a newly released bill in The House, HB 4643, that would grant direct access to patients in Illinois. PT Day attendees talked with as many legislators and key decision makers as possible to get the word out. Here are two student’s perspectives on the day:

“For better or worse, healthcare is changing. An emphasis is placed on prevention and alternative treatment as we understand more about disease propagation. On February 7th, I had the opportunity to put democracy in action and advocate for physical therapy as an alternative to addictive opioids. Visions of making signs and marching around the capital filled my dreams the night before. But it was much easier than all that; it was simply conversation. We walked into the rotunda in Springfield, looked for the names of our legislators and went to their offices. It was so simple. I learned a lot from our faculty mentors that have been advocating direct access for decades. They showed us how to present information with clarity, humility, and most importantly, with our patients’ ability to choose their care at the forefront. Taking the time to speak with legislators and be one of the faces behind the Choose PT movement was a wonderful opportunity.”
Katie McLeland, SPT

“The PT Legislation Day was a unique experience where we had the opportunity to speak with state representatives about our profession and how we can help our patients move away from opioid use. It was incredible to see so many passionate physical therapists from across the state join together for one main goal, to provide better care for our patients. As a student, PT Legislation Day was a great chance to practice advocating for my profession and future patients. It encouraged me to talk to people about the value of our profession and how our schooling prepares us to accept patients through direct access. I would encourage all students to take the time to attend the next PT Legislation Day. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you are making a difference and that you can be a part of improving the care that people receive.”
Erin Smith, SPT

There are still plenty of practical ways you can be an advocate for the PT profession if you missed out on PT Day in Springfield. Find out who your legislators are and write them a letter, call their office, or visit them in person. The best way to advocate for our profession is talking about it.

Another way to get involved is to attend a National Advocacy Dinner! Learn the top legislative issues affecting your future profession and patients. The dinner offers a chance to meet and mingle with physical therapy students, faculty, and leaders from your area. National Advocacy Dinners are hosted in cities across the country March 18-April 28, 2018. There is a dinner scheduled April 25th from 5:30-8:00pm at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. All students and clinicians are welcome to attend. Be sure to RSVP! The night will be interactive so be ready to get involved and make a difference.

To find out more about National Advocacy Dinners and find other dinners across the nation, visit the APTA Student Assembly Facebook page or visit APTA’s website.
Contact: Megan Lamphere, SPT at for more information on the National Advocacy Dinner taking place at Northwestern University.


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