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MEET A MEMBER(s): 2020 First time Illinois Delegates

Tuesday, July 7, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Nicholas
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MEET A MEMBER(s): First time Illinois Delegates

The IPTA is proud of our fascinating and influential members who are working hard towards advancing the physical therapy profession.

There is a lot that goes into being an Delegate for APTA's House of Delegates meeting. Not only must our elected delegates be attentive during the 3 days the House is in session - but, also during the months leading up to the HOD, Delegates participate in pre and post House meetings, solicit member input on proposed motions, and stay current on conversations occurring in the HOD community. This year's House of Delegates took place last month virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the Chief Delegate & President's recap.

Illinois is fortunate enough to have elected a diverse representation of Delegates from various practice settings and years of experience. Making their first appearance at the House were Delegates Elliot Cohee, PT (East Central); Jaime Fortier-Jones, PT (Southern); and Patrick Withrow, PT (At-Large). We asked them to shed some insight on their experiences.

With this being your first year attending the House of Delegate as an Illinois Delegate and the first time it was virtual, what was your main take away from the experience?

Withrow: My main take away was how much I learned about the profession from this experience. I learned about history, I learned different viewpoints of physical therapists from around the country, and I especially learned from my fellow Illinois delegates, both experienced and novice (like myself!). I learned that despite differences of opinion, each and every delegate has the profession's best interest in mind. Finally, I learned that this is definitely something I want to do again!

What was one thing that surprised you about the whole experience?

Fortier-Jones: There was nothing about this HOD that was "as per usual" so as a new delegate I was a bit nervous about the process when it was announced that the in person HOD had been cancelled. I had been informed by past delegates that at the conference there would be opportunities to better acquaint myself with the finite details of each motion to clarify what I may be unclear on. When this opportunity was canceled, I thought for sure that I would be on my own. Much to my pleasure I was surprised by the extent of discussion regarding each motion prior to the HOD, both on the HUB and within our delegation. It was comforting to know that I could attend the HOD Zoom sessions and feel completely prepared to vote on each motion brought before us. Also, although it was not surprise, I had a wonderful group of seasoned delegates who were ready and willing to help me through the process if ever needed. What could have been a daunting experience turned in to smooth sailing, in my opinion, and definitely encouraged me to return for future terms!

What advice would you give to next year’s first year attendees?

Cohee: Go into it with an open mind and be ready learn about several ideas and opportunities that will progress our profession and advocate for members, therapists, and students. 

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