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2014 IPTA Award Recipients
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The Illinois Physical Therapy Association gives several awards that recognize the efforts of clinicians, educators and leaders toward the advancement of the physical therapy profession.


Frances M. Wedge, PT, DScPT, MSc, GCS
Babette Sanders Leadership & Service Award

Frances M. Wedge, PT, DScPT, MSc, GCS is the 2014 recipient of the Babette Sanders Leadership and Service Award honors. This award recognizes a physical therapist who has demonstrated over time an exceptional level of support and dedication to physical therapy through his or her support and/or roles in the APTA, Sections and/or IPTA.

Dr. Wedge’s lifelong commitment to professional service includes service to IPTA as an Assembly Representative, Ethics Committee member, PT Priority editorial board member, item writer for the national PTA exam, Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy reviewer and many other leadership roles.

Dr. Wedge began her physical therapy care at the Royal Orthopedic Hospital School of Physiotherapy in Birmingham, England. As a lifelong learner, Dr. Wedge earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Greenwich and a Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

As a lifelong educator and mentor, Dr. Wedge presented at multiple IPTA and APTA meetings over a span of 25 years. Currently, Dr. Wedge holds the position of Program Director of the Physical Therapist Education Program at Morton College in Cicero, Illinois. In a nomination letter, one faculty members wrote, "Fran is fully committed to the physical therapy professional. She is always encouraging APTA membership and more importantly, always showing why APTA membership is important, in part my integrating membership activities with classes. I feel I have learned more about the concept of professionalism from Fran than any other person.” In another letter, a recent Morton PTA Program graduate wrote, "Dr. Wedge embodies and inspires others to embrace APTA’s core values…As I navigate the uncertain ‘new grad’ waters, I am grateful for …her willingness to continue to provide professional resources to me.”

Thank you, Dr. Fran Wedge, for service and leadership to the physical therapy profession as a whole and to the many PTs and PTAs whom you have inspired to grow in professional commitment.
Miriam Rafferty, PT, DPT, NCS
Physical Therapist of the Year

Miriam Rafferty, PT, DPT, NCS is the recipient of the 2014 IPTA Physical Therapist of the Year Award. This award honors and recognizes a physical therapist that, in the recent year, has made significant contributions and demonstrated commitment toward the betterment of the profession through the association in the areas of practice, public relations, legislation, education or membership.

Dr. Rafferty’s vision and sustained contributions to the physical therapy have truly advanced the profession. She saw a need for IPTA members to easily receive mentorship from other members. She started the iMAP project, and the program has been in continuous operation for over 5 years. As Eastern District Chair, Dr. Rafferty saw the need for events that would engage more members. She collaborated with the early career group to plan events that attracted many previously inactive professionals. In 2011, she co-chaired a District Structure Task Force. This task force thoroughly investigated mechanisms to serve the goals of the membership while using resources judiciously. Dr. Rafferty continues to serve both IPTA and the Neurology Section in numerous leadership positions.

Dr. Rafferty is advancing the practice of physical therapy though research and practice related Parkinson Disease. Her PhD research at the University of Illinois at Chicago focuses on movement disorders related to Parkinson Disease. At the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) she assisted in the development of a Parkinson clinic that delivers multidisciplinary care to patients with within visit to RIC. This reduces the number of visits for patients and enhances interprofessional communication. In addition, regularly teaches continuing education courses.

Thank you, Dr. Miriam Rafferty, for your forward thinking approach to leadership, research and practice.
Kelly Askins, SPT
Physical Therapy Student of the Year

Kelly Askins is a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a 4.0 grade point average. As an IPTA member, she demonstrates strong leadership skill. At UIC, Ms. Askins facilitates Gross Anatomy Reviews, tutors for a Systems Plasticity course, and serves as an Ambassador the UIC Prospective DPT Students. In the community, Ms. Askins joined the Sports Medicine Team Crew for the Susan G. Komen 3-day Walk. At IPTA, Ms. Askins served as the Special Events coordinator for the 2013 Student Special Interest Group. She led the planning of the first annual Illinois gala to raise fund for the Foundation for Physical Therapy. Not only was the event a huge success for the 180 attendees, the event raised $7,000. This effort was subsequently recognized by the Foundation for Physical Therapy as the "Most Creative Fundraiser.”

Joseph Hanley, SPT
Physical Therapy Student of the Year

Joseph Hanley is a student at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Mr. Hanley provides invaluable formal and informal leadership. As an informal leader, he serves as the "go-to” guy for all matters relating to IPTA and APTA. Moreover, he was instrumental in recruiting his class to participate in the IPTA Student Conclave. As a formal leader, Mr. Hanley helped to reestablish the Student Special Interest Group (SSIG), after the SSIG had been inactive for several years. For his third year practicum at Rosalind Franklin, Mr. Hanley took a position as an intern at the IPTA office. Mr. Hanley’s internship supervisor wrote, "He took his responsibilities very seriously, actively engaged in strategic discussions, contributed to staff meetings, took on additional projects, met deadlines, and was passionate about his work.”

Thank you, Kelly Askins and Joseph Hanley, for demonstrating outstanding leadership superior scholastic ability.

Illinois Senator Martin Sandoval
John Maselter "Friend of Physical Therapy" Award

Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) of the 11th Legislative District, is the 2014 recipient of the John Maselter "Friend of Physical Therapy" Award. In 2013, Senator Sandoval became our champion and agreed to help the association jump start our legislative efforts with SB 1626, our Co-Pay Equity Bill. Since then the Senator has passionately fought alongside the IPTA to improve patient access to physical therapy by removing unnecessary financial barriers.

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