2007 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy (ANPT). The Academy’s initial charter was approved at the House of Delegates (HOD) in June 1977 at the Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO. Since that time, our membership has grown from the 75 charter members in 1977 to over 3,700 members today.
In 1982, the Petition for the Establishment of a Specialty Area in Neurology was approved by the HOD. In 1987, 10 years after the Academy’s inception, there were 3 Neurologic Clinical Specialist which has grown to 179 in 1997 and 468 today. In the past 5 years, we have seen the development of 2 APTA credentialed Residencies in Neurologic Physical Therapy. Our hopes would be to see the growth of these types of programs as well as Fellowships in advanced Neurologic Physical Therapy practice in areas such as vestibular, stroke, spinal cord injury, or brain injury rehabilitation.
In 1992, the Academy established its first Special Interest Groups (SIG). The Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury, and Brain Injury were the first SIGs of the Section. Since then, we have added the Vestibular, Degenerative Diseases, and Balance & Falls SIGs to our fold. Current updates in practice and advocacy are provided to our members by these SIGs and the dedicated members who volunteer in the special interest areas.
The Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy was the first Section to actively support doctoral level scholarships to encourage physical therapists with an interest in neurologic disease and function to pursue careers in science. Since the inception of the first doctoral scholarship in 1993, the Academy has awarded 15 Mary Lou Barnes Adopt-a-Doc and 10 Patricia Leahy Memorial Scholarships which includes the 2007 recipient Minna Hong, PT (PODS II, Mary Lou Barnes Scholarship) and Shauna D Dudley-Javoroski, PT (PODS I, Patricia Leahy Scholarship). In February 2006, the Academy voted to make the final donation to the Foundation for Physical Therapy to fully endow both the PODS I and PODS II scholarships. Starting with the vision of Mary Lou Barnes in 1992, our Academy has raised $355,000 for the Foundation of Physical Therapy to ensure that these scholarships will go on in perpetuity.
One of the greatest changes has come in our Academy's primary publication. The Neurology Report was begun by Mary Ann Seeger the first Publication Chairperson in 1977. The Neurology Report was the major communication media for Academy business reports, updates from Annual Conference and the Combined Sections Meeting, and responses to member’s letters and phone calls. Over the years the Editors Patti Leahy, Mindy Bartscherer, Lisa Riolo and Judy Deutsch to name a few have contributed to the growth of the journal. All of them advanced the journal in different ways that included selecting a new logo (1992), becoming indexed in CINAHL (1996) creating an Editorial Board (2002) changing the name to JNPT (2003) and becoming indexed in MEDLINE (2005)
The Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy has a reputation for innovation and leadership within the American Physical Therapy Association. Currently, we are one of the fastest growing Sections. Our future direction is to continue this rich legacy and expand our mission to reach out to grassroots providers of neurologic physical therapy care as a means to improve health and quality of life in individuals with movement dysfunction due to neurologic health conditions.