Meet the Candidates - AOPT 2024 Election

Meet the Candidates - AOPT 2024 Election

The AOPT Election voting period will be open from August 1 - August 31, 2024. All PT and PTA AOPT members will be alerted when the voting portal has opened. 

Running for AOPT Office:

(Scroll down to view complete candidate information)


  • Judith Hess, PT, DHS, OCS, CMPT, Cert. DN

Director (2 will be elected)

  • Annette Karim, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT
  • Paul Mintken, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
  • Derrick Sueki, PT, PhD, DPT, GCPT, OCS

Nominating Committee Member

  • Justin M. Lantz, DPT
  • Stephanie Pascoe, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT
  • Neena Sharma, PT, PhD, CMPT

Meet Our Candidates for President Below:


Judith Hess, PT, DHS, OCS, CMPT, Cert. DN
 Watch Candidate's Video!
Profile: I have been a physical therapist since 1992, when I completed an entry-level master’s degree at Duke University. Prior to that, I completed a Bachelor and Master of Science in Kinesiology, with a minor in Business at the University of Illinois. In 2015, I earned a Doctor of Health Sciences degree with an emphasis on Healthcare Education at Midwestern University. I have been a Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist since 2002. After 15 years of clinical practice and administrative roles, I transitioned to academia. I am currently an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Midwestern University, where I teach anatomy, kinesiology, and musculoskeletal evaluation and treatment. I serve as the Chair of the Education Committee and Curriculum Revision Task Force and previously chaired the Admissions Committee for 13 years. I continue to see patients clinically, working on a prn basis in the Chicagoland area. I am a member of multiple AOPT Special Interest Groups (SIGs), including Foot & Ankle, Pain, Imaging, and Residency/Fellowship. I was part of the team that developed the entry-level practice recommendations for the Foot & Ankle SIG. From 2014 to 2020, I was a member of the AOPT Finance Committee and have been the AOPT Treasurer since 2021. I also served as an Assembly Representative for the Illinois Physical Therapy Association from 2014 to 2020. Throughout my professional journey, I have developed leadership skills as a Clinic Manager, the Director of Rehabilitation Services for a multi-campus hospital system and its outpatient satellite rehabilitation clinics, and as a faculty member. In these roles, and as the AOPT Treasurer, I have participated in strategic planning, budgeting, program development, and providing high-quality, interprofessional healthcare. As a leader, I set challenging but achievable goals, establish clear behavior and performance expectations, celebrate success, and hold people accountable for their actions. I recognize individual talents and foster the development of new knowledge and skills. I empower individuals to complete projects/assignments independently, while ensuring the appropriate resources are available and accessible. I establish a safe, welcoming environment that facilitates sharing diverse opinions and experiences. I welcome feedback for myself and the organization. Most importantly, I have a passion and desire to support the mission and vision of the AOPT.

Statement: It is an honor to be nominated for the office of AOPT President. Serving as the AOPT Treasurer for the past 4+ years has been rewarding and challenging. It has been exciting to work within the Academy to empower physical therapists to excel in orthopaedic physical therapy. You, the AOPT members are the Academy. Your voices must be heard - as individual members, Special Interest Groups, Engagement Communities, or other committees and workgroups. Creativity and diversity in thinking must be fostered and celebrated. I believe I can facilitate improved communication among Board members, SIG leaders, AOPT staff, and most importantly, our members. I am committed to making our members feel empowered rather than impeded in their commitment and contributions to the AOPT, the physical therapy profession, and their communities. In addition to being a member-driven Academy, the AOPT must be financially responsible. Over the past several years, the AOPT has been working at an operational deficit. We simply cannot continue to draw from our investments to support our operations. As President, I will facilitate conversations to bring the AOPT back to a neutral budget by balancing revenues and expenses. To do so, we need to engage more of our members, expanding the diversity of the AOPT. Every orthopaedic physical therapist should feel at home within the AOPT community. Special Interest Groups have been the core of the AOPT. SIG’s and newly developed Engagement Communities are access points for our members. Given the variety of different clinical and professional interests, the number of potential engagement communities is infinite. The AOPT must be intentional in facilitating and communicating these opportunities for involvement. In doing so, we will expand our reach, identify and develop potential leaders, and facilitate our strategic drivers (excellence in practice, member and professional awareness, payment and value, and professional well-being). Thank you for your consideration.


 Watch Candidate's Video!
Profile: Dr. Bob Rowe is the Executive Director of Brooks Institute of Higher Learning (Brooks IHL) within the Brooks Health System located in Jacksonville, FL. The IHL is the academic division of Brooks Rehabilitation and is responsible for the professional development for all clinical disciplines within the Brooks Rehab System of Care. Bob received his PT degree at LSUHSC in 1985 and completed his Master of Health Science in PT in 1994 at LSUHSC. He completed an Orthopaedic Manual PT Fellowship through the Ola Grimsby Institute (OGI) in 1999 and in 2001 completed his Doctor of Manual Therapy degree through the OGI. In May 2007, Bob completed his t-DPT through MGH IHP. Bob is a nationally recognized speaker in the areas of musculoskeletal patient management, advocacy, and professional issues/leadership. Bob served as the Chair of the Orthopaedic Section’s Practice Committee from 2004-2010 as well as on the APTA ABPTRFE from 2008 to 2012. Bob has served on the APTA Manipulation Task Force from 2001 to 2015 and served on the APTA POPTS Task Force from 2004-2007. In 2009 Bob completed 5 years of service as an appointed member to the APTA Advisory Panel on Practice and served as the Chair for the final year. Bob has served on the LPTA Board as the Vice-president (2004-2006) as well as on the FPTA Board as a Regional Director (2007-2010) and the Speaker of the FPTA Assembly (2010-2014). He served as a member of the APTA Awards Sub-committee for selection of the McMillan and Maley Lecture awards from 2013 to 2015. Bob served as President of AAOMPT for 6 years (2009-2014) and served on APTA Board of Directors as a Director from 2015 to 2021. He entered the role of President of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy in 2022 and currently continues to serve in that role. Bob is a recipient of the APTA Lucy Blair Distinguished Service Award (American Physical Therapy Association award); Dave Warner Distinguished Service Award (Louisiana Physical Therapy Association); Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Award for Excellence in Research, Education, Patient Care, and Community Outreach; and the Arcadia University Charles Magistro Award. Bob was recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) in 2001; he was recognized by the APTA with the Catherine Worthingham Fellowship in 2023; and was recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice in 2024.

Statement: Having served as the AAOMPT President, on the APTA Board, on the AOPT Board as the Practice Committee Chair from 2004-2010, as well as numerous other leadership roles at the national and international level have each provided me with a unique perspective and lens regarding the physical therapist profession and our place within healthcare. Therefore, I have brought my vast experiences to this role over the past 2.5 years to develop an aggressive member driven agenda to assist the AOPT to move into a leadership role as the largest APTA Component. I would like to share several of the key/primary initiatives we (i.e. the Board and Staff during my leadership as President) have undertaken. We have begun utilization of an external consultant (i.e. McKinley Advisors) to assist the Board with governance to attain our highest level of function as well as to develop an extremely strong member centric strategic plan that includes an operational plan for staff implementation. In collaboration with APTA Private Practice and APTA we have created the Payment Consortium. This is the most important and member centric initiative taken on by the AOPT since the inception of CPG’s, which occurred in 2005. I have placed significant effort into clarifying, defining, and developing the relationship between the AOPT and JOSPT/MSM. In collaboration with the Board and Committee Chairs, I have successfully remodeled the AOPT Education, Research, and Practice committees with the creation of Work Groups under each of the committees allowing each of them to increase the quality and effectiveness for the depth and breadth of their function, which increases the outreach we can provide to our members. I have provided guidance and oversight to promote a robust modification of the AOPT bylaws to ensure they remained contemporary and in alignment with how we had to function within a dynamic and everchanging environment. The AOPT has historically been viewed as a “big rich bully” by many other APTA Components. In addition, AOPT has kept itself siloed for many years. I have made it a point to do two things – I performed a reconciliation tour to mend fences and build bridges with other AOPT Components, particularly with Components where there were toxic relationships. I also moved the AOPT into a leadership role among the APTA Components and began creating opportunities for collaboration with internal organizations (i.e. APTA Components such as APTA Private Practice as stated above) as well as external organizations (i.e. NASEM, AAPT, FSBPT, and others). Looking to the future we have many initiatives in the works including enhancement of digital learning applications and tools to enhance integration of our CPG’s. Our future is bright so I ask for your vote to continue this exciting member driven path !

Meet Our Director Candidates Below (2 will be elected):


Annette Karim, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT
 Watch Candidate's Video!
Profile: Annette Karim, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT, is an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and the Director of the PhD in Rehabilitation and Movement Science and post-professional programs at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. A Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, residency graduate, and Fellow of the Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, she serves as a Manual Therapy Institute Fellowship mentor, an ACOMPTE reviewer, and is completing her first term as AOPT Director. While in Texas, she served the TPTA-Southeastern District as 2nd Vice Co-Chair. She has served the AOPT for 13 years in the following roles: Performing Arts SIG Research Chair, PASIG President, AOPT Mentor, AOPT Nominating Committee, DEI Taskforce member, Board Liaison to both the PASIG and the Animal Rehabilitation SIG, AOPT Executive Committee and PT in the Community Board Member. As co-author of the Performing Arts Description of Fellowship Practice, she maintains a dance medicine clinical practice and research focus. She currently serves the AOPT as a Director and liaison to the Imaging SIG and Foot & Ankle SIG, as well as on two new AOPT appointments, the AOPT Board Governance Review Taskforce and the AOPT Advertising Taskforce.

Statement: There are 3 key issues that I can impact as a Director: 1) SIG relationship and representation, 2) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and 3) Justice in Board decisions. 1) A key component to the AOPT Director position is to serve as a Board Liaison to the SIGs. I have maintained an active, supportive, and collaborative role among the SIGs, first as PASIG President, then as an AOPT Nominating Committee Member, AOPT DEI Taskforce Member, and as AOPT Board Liaison to the Performing Arts SIG, the Animal Rehabilitation SIG, the Foot & Ankle SIG, and the Imaging SIG. I understand what the SIGs need from their Liaisons and have learned from first-hand experience of how good Directors work with SIG leadership. 2) A key goal is the application of AOPT's new strategic framework with an overarching commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an AOPT Director, I can help by supporting member-driven centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the four main pillars of the 2024-2026 AOPT Strategic Framework: Practice, Member and Profession Awareness, Payment and Value, and Professional Wellbeing. I do not believe diversity, equity, and inclusion is a “one and done,” but instead is something we will need to intentionally and continuously seek. The richness and reach of our organization happens through diverse leadership. I understand how hard it is to jump in…it comes by invitation and mentoring. As an AOPT Director, I can encourage highly-capable APTA members of a diverse background to become active members and leaders in the AOPT. 3) A key issue is justice. I will continue to represent the interests of our members with a justice mindset during Board discussions and in how I vote over bylaws, policies, motions, and our fiduciary responsibilities. Justice requires an unfiltered view of where we are now and how we got here. To do so requires listening to our long-time members, our SIG leaders and Committees, and our members both past and present. I have supported and will continue to support bold initiatives in advocacy, inter-organizational collaboration, evidence-informed best-practice dissemination, and member-driven services. I will help our future members navigate the cost of membership by supporting no fees for students and reduced fees for those in post-professional education, our new colleagues, and PTAs.


Paul Mintken, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
 Watch Candidate's Video!
Profile: Dr. Mintken lives in Denver, Colorado and works remotely as a Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Hawai'i Pacific University (HPU). Prior to HPU, Dr. Mintken was faculty in the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado for 20 years. Dr. Mintken is a Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist and a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopaedic and Manual Physical Therapists. He remains clinically active one day per week as an orthopaedic physical therapist at Wardenburg Health Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he has worked for 30 years. He has over 60 peer-reviewed publications investigating conservative care for musculoskeletal disorders. His awards include the Gould Excellence in Teaching Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Award from the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy (AOPT), the Baethke-Carlin Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching from the of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the Rose Excellence in Research Award, The JOSPT Excellence in Research Award, the Chattanooga Research Award, and the Outstanding Physical Therapist Award from the Colorado Chapter of the APTA. Dr. Mintken was a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Awards Committee for the Colorado chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (COAPTA) for 5 years and has testified numerous times to legislative bodies on issues such as direct access to physical therapy, manipulation, and non-pharmacological alternatives to opioid prescription. He has also been a member of the Research Committee for the Orthopaedic section of the APTA and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT). Most recently, he has been Chair of the Awards Committee for AAOMPT and Chair of the Nominating Committee for the AOPT. Dr. Mintken is a Deputy Editor for the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy. He maintains an active research agenda investigating conservative care for musculoskeletal disorders as well as spinal and extremity manipulation.

Statement: I am deeply committed to the profession of orthopaedic physical therapy and feel a profound sense of gratitude towards the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy (AOPT) for the significant impact it has had on my career. This drives my desire to serve as the Director of AOPT, as I am eager to give back to the Academy that has contributed so much to my professional development. With extensive experience as both a clinician and an educator, I am well-equipped to help AOPT achieve its goals. I envision making AOPT the premier destination for innovative and reliable orthopaedic PT clinical practice guidelines. I am committed to ensuring that the leadership of the academy is representative of the diversity within our profession and to increasing diversity within the physical therapy workforce. Moreover, I am passionate about advocating for fair compensation for physical therapists, reducing administrative burdens, and ensuring that practitioners have more time to serve their patients and care for themselves. I aim to foster an inclusive environment within AOPT, where members feel empowered to engage, grow, and make a meaningful impact on the field and the academy. I also want to increase access to orthopaedic physical therapy services for individuals in need, ensuring that quality care is available to all. Additionally, I strive to reduce unwarranted variance in clinical practice by improving the competencies of professionals through robust educational initiatives and resources. By serving as the Director of AOPT, I hope to leverage my background and skills to help the Academy and its members thrive, ultimately advancing the field of orthopaedic physical therapy for the benefit of both practitioners and patients.


Derrick Sueki, PT, PhD, DPT, GCPT, OCS
 Watch Candidate's Video!
Profile: Dr. Derrick Sueki is a current Director of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. He is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Therapists. He serves as the Program Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Azusa Pacific University and is part-time faculty at Mount Saint Mary's University. Additionally, he owns Knight Physical Therapy in Garden Grove, California. With over 25 years of clinical experience, Dr. Sueki holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University. He also completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Physical Therapy at the University of South Australia, specializing in Manipulative Therapy and Pain Mechanisms. Dr. Sueki has served as Chief Editor for two orthopedic textbooks: Orthopedic Rehabilitation Clinical Advisor and the Orthopedic Physical Assessment Atlas and Video. He is a member of the Research Council for the California Section of the APTA and previously chaired the Orthopedic Specialty Council. He currently leads work groups focused on clinical pain specialization and developing clinical practice guidelines for pain education. His research centers on the neurophysiological mechanisms of pain memory, associative learning, and behavioral responses to injury. Dr. Sueki has multiple ongoing research projects and publications in these areas and regularly presents his findings at local, state, and national conferences.

Statement: Serving as a Director for the Academy over the past three years has been an incredible honor. In this role, I have been part of a dedicated Board that has achieved significant milestones. Recently, I assumed the role of Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) on the Board. While we have made meaningful strides in promoting DEI, it is clear that this area demands further attention. By appointing Board members specifically focused on DEI, we aim to foster a more inclusive and equitable Academy. Despite our considerable achievements, there are there are still other challenges within our Academy and the broader field that require attention. A second challenge involves membership. Over the past five years, the Academy has experienced a decline in membership, mirroring trends observed in the APTA. This decline has strained our resources, highlighting the need for forward-thinking and innovative strategies to ensure the Academy's growth and financial stability. Rebuilding our membership should focus on reaching students and young professionals to create a space for community and professional growth. To this end, we continue to support cutting-edge research and the development of clinical guidelines to aid in clinical care and provide avenues towards best practice. Payment and administrative burden present a third challenge facing the profession as reimbursement declines and workload increases. The Academy is committed to providing members with the resources necessary to thrive as clinicians, business owners, and individuals. For this purpose, we have established valuable partnerships with private practices to collaboratively address payment and reimbursement challenges and reduce administrative burdens. Personally, I am driven by a strong commitment to seeing tasks through to completion. Therefore, I seek your support for an additional term as a Director of the Academy. There are still important tasks to be completed, and I firmly believe that my continued involvement will contribute to the Academy's growth and success. Together, we can build upon our achievements, address the remaining challenges, and create an Academy that is truly representative, inclusive, and impactful leaving a remarkable legacy for future generations. Thank you for considering my request for an additional term as a Director of the Academy.

Meet Our Nominating Committee Member Candidates Below:


Justin Lantz, DPT
 Watch Candidate's Video!
Profile: Dr. Justin M. Lantz is an Associate Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy and an Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC). He is the founder and current Director of the USC Spine Physical Therapy Fellowship program and operates as a practicing clinician at the Health Sciences Campus Faculty Practice of USC. Aside from clinical practice, he is involved in both clinical and academic teaching at the USC and has been published in multiple peer reviewed journals and presented at state, national, and international level conferences with a special research interest in post-surgical rehabilitation outcomes for spine surgery relating to pain, function, and quality of life. Dr. Lantz is recognized by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as a Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT). He is an active member of the California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA), American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), American Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy of the APTA, American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT), and North American Spine Society (NASS). Dr. Lantz has served as prior Associate Director and Chair of the California Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Special Interest Group and currently serves as a Committee Member of the Social Media and Public Relations Committee of AAOMPT, item writer for the Specialization Academy of Content experts (SACE) of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS), CSM presentation reviewer for AOPT and Committee Member for the Section on Interdisciplinary Spine Care and Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee of NASS and Council Representative for the Early Career Advisory Council of NASS.

Statement: I am a strong supporter of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy's (AOPT) views concerning the future of the physical therapy profession as well as the Academy’s missions and goals. As a Nominating Committee Member for the AOPT, I feel I can contribute directly to this venture by assisting in the selection of leaders who can continue to maintain this positive forward thinking. As the world’s leading authority in orthopaedic physical therapy practice, I feel it is important to nominate members who will continue to push for the professional development opportunities for physical therapists nationwide while at the same time furthering interdisciplinary collaboration and research. With the election of strong leadership, the AOPT can accomplish tasks such as formulating clinical practice guidelines, establishing updated standards of practice, furthering physical therapy competency through updated continuing education, and increasing public awareness of orthopaedic physical therapy practice while advocating for improvements in access to care. As a Nominating Committee Member for the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, I can have an impact on the future of physical therapy through nomination and election of our future leadership.  


Stephanie Pascoe, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT
 Watch Candidate's Video!
Profile: Dr. Stephanie Pascoe is currently an assistant professor at the University of Colorado. She lives in Colorado and has been a part of the Colorado Chapter since 2006. She graduated from Regis University in 2008. As a PT student Stephanie was nominated to be the APTA liaison for her class. It was during this time where she recognized the importance of being an active member of our professional association. She was active within the Student Conclave, CSM and AAOMPT and continues to be an active member within the APTA and AAOMPT! Stephanie went on to complete an orthopaedic residency program at the University of Wisconsin, was involved in the Wisconsin Chapter of the APTA and then she continued to complete a fellowship in manual therapy with EIM. Just a few years ago she completed her Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy at Bellin College. Stephanie has had the opportunity to speak at national and international conferences. With her dedication to being an active member within the APTA and her service on the professional development committee for the Colorado Chapter and ethics committee within AAOMPT Stephanie has had the pleasure to network with many physical therapists locally and nationally. She is truly where she is today because of the mentorship and relationships created over the years! Her passion is teaching physical therapy students and treating patients with orthopaedic conditions!

Statement: If elected for the Nominating Committee my focus will be to support the purpose, mission and vision of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. Having been an active member for more than 15 years I personally have experienced the benefits the Academy has offered to members. I am thankful in so many ways for the Academy and the opportunities the Academy has provided to me. Having completed an orthopaedic residency program, manual therapy fellowship and most recently a doctorate in science I truly believe physical therapists are the leaders in providing musculoskeletal healthcare. The Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy provides many resources to ensure this stays true and becomes more commonly known to the general public across the country. Through my previous experiences as a program director of the largest orthopaedic residency program and more recently an assistant professor for entry level physical therapist, I hope to foster engagement, excellence, innovation and respect as a Nominating Committee Member. Teaching in hybrid education, we are constantly pushing boundaries and much of this is through innovation. With an ever-changing world being innovative is important to all. Being innovative will stimulate engagement, excellence and respect. However, in a world that offers information constantly, creating innovation and promoting engagement can be difficult. We all experienced a significant change in engagement during Covid. There was a significantly decreased with face-to-face engagement, yet online engagement significantly increased. My opinion on promoting the values of the Academy are foundationally supported by developing relationships. I am where I am today primarily because of the relationships that I have and have had throughout my professional career. It is through these relationships where the Academy will fulfill their purpose and mission! So many of us are craving face to face time and active engagement, so refocusing on opportunities for engagement and relationship development would be a focus of mine if in this position. As I reflect on the value of innovation, I also believe that this value can be accomplished through building relationships. When I consider the position of Nominating Committee Member, I feel that those in this position must value relationships. They must connect with other members and encourage those who would represent the Academy to apply for a candidate position. This person requires an ability to communicate well, encourage others and be able to network. I feel strongly that I come to the table with these qualities and hope that through my previous experiences and current position I can be successful within the Nominating Committee.


Neena Sharma, PT, PhD, CMPT
 Watch Candidate's Video!
Profile: I am excited to be slated for the Nominating Committee. I am an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) where I teach Orthopedic courses in the entry level DPT program. I am also a certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist. I direct Clinical Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Research (CORR) lab. My research interest is related to low back pain, focusing on central sensitization, spine mechanics, and patient reported outcome measures. I have been a member of the APTA since I began practicing 30+ years ago and an active member of AOPT for 20+ years. Throughout my career, I have mentored graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and colleagues. My responsibilities in the field have been diverse encompassing teaching, clinical practice, research, and serving on/leading various committees. My committee service record is extensive. I was fortunate to serve on the Education Committee of the AOPT from 2008 – 2015 and Nominating Committee Pain SIG for two terms, 2009 – 2015. Recently, I have joined the Research Committee of the AOPT and became a member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine’s Pain Networking Group. At the institutional level, I have chaired Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee, which requires a deep understanding and adherence, to departmental and school-wide promotion and operating policies. Additionally, I have participated in various other committees throughout my academic career. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute further through the Nominating Committee and am committed to bringing my experience, dedication, and passion for advancing our field to this role.

Statement: I have always advocated for serving our professional organization among students and colleagues. Although I support all four drivers of the AOPT’s FY2024-2026 Strategic Framework, my skills and interests align with “Excellence of Practice”. The Academy has been a leader in promoting research, supporting the development of the clinical practice guidelines and providing evidence-based educational resources to optimize movement and musculoskeletal health. This driver along with the Academy’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) align with my professional values, passion, and dedication. As both a clinician-scientist and educator, I strongly believe in advancing research and evidence-based education and practices to promote movement and musculoskeletal health in the public. Equally important to me is the imperative to train the next generation of clinicians to value diversity and provide inclusive, patient-centered biopsychosocial care with evidence-based practices to meet the needs of a complex and diverse workforce. I am fully committed to promoting Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and belonging (JEDI+) in our profession. For over 15 years, I have actively participated in my university’s and department’s numerous Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, raising awareness and providing relevant training for faculty, students, and staff. Furthermore, I have led several DEI initiatives and chaired several institutional DEI committees. I served on the KUMC Diversity & Inclusion Cabinet since its inception in 2015 and co-chaired KUMC Diversity & Inclusion Committee from 2017-2022. I have developed and implemented JEDI+ curriculum for the institution’s DPT program to train DPT students to provide equitable and inclusive care, individualized to each patient. Currently I am the chair of the departmental DEI Committee. Additionally, I am a trainer for unconscious bias (UB) training and present UB training workshops/presentations to faculty, staff, and students. Importantly, I use this knowledge in my teaching, in research, and with day-to-day communication among colleagues, students, and friends. My extensive connections within the academic, clinical, and scientific communities enable me to collaborate effectively with emerging leaders in our profession. Through my daily interactions with students, clinicians, faculty, and researchers, I continuously expand my network and identify individuals who can provide exceptional leadership to the AOPT. Collectively these experiences have prepared me to serve on the Nominating Committee and help the APTA’s Strategic Plan to foster an inclusive organization.