It is the unique, one-on-one personal care that physical therapists provide that inspired Josh D’Angelo to pursue a career in Physical Therapy (PT). Last year, D’Angelo, a third-year doctor of physical therapy (DPT) student at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), was elected by his peers in a national election to serve as the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Student Assembly (SA) president. This year, D’Angelo’s academic ability and passion for PT was honored again as he received the prestigious Mary McMillan Scholarship Award given out by APTA. D’Angelo is the first GW student to receive this honor.
The award’s namesake, Mary McMillan, was a pioneer of PT in the United States, and she was the founding president of APTA.
Humbled and honored, D’Angelo says this award will provide him with another avenue to use his voice, follow his passions, and work toward creating a better environment for PTs and their patients. D’Angelo credits his classmates and DPT faculty for his success. “My development as a student, professional, and leader has been a direct result of the quality of individuals who I have learned from and with over the past few years,” he says.
“The PT program is extremely proud of Josh's leadership excellence throughout his three years in the GW Doctor of Physical Therapy program,” says Alison DeLeo, DPT, PT, NREMT-B, assistant professor at SMHS. “Josh is a distinguished student academically who is highly committed in service to his classmates, his patients, the GW community, and APTA. He consistently demonstrates a tremendous work ethic, a fresh perspective for the field of physical therapy in an ever changing healthcare system, and compassion for all people he meets.”
D’Angelo came to GW to receive an excellent education while taking advantage of the diverse learning experiences available in a metropolitan landscape. For D’Angelo, this award is reassurance that students can do just that by channeling their passions into new initiatives that broaden their education and improve their communities. “With the appropriate support, opportunities, and persistence, students can have a meaningful impact in any domain they choose,” he says.
Recipients are selected on the basis of the following criteria: superior scholastic performance, past productivity, evidence of potential contribution to physical therapy, and service to APTA. The award includes a $5,000 scholarship and a certificate that will be presented by APTA's Board of Directors at the association's annual conference in June.
D’Angelo and his fellow classmates are graduating in a constantly changing health care climate that demands more efficient and effective care, and evidence-based practices. “I hope to continue treating, serving, and advocating for my patients and communities to ensure that they are receiving high quality care,” he added.
DeLeo and the rest of the students and faculty in the PT program look forward to watching D’Angelo’s career as a PT professional flourish. “We are so excited to see his future contributions to the PT profession,” says DeLeo.