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Leaders of the Pack

With a new year comes new leadership. Taking a lead role in 2013 are two George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) students: Josh D’Angelo, a third-year doctor of physical therapy (DPT) student and Pete Tooley, a second-year DPT student. Both students were elected by their peers to serve in national leadership positions for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Armed with the mission of advancing the issues and concerns of PT students, D’Angelo will serve as the APTA Student Assembly (SA) president, while Tooley will assume the role of chair-elect for the SA Nominating Committee. Made up of more than 22,000 student members, the SA is dedicated to advancing the views and concerns of PT students. “Josh and I were overwhelmed by the incredible amount of student support we received,” said Tooley.

More than anything, this honor represents a tremendous opportunity for D’Angelo and Tooley to help strengthen the role of PT students across the nation. “My goal is to unify and amplify the voice of physical therapy students,” said D’Angelo. “It’s my job as president to ensure that students have the resources they need to contribute to our profession and to the health of their communities.” 

For both Tooley and D’Angelo, the decision to pursue a career in PT was a personal one. “Going through physical therapy in high school for football and lacrosse injuries spurred my interest,” said Tooley. It is also the unique care that PT’s provide that inspired D’Angelo to pursue a career in PT. “Seeing the amount of time PT’s get to spend with their patients and doing hands-on, one-on-one treatment attracted me to the profession,” said D’Angelo.

In their new roles, D’Angelo and Tooley hope to engage more PT students by encouraging them to become more active within the profession. “The more representation we have the stronger our voice becomes, which increases the impact we can have on our patients and on our profession,” D’Angelo said.

Tooley’s time will be dedicated toward working with the Nominating Committee to increase the amount of student involvement within the SA, whether that be through serving on the Student Board of Directors, getting students involved with the different sections of the APTA, or developing student involvement at the state and local level. “I am fortunate to serve in a position that is able to impact that goal,” said Tooley. “Right now the majority of my time is spent finding and meeting students interested in being involved in leadership roles within the APTA SA.”

As for the future, D’Angelo and Tooley are excited to have the opportunity to tell students about the APTA and explain what it does. “Moving forward, if we want our profession to continue to grow, we need membership and people advocating on our behalf,” said Tooley. For D’Angelo and Tooley that starts here at GW by getting students excited about and interested in the PT profession.