A letter to the student physical therapist and student physical therapist assistant:  

The Profession Today

As a student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant, you have made a significant emotional, time and financial commitment to the profession of physical therapy.  You did so because you have researched and observed this exciting, dynamic profession and decided that is was a good fit for you.  You also probably think of health professions as being well-defined, established, and entitled to continue as they currently are.  However, the truth is quite different.  There are many factors that influence the course of a profession such as changes in reimbursement policy by federal and private payers and changes in state regulations that govern health professional practice. 

However, the only unified voice that the profession has to confront challenges to physical therapy is the American Physical Therapy Association and its components, including the APTA Michigan.   It is important that you realize that the Association is run and funded by its members:  You and I.  It does not just exist as some separate, independent entity that is funded by somebody else.  It is our organization and it has been absolutely critical in shaping the profession that it is today.  

Michael J. Shoemaker, PT, DPT, PhD, GCS, APTA Michigan President

The article Opportunity Out of Adversity: Physical Therapy's Unique Legacy by Ellen Woods provides a summary of how the APTA acted on behalf of its members through times of opportunity and adversity.  In particular, I would highlight the role that APTA played in getting physical therapists as recognized providers under the newly-formed Medicare program in 1967.  Being recognized by such a large federal agency as the primary provider of rehabilitation services has been monumental in establishing the legitimacy of our profession as providers of choice for movement dysfunction.  Had it not been for the role that APTA played in that event or countless others, our profession would not be remotely close to what is today, nor will we fulfill our vision of transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.  So, the question that you should ask yourself: "What is my role and responsibility as a member of this profession to support the professional organization?"

I wish you the best in your professional education and your exciting career in this great profession!

Get Connected!

Throughout your student career and beyond stay connected with the news and events related to physical therapy through social media.  Facebook is great way to keep track of events near your home and throughout the nation. Want to join the #PTconversation, join Twitter!  Be sure to connect to each link below to stay in the know!

APTA Student Assembly (SA) Facebook
@APTASA Twitter

APTA Michigan Student Relations Commitee (SRC) Facebook
@MPTA_SRC Twitter

APTA Michigan Facebook
@MIPhysTherAssoc Twitter

APTA Michigan Eastern District
APTA Michigan Western District
APTA Michigan Upper Peninsula District
APTA Michigan Nothern District

APTA Facebook
@APTAtweets Twitter


Student Events

SRC (Student Relations Committee) Meet and Greet

The APTA Michigan Student Relations Committee (SRC) holds an event each year known as the SRC Meet and Greet.  All PT and PTA students in Michigan are invited!  If you are still feeling unsure about the APTA and the APTA Michigan, then this is a must-attend event.  Learn about the Association that supports your profession.  Meet and network with the SRC leadership, PT and PTA clinicians, APTA Michigan Board of Directors,  and PT/PTA students across the state! The day is packed with fun games and prizes.  Make sure to keep an eye out for registration on the Facebook page

APTA Michigan SRC Student Conclave

A professional physical therapy conference coordinated by students especially for students! Programming at this event is hand-picked to bring you the hottest topics you, as a student, want to hear about and to ensure there is not an overlap from your programs.  This is one of the best professional development opportunities you will have in your student career.  Network with the APTA Michigan Board of Directors, students across the state, vendors who could be potential employers, opportunities for resume critiques and mock interview coaching, access to hot trending educational sessions, and above all it's fun (and affordable)! Not all students in every state have an opportunity like this, so take advantage and mark it in in your calendar for this spring!

APTA Michigan Legislative Day

An event for student and clinicians to advocate for the physical therapy profession and its patients.  Join us in Lansing to meet face to face with your legislators.  This event happens annually in the spring - look for the Save the Date on APTA Michigan's Facebook.

AND do not miss out on national events including National Student Conclave (NSC), Federal Advocacy Forum , APTA Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) and APTA NEXT Conference .


Student Relations Committee (SRC)

The purpose of the APTA Michigan - Student Relations Committee (APTA Michigan-SRC) is to promote student physical therapist/physical therapist assistant involvement in the APTA/APTA Michigan organization. The committee will serve as a mechanism for students to explore and transition into the professional organization by student-driven committee activities. In addition, the committee may extend its efforts to include community activities and education to raise public awareness about physical therapy. A coordinated effort with Districts and other APTA Michigan committees will be utilized to promote student membership and participation.



Current: Shannon Fagan and Jerika Schmitt (GVSU)

Duties: Student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant will serve a one-year term following a one-year term as the Co-Vice President. Primary role is to set meeting date/time and agenda, facilitate meeting, and coordinate activity of the committee. It is the responsibility of the President to submit an article to Shorelines if the co-secretaries are unable to do so. Must be an APTA member.responsibility of the President to submit an article to Shorelines if the co-secretaries are unable to do so. Must be an APTA member.

Current: Victoria Cushard (CMU)

Duties: Student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant will serve a two-year term (one as the Vice President and a second as President). Primary role is to assist Co-Presidents by arranging guest speakers and education topics. In the absence of the Secretary, it is the responsibility of the Co-Vice Presidents to fill in for this role during the missed meeting. Must be an APTA member.

Current: Emily Bode and Victoria Krajenka (GVSU)

Duties: Student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant will serve a one-year term. Primary role is to take meeting minutes, keep directory current, keep records, assist with setting up meetings, keep website current, and produce an article for APTA Michigan Shorelines (four times annually). Must be an APTA member.

Current: Lauren Buckel (Wayne State University) and Alicia DenHerder (CMU)

Duties: Student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant. Serves one year with the primary role of coordinating volunteers at APTA Michigan-SRC Events. Must be an APTA member

Current: Hayley Ewald (GVSU)

Duties: Student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant will serve a one- year term. Primary role is to contact and communicate with potential student conclave speakers and mock interview volunteers. Coordinates speakers and necessary equipment during student conclave.



Current: Emily Cook and Christy Burko (CMU)

Duties: Student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant will serve a one-year term. Primary role is organizing and running all fundraising. Contacts vendors and sponsors for student conclave.



Current: Mike Fowler (Wayne State University)

Duties: Student physical therapist or student physical therapist assistant will serve a one-year term. Primary role is to promote APTA Michigan SRC events on social media. Write quarterly articles for the Shorelines.


Current: Vacant. Interested?

Duties:Each university/college will have at least one to two volunteers from each of their cohort classes to serve as Representatives. Representatives may self-volunteer or be voted in by fellow classmates from their respective university. They will serve one-year terms. Primary role is to pass information from the Student Relations Committee to students at their respective universities/colleges.

Current: Niki Chakur and Lauren Ramer

Duties: To Be Determined


Responsibilities of the SRC

  • Provide a mechanism to meet twice a year to exchange information and plan activities.
  • Provide an annual program for PT and PTA students to introduce them to professional organization and its role as a mechanism that influences the direction of the profession.
  • Any SRC member may act as a resource person for students concerning Association, Chapter, and District meetings, activities, and issues.
  • Provide a report regarding activities of the SRC to the Director responsible for the Committee prior to each Board meeting.
  • Provide a mechanism whereby students may voice their concerns and offer suggestions to the Chapter.
  • Provide a "student interest" column in the Shorelines whereby students can inform the Chapter membership of their activities and concerns and where the membership and Liaisons can share information of particular interest to students. Initiate and keep current webpage on the APTA Michigan website.
  • Communicate with respective academic Program Directors (or AC/DCE) concerning the function of the SRC and offer assistance in providing information to students about the APTA Michigan and APTA. Coordinate efforts at the District level to provide activities for students to encourage student attendance at meetings.
  • Communicate with universities/colleges about activities of the SRC and invite students to become involved in the MPTA.


Student Opportunities


Membership Benefits

Hello student members of the APTA Michigan,

We hope that you know we value you!  We want to help you explore your membership by regularly sharing some perks (that you may or may not be aware of).  Stay tuned… there are an endless amount of membership benefits and we will share a new benefit in bi-monthly emails that could help you in school, clinical experiences or with your professional development and beyond!


There is a resource where you can quickly look up summaries on different clinical conditions? Make sure to scroll down to the Clinician QuickTakes for very relevant information.

  • http://www.ptnow.org/clinical-summaries
  • Tip: Click the "download a portable summary" button for an awesome easy-to-read summary on each condition that you can put together in a binder for easy access during clinical and course work.

The APTA has a link to search all available article databases to find the most clinically relevant research to use for writing papers?  And they even have a librarian you can email at articlesearch@apta.org for help with any searching needs!

There are many student benefits if you are a member of the Sports Physical Therapy Section?  https://spts.org/member-benefits-detail/enjoy-member-benefits/student-early-career

There's a place to look up a PT plan of care for different diseases and conditions? Also includes drug information, patient education, exercise images and other resources. http://www.ptnow.org/RRC  

Follow this link for a super helpful article, "Three Reasons Why the Rehabilitation Reference Center is a Game-Changer for Students and New Professionals." http://www.apta.org/Pulse/2016/7/11/RehabReferenceCenter/

As a student you can attend professional continuing education opportunities?  Join us at the 2018 APTA Michigan Pain Summit on March 24, 2018.  It is conveniently the day after APTA Michigan Student Conclave, and at the same location!  You will not want to miss out on this weekend in Lansing. 

Be sure to "Like" your APTA Michigan District Facebook Page (UP District, Northern District, Western District , Eastern District) and check out the APTA Michigan Events Page to keep up on future opportunities.  


They make it easy to find evidence to apply to your patients on clinical rotations and/or for use in class with the use of subject searches.


While you are out take advantage of a large networking opportunity/MPT-PAC fundraiser on Friday night and stay for the APTA Michigan Pain Summit on Saturday.  Learn how to truly make a difference in your patient with pain!

  • As a member you have discounted registration for all conferences at the state and national level.  Looking to become engaged nationally?  Check out the NEXT Conference in June and the National Student Conclave (NSC) in October.
  • As a student you get a discount on all APTA sections?  Many students find membership to sections to be one of the best benefits.  Valuable information specific to your interests and access to a community of clinicians who share your passion in Sports PT, Neurology, Women's Health, Acute Care, Orthopaedic, Cardiopulmonary, Home Health, Pediatrics, Federal, Geriatrics and more!
  • http://www.apta.org/Sections/


Involvement Opportunities

Welcome to the profession of physical therapy! One of the best ways to spark your passion for your new career and join the physical therapy community is to get involved.  There are many ways you can get involved as a PT or PTA student with varying levels of leadership opportunities and time commitments. There is a role for everyone, contact the SRC at contact@aptami.org to find the role that most aligns with your interests and brings out your strengths!

  • Run for an SRC Officer position
  • Run for an SRC Conclave Committee Chair position
  • Volunteer for an SRC Conclave Committee
  • Become a School Representative of your PT or PTA school program

Get involved on the national level:

Want to get involved but not sure what role will be best for you?  We can help! Email us at contact@aptami.org

Check out our Michigan Student Involvement Guide.

Get Involved!

Being involved as a APTA Michigan Student gets you noticed, makes great connections with future employers, and demonstrates you are serious about your Profession. Contact the APTA Michigan Office to learn about ways to volunteer.

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