School of Medicine Associate Dean of Physical Therapy Education Named Catherine Worthingham Fellow by the APTAZachary Noriega | Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation/CU School of Medicine Aug 29, 2022
Michael Harris-Love, PT, DSc, FGSA, FAPTA, Associate Dean and Program Director of the University of Colorado Physical Therapy program (CU PT), has been recognized as a 2022 Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (FAPTA). The fellow designation is the association’s highest membership category which is awarded to physical therapists whose careers demonstrate unwavering commitment to the profession and demonstrated leadership across education, practice, research, and advocacy. Prior to Dr. Harris-Love’s honor at this year’s APTA Leadership Congress in Washington D.C., there were only five Black physical therapists to become a Fellow of the APTA since the inception of the award 40 years ago.
Catherine Worthingham, PT, PhD, FAPTA, was an effective change agent who motivated others to make an impact within the physical therapy profession. She was a two-term president of the association during World War II, and the first physical therapist to hold a doctoral degree. Dr. Worthingham was also a visionary leader who advocated for the rehabilitation of children with polio and other forms of paralysis. While most physical therapy programs are fortunate to have one FAPTA on their roster, CU Physical Therapy has the privilege of being the academic home of two active faculty members with the honor (Drs. Jennifer Stevens-Lapsley and Michael Harris-Love), and one emeritus faculty member with the distinction (Dr. Margaret L. Schenkman).
Dr. Harris-Love was nominated through a team effort spearheaded by CU PT faculty member, Dr. Andrew Smith, and the Faculty Awards Subcommittee. External letters supporting the nomination came from other APTA fellows from nationally recognized PT programs and federal medical centers. The nominators noted Dr. Harris-Love’s contributions as a clinician-investigator within the NIH Intramural Research Program, service for national professional societies and scientific review panels, and prominent role in helping to develop and validate international physical assessment standards for myopathy clinical trials. They also cited his ongoing research concerning muscle dysfunction in older adults, development and leadership of training programs within the VA, and contributions to rehabilitation education at universities in Indiana, Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, and Colorado.
Dr. Harris-Love is among the select few individuals to hold fellowship status with both the APTA and the Gerontological Society of America. He is the 4th CU PT Program Director to attain APTA fellowship status and joins previously recognized CU PT Directors: Marcia B. Smith, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA (1987-1988), Carolyn B. Heriza, PT, EdD, FAPTA (1996-2004), and Margaret L. Schenkman, PT, PhD, FAPTA (2004-2019).“As the CU Physical Therapy Program celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, it is certainly fitting that Dr. Harris-Love would receive this prestigious fellow award for his many professional and scholarly contributions to the profession of Physical Therapy. His thoughtful leadership has produced a thriving research and educational enterprise at the University of Colorado, making the CU PT Program one of the most “valued” programs across the country,” said Venu Akuthota, MD, Professor and Chair of the CU Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “I applaud him for this extraordinary distinction.”
2022 FAPTA designees from left-to-right: Joseph J. Godges, PT, DPT, MA, FAPTA; Michael Harris-Love, PT, MPT, DSc, FGSA, FAPTA; Thomas George Hornby, PT, PhD, FAPTA; and Venita Lovelace-Chandler, PT, MA, PhD, FAPTA.