UTC Physical Therapy Faculty Members Win National Recognition

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - by Shawn Ryan, UTC
Two University of Tennessee Chattanooga faculty members in the Department of Physical Therapy are recipients of national awards from the American Physical Therapy Association.

Dr. June Hanks, associate professor in physical therapy, was given the Humanitarian Award, the first year the prize has been offered. According to the APTA website, the award “honors individuals who exemplify the compassionate nature of the physical therapy profession by actively expressing a commitment to humanity and exhibiting admirable degrees of selflessness in addressing key health concerns."

Winners “demonstrated leadership and outstanding humanitarian volunteerism have improved the quality of life of individuals worldwide.

David Levine, professor and Walter M. Cline Chair of Excellence in physical therapy, was selected as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in APTA, the highest level of membership in the organization. Each year, the award recognizes about 10 physical therapists “who have demonstrated unwavering efforts to advance the physical therapy profession for more than 15 years,” the APTA website states.

“The purpose of the Catherine Worthingham Fellow designation is to honor Dr. Worthingham and inspire all physical therapists to attain the high level of professional excellence and impact in terms of advancing the profession she exemplified,” officials said.

In her nomination letter for Dr. Hanks, Dr. Debbie Ingram, head of the Department of Physical Therapy, noted that, for the past 20 years, Dr. Hanks has made multiple trips to Haiti to help the people of that country.

After the earthquake in 2010, Dr. Hanks moved to Haiti full-time to tend to the injured, many of whom had limbs amputated or needed extensive rehabilitation.

Over the years in Haiti, she has opened clinics, started soccer teams, created physical therapy programs at universities and other schools and provided prosthetic and orthotic devices.

“The Cambridge Dictionary defines humanitarian as one who is ‘involved in or connected to improving people’s lives and reducing suffering,’” Dr. Ingram wrote.

“Dr. June Hanks is a wonderful humanitarian role model for our profession and our students. She demonstrates humility while meeting the physical therapy needs of some of the poorest people in the world.”

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