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Strategic Plan Final Report

Larsen, Deborah S. PT, PhD, FAPTA

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy: April 2017 - Volume 41 - Issue 2 - p 139–140
doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000173
Section News & Notes: President's Perspective

I have been fortunate to have served as the President of the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy for the last 6 years and president-elect for the year before that. I have learned much, met and worked with so many wonderful people, and watched the Section grow in amazing ways. This last president's perspective will focus on the many accomplishments that have occurred over this period. These activities result from the efforts of a magnificent group of incredibly hardworking and dedicated people—our leadership team (the Board of Directors, the Special Interest Group [SIG] leaders, and committee leaders) and the tireless volunteers who do so much of the work (SIG and committee members as well as task force and working group participants). We are truly blessed to have so many dedicated members who work countless hours to move the work of the Academy forward to improve care for those with neurologic conditions.

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One of the major accomplishments of this time period was to change our name from the Neurology Section to the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy. This was done to better align our organization with those of other health care professions and other APTA components; the membership approved the change at the annual 2016 business meeting, which resulted in a yearlong process of new logo development, Web site alignment, and changes to all written materials, including our bylaws, educational materials, booth banners, letterhead, etc.

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Education is a primary focus of the Academy, led by the Director of Education, so it is not surprising that we have seen astonishing growth in this arena, which was augmented by an Educational Strategic Planning meeting in 2015. Thanks to the many educators, who were willing to share their learning activities, we revised and republished the Compendium for Teaching Professional Level Physical Therapy Neurologic Content1 (2016); similarly, the Neurologic Entry-Level Teaching Curricular Content Guidelines2 (2011) were published to help educators implement comprehensive entry-level curricula within Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs. Although the Academy has provided regional courses for many years, over this time period, the number offered per year increased from 6 to 11, and 6 new courses were added: (1) Neuroplasticity (2012), (2) Introduction to Vestibular Rehabilitation (2013), (3) Acute Stroke (2014), (4) Advanced Vestibular Rehabilitation (2014), (5) Concussion (2015), and (6) Parkinson Disease (2016). With the addition of new courses, the planning for the transition of some of the older courses to online offerings began with the Toolbox course, which was posted on the APTA's learning center in 2012; however, to best meet our member needs, it was decided to pursue the development of an online learning center specific to neurologic physical therapy (PT). Named the ANPT Synapse Education Center, it launched at CSM 2017 to provide a diverse selection of peer-reviewed evidence-based online courses, including some of the historic regional courses, and will be overseen by the Director of Education and the Online Education Committee. Notably, 2016 also hosted IVSTEP in collaboration with the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy, the fourth iteration of the STEP conferences, bringing together an international group of experts and attendees to present and discuss the evidence relative to neurologic conditions and rehabilitation across the lifespan. Articles stemming from the esteemed presentations will be jointly published in the 2 Academy journals as well as an electronic compendium (e-book) that will also include case presentations, which will be available for purchase.

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The Academy's practice activities have (1) targeted the provision of evidence-based documents to maximize outcomes and minimize practice variability; (2) supported our residency program expansion, including facilitating high-quality experiences; and (3) enhanced advocacy for our patients and practice. The rapid growth in these activities necessitated expanding the Board of Directors to include a Director of Practice and simultaneously an Evidence-Based Documents Advisory Committee (both in 2014). An initial Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) on Rehabilitation for Vestibular Hypofunction was initiated in 2012 and published in 20163; subsequently, we have developed a procedures manual for evidence-based documents, and initiated (A) 4 CPG task forces for (1) Locomotor Training, (2) Core Outcome Measures for Gait, (3) Concussion, and (4) Orthotics/Neuroprosthetics; (B) work groups to revise the EDGE (Evaluation Database to Guide Effectiveness) documents on stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson disease, and vestibular disorders as well as to develop an integrated and comprehensive outcome measure document; and (C) developed a Movement System task force (2015) and a Health Promotion and Wellness task force (2016) to identify current evidence and make practice recommendations in these 2 critical areas to improve treatment and fitness for clients with neurologic deficits. Recently, in association with the Research Committee, a 2-day Knowledge Translation Summit was held at CSM 2017 to enhance evidence-based practice, partnering clinicians with scholars to facilitate project implementation; 2 projects will subsequently be funded to address clinical problems.

In response to membership, a new SIG was recognized [Seating and Wheeled Mobility/Assistive Technology (2014)] and an SIG chair-elect position added to each SIG to facilitate leadership transitions. In addition, a Neurologic Residency Curriculum Guide (2013-2015) was created to assist developing residencies to craft their programs and evaluate their residents, grant funds were established to support new residency development, and the resource list for those studying for the Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS) examination was expanded (2015) and supported by an online discussion board. Over this time period, the number of residencies nearly tripled from 13 to 38 and the number of Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialists doubled from 837 to 1727. Notably, the Academy in association with its Vestibular Special Interest Group is conducting a practice survey to examine vestibular practice as a specialty area, which could lead to a specialization through ABPTS (American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties) and future residencies in this practice area. We are also supporting an analysis for a potential fellowship in degenerative diseases. Finally, our advocacy activities expanded to support member and student attendance at APTA's Capital Hill Visits, to ensure attendance at the APTA's annual Advocacy Forum, to establish liaisons between the Academy and each state chapter, and to contribute to multiple APTA initiatives.

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The Academy targeted the expansion of its research activities by holding a research strategic planning meeting in the spring of 2011 that subsequently informed the overall strategic plan, developed in autumn of 2011. The research plan targeted (1) the prioritization of research themes; (2) promoting knowledge application; and (3) improving the funding for neurologic research. We see some of the targeted themes in the evidence-based documents under development. To address the issues of research funding, the Academy has increased its funding to the Foundation for Physical Therapy in support of PODS I and II fellowships, completing our initial $100 000 gift (2012) and committing to another $100 000 to be paid from 2013 to 2017, while also committing to a $25 000 contribution over 5 years in support of the Foundation's Center for Excellence for Health Services Research. We also held an Early Career Scientist Workshop at CSM 2015 and subsequently funded 2 attendees to take their projects to the TIGRR (Training in Grantsmanship for Rehabilitation Research) at the Medical University of South Carolina. Notably, the Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy sought indexing via Thompson Reuters and was so recognized in 2013 with a 2.2 Impact Factor in time to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015. Subsequently, the journal has focused one edition each year to a special theme: 2015—Management of Complex Neurological Disorders, 2016—Implementation Science & Adherence Research, and 2017—IVSTEP. A lectureship, named for Anne Shumway-Cook, was established at the Combined Sections Meeting (2011) to share the expertise of our most talented researchers in an annual venue and has since recognized: Fay Horak (2011), Carolee Winstein (2012), Nancy Byl (2013), Steve Wolf (2014), Pam Duncan (2015), Susan Herdman (2016), and Andrea Behrman (2017).

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With the constantly changing technology landscape, the communication activities of the Academy, led by the Director of Communications, diligently focus on matching the rapidity of change with the need of members. 2012 started with a complete Web site overall supported by a new content management system with ongoing updates to transition to a more responsive and device-friendly platform (2015) and to capture the Academy's name change throughout the Web site (2016). However, many of the communication accomplishments are in support of other mission areas, such as (1) posting of all activities on the Web site, (2) support of publications, podcasts/webinars, and social media for our components, including the identification of appropriate technology and training leaders/members on usage, (3) establishing the Learning Management System, including identification of the best industry partner, and (4) partnering with our membership and public relations committee to develop an online mentorship program. Furthermore, the Academy publishes a bimonthly electronic newsletter to facilitate communication with members and enable Academy activities; as the Academy changed its name, the newsletter was reformatted and renamed the Action Potential.

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The activities, described herein, could only have been achieved through expanding member engagement and fiscal growth. Since 2011, the Academy has seen unprecedented growth in membership from 3771 to 5759 as of September 2016 with every member category (PTs, PTAs, and students) showing similar growth patterns. Similarly, there has been unparalleled fiscal growth, beginning with a $210 094 net revenue in 2012, followed by similar increases in each subsequent year: 2013—$61 605; 2014—$330 684; and 2015—$262 077. 2016 financials were not available at the time of writing but are expected to exceed prior years, with nearly $150 000 netted from the IVSTEP conference and additional income from the e-book compendium to be published in 2017. This fiscal growth has allowed the Academy to invest in its strategic priorities as well as to invest in its future through appropriate investment strategies.

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2017 marks the end of the 2011 strategic plan, so the Academy will hold another strategic planning meeting in the fall to develop its next priorities. Among them, we expect to (1) grow the ANPT Synapse Education Center with high-quality, diverse evidence-based courses; (2) plan an online educational summit; (3) expand the funding of PODs scholarships and support residency and fellowship development; (4) disseminate the IVSTEP compendium (e-book); (5) continue to expand communication/technology support for component and Academy initiatives; (6) target students and young professional engagement to enhance membership growth; and (7) further engage members in strategic initiatives.

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1. Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy. A Compendium for Teaching Professional Level Physical Therapy Neurologic Content, v. 2016. Accessed November 1, 2017.
2. American Physical Therapy Association. APTA Section Curriculum Resources. http:// Accessed November 1, 2017
3. Hall CD, Herdman SJ, Whitney SL, et al Vestibular Rehabilitation for Peripheral Vestibular Hypofunction: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline: from the American Physical Therapy Association Neurology Section. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2016;40(2):124–155.
© 2017 Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy, APTA