Nigerian Trained Physical Therapists in the USA are High Achievers


The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) president, DR. Sharon Dunn was the keynote speaker at our Dallas 2019 alumni conference. Thanks to technology, DR. Dunn took time off her busy schedule during the Board of Directors’ meeting at Washington to address our gathering using Zoom technology. Following her address, the conference participants were able to ask her questions germane to practice, professional issues, and for minority groups such as ours in the American context.
In her keynote address to the conference of Nigerian Physical Therapy Alumni Associations of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Physical Therapy, College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL) Physical Therapy, and the University of Ibadan (UI) Physical Therapy, DR. Sharon Dunn congratulated the participants in the conference. She noted that Nigerian trained physical therapists have proven to be high achievers in their contributions to the practice of the profession in the United States.
While acknowledging the contributions made by Nigerian trained physical therapist over the years to physical therapy practice in the United States, she cited specific examples of individuals like DR. Chuwuemeka with whom she had a working experience in mentorship. Nigerians in the academics, and those working towards their doctoral program, she noted, are known not to shy away from the hard work of teaching the basic sciences in physical therapy programs.
Moreover, she echoed the determination of the APTA in championing the sense of upliftment, commitment, and of community in our service to society. The American Physical Therapy Association, she reiterates, now strives to promote diversity celebration, in equity, and inclusion in the profession.
The following APTA House of Delegate Resolutions were also highlighted in her speech, including:
  • Embracing and creating change
  • Resolved to be non-judgmental
  • Promotion of societal transformation
  • That no one should feel like an outsider within our bounds as inclusion is being promoted
  • That the APTA has a Minority scholarship fund established and acknowledged the contribution of a notable Minority leader in the person of DR. Lynda Woodruff for the fund that now stands at $1M.
Following her speech, she took questions from the audience and wished us well in our conference.

“Uninvited Teamwork”

A Message from Dr. Scott Ward, PT, PhD, FAPTA
The immediate past president of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Dr. Scott Ward was one of two guests of honor present at the annual Dinner on Saturday, July 13,2019 event of the Alumni conference in Dallas 2019 and gave a speech to the audience. In his remarks, he narrated a specific experience he had in Nigeria that was deeply touching for him personally and the experience from which he wanted us to draw an important life lesson.
Dr. Ward has had experiences traveling to Nigeria, volunteering in the training of providers for wheelchair fitting for people with disability who need wheelchair. In one of such training missions’ trips, a person with disability had been fitted with a wheelchair. It came time for the individual to go home and his newly issued wheelchair loaded with him in the tricycle (Keke Maruwa) to return home. The need to load the wheelchair in the Maruwa became a challenge due to the structure of the small Maruwa tricycle. To Dr. Ward’s amazement, and one from which he had not previously experienced in other cultures, noting the challenge of loading a wheelchair on a Keke Maruwa, he witnessed everyone around dropped whatever they were doing at the time to figure out a way to assist in loading the wheelchair on the Maruwa.
When the challenging job of loading a wheelchair on a Maruwa was successfully completed, a loud applause and celebration ensued, people waved and cheered! The lesson drawn from this experience was referred to by Dr. Ward as an “Uninvited Teamwork.” He further encouraged the audience that when there are things to be done, good people should bound together to get it done. Dr. Ward concluded his speech by inviting us to keep working to “Put the wheelchair on the Maruwa!”


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