Welcome to the 2018 Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy Election. Make a difference and vote today! The election runs from October 1 - October 31. Members are requested to vote for SIG candidates in the SIGs they are active in. The election is open all PT and PTA Academy members. Those elected will take office at the close of CSM 2019 in January. Thank you!

2018 Elections - Candidates for Office

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Treasurer   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.


What skills and experience do you bring to this position to assure maintenance of complete and accurate financial records for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy?

I am honored to be considered for the position of Treasurer for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy for another term. In order for our component to be effective for the membership we serve, we must be thoughtful and detailed when keeping financial records and managing the resources of the organization to allow us to meet our goals and plan for continued growth. As the owner and President of Greenfield Rehabilitation Agency, I am responsible for the financial operations and management for over fifty clinic locations that serve the geriatric population. I have many years of experience on ensuing accuracy and appropriate planning to allow an organization to address current needs and plan for future growth and expansion.
In addition to my past term as Treasurer for the Academy, I have served as Treasurer for my State Chapter which has provided me with the tools necessary to operate within APTA's overarching goals while still planning for the unique needs of our component. I would bring value to the AGPT and their leadership team through my experience to help us continue to promote this valuable and vital part of the practice of physical therapy.

How would you communicate recommendations for Board members to improve budget planning in each of their specific areas of responsibility?

The resources of the Academy should be planned and utilized for activities that are synchronized to the strategic plan. Any financial outlay should have a transparent link to a goal that the Academy has identified so the membership can plainly see why the funds are being spent and the outcome that is looked for. The financial support is necessary to ensure activities are executed, essentially the means to accomplish the outcome we are looking for.

If a board or committee member is struggling with how to improve how they budget for their activities, I would encourage them to align their planned activities to show how they support the strategic plan and it will fall into place. If it does not, perhaps that activity needs to be re-evaluated.

Director   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.


1.     What experiences would you bring to the position of Director that make you a strong candidate?
When I was asked to run for office to be a director in the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, my first thought was, do I have the skills to successfully serve in this role. I answered the call with a resounding, YES! I believe I am a strong candidate as I have been a physical therapist for over 22 years working older adults in multiple practice settings. I have served in supervisory roles always looking to improve the quality of care the patients are receiving. I have served on the nominations and practice committees of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy for over 8 years and have served as Chair of Practice for another component organization of the American Physical Therapy Association.

My passion has always been for the betterment of practice our patients receive while at the same time advocating for the clinician providing the care to be properly valued and respected. I have facilitated and co-author many practice resources including toolkits for the care for incontinence, sleep disorders, pain management and mental health/cognitive disorders.

As your director, I strive to advocate for the older adult and our profession to remove barriers to care and promote best practice. More recently, I have been getting involved at the policy level to share the value of physical therapy to the stakeholders responsible for access to care. I plan on continuing this work to help our patients get access to the best care possible.

2.      What current or future Academy activities would you like to advance as a member of the Board of Directors and how do you plan on achieving this?

 As your director, I would like to see the Academy partner with other organizations with similar mission and vision statements to advance ideas to move from sick care to well care adding primary prevention for our older members of society. As the government makes cuts to reimbursement for rehabilitation services across the post-acute care continuum, physical therapists must follow the evidence to new opportunities in primary disease prevention through the power of physical activity.

Spreading this message couldn't be easier with the use of modern day social media. Engaging society through Facebook, twitter and other applications, are key ideas to disseminate best practice information to clinicians.

3.      What is the greatest challenge facing the geriatric practitioner and how can the Academy help?
 I believe the biggest challenge facing physical therapists working with older adults is the fact that physical therapists are professionals that are viewed as a modality such as an order for a medication. It is the fact that PT is ordered, rather than being consulted, which must change. For physical therapists to be realize the vision to transform society, we must demonstrate our value to society through the quality of care provided and outcomes made. For this to happen, we must transform ourselves to root out unwanted variability in practice, utilize the best available evidence to achieve our patient's goals in the most efficient manner possible. The Academy has the structure in place to move us towards best practice for the betterment of society.

  1. What experiences would you bring to the position of Director that make you a strong candidate?

My breadth of experiences facilitate effective communication skills amongst multiple stakeholders. These experiences include being the current Director of Practice where I have had the pleasure to work with past and present members of the Executive Board, other Board of Directors (BOD), SIG chairs, and committee members. Additionally, I bring insights from multiple perspectives including academia, clinic, and research. My involvement in these areas provide me with talking points and the ability to hold my own at times when a spirited dialogue is required. My organizational skills along with the ability to observe trending issues provides a nice mix of completing tasks while advancing projects. Last, I bring pure grit and work ethic to the position of Director. The desire and enjoyment found in working with others whose sincere interest is in working with older adults creates a desire of being involved to support older adults, the members, and to move the Academy forward.

  1. What current or future Academy activities would you like to advance as a member of the Board of Directors and how do you plan on achieving this?

Several activities are currently in the hopper and I anticipate these initiatives will snowball into future projects. For example, Dr. Keith Avin, as Chair of the Practice Committee, guides several sub-committees and groups in the development of Evidenced Based Documents (see GeriNotes, July 2018, Vol 25 No. 3). Additionally, the Practice Committee is in the development phase, in concert with the Academy, to improve methods of disseminating this information to a variety of audiences (e.g. older adults, members, other organizations).  As Chair of the Payment and Legislative committee, Ellen Strunk, PT, MS continues to stay on top of reimbursement and legislative changes with her up-to-date reports and summaries as well as having a strong presence in the House of Delegates. Last, Dr. Barbara Billek-Sawhney has worked tirelessly on the Home Study Course (HSC) series and we are in the early investigation phases of how to connect the HSC series with continuing education courses created and sponsored by the Academy. Their work is very important and as their BOD liaison I will continue to advance and support them in their roles.

  1. What is the greatest challenge facing the geriatric practitioner and how can the Academy help?

To me the greatest challenge is multifaceted and therefore presents smaller barriers culminating in the "greatest challenge." Ultimately, providing efficient, effective, high quality care that results in the best outcome for that particular patient is the greatest challenge. A number of factors contribute to this challenge; educating and harnessing the energy of students who are sincerely interested in working with older adults, educating clinicians about aging and continually working to chip away at ageist attitudes, sustain an ongoing dialogue with reimbursement systems to advocate for patients/clients, and a movement toward the application of big data to create critical pathways and effective treatments. Each of these challenges create opportunities for improvement that are underway by the Academy and APTA. However, the last piece of this puzzle is to remember the "art" of physical therapy. Amongst all of the big data, the evidenced based documents, and tests and measures there is a human that sits, lies, or stands in front of us and we need to foster a connection that demonstrates professionalism, kindness, and empathy - a human connection. As PTs we will best help our patients if we can understand who they are, limit our assumptions, apply the research and LISTEN; hear their full story before we jump to predetermined patterns. Continually connecting with patients is all of our responsibility.

Nominating Committee   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.

  1. What skills and experiences qualify you to serve on the Nominating Committee?

For 5 years I was the chair of the Awards Committee for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy (AGPT). Through this role, I have had the opportunity to meet many people who have been leaders who could potentially connect me to new leaders. Similarly, I have had the opportunity to meet individuals who are achieving great things. Having resources to identify leaders is helpful to the nominating committee role.

Likewise, attending Board meetings and talking with those in leadership positions has given me the opportunity to better understand the roles and responsibilities of the elected positions within AGPT. Furthermore, if elected, I would continue learning from past and current leaders as well as reading job descriptions to improve my understanding of the demands of each of the jobs.

  1.  How would you identify and mentor new leaders within the Academy?

To identify new leaders, I would first plan to be where there are members. This would mean making time at CSM to work at the member booth, attending AGPT meetings, and meeting people at posters and presentations. And once I meet people, I can then follow up with them to identify any desire for a leadership position as well as strengths that person may have. I can also educate members on what leadership positions are available as well as what duties are included. Sometimes, finding good leaders is only a matter of asking the person to consider the position.

To mentor leaders, it would be my job to pass the most relevant information to the leaders based on strengths and weaknesses. The APTA has recently compiled evidence based mentorship information for leaders. However, many people don't have time to read or review so much material so matching the most relevant information to the person is important and following up to review or offer additional resources would be essential.
I look forward to serving AGPT in this important role if elected.

See email attachment Eagler
  1. Education:
             Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of Indianapolis
                        Masters of Health Administration, University of Missouri, KC
                        Bachelors of Science Physical Therapy, University of Pennsylvania
                        Board Certified Geriatric Specialist, Recertified
                        APTAnj since relocation 2008-current

                        Rehabilitative Therapy Services, owner
                        Therapy Choice, Board Certified Geriatric Specialist,
                                 Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult.
                         Ultima Rehab, Board Certified Geriatric Specialist,
          Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult

    1. What skills and experience qualify you to serve on the Nominating Committee?

    I have had the privilege of serving the Academy through the years, previously serving on the Nominating Committee until 2010. Members were nominated with varying backgrounds, ages, and experience with the Academy. We actively searched for those who would enhance our efforts to provide optimal board composition to fulfill our AGPT mission of promoting best practice and to advocate for older adults. As Chairperson, AGPT had a full slate for the elections.  As a member of the AGPT Nominating Committee, my charge would be to submit capable and equipped members for election who would positively enhance the Academy's contribution to the APTA mission of transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.

    In my various roles of service to the Academy, Finance Committee, question review for Specialist Accreditation for Certification Exams,  APTAnj member of Geriatric Special Interest Group with inception in 2010, and with facilitating Geriatric Specialty Exam study groups, I have interacted with numerous smart, effective leaders in their respective practice sites. The participation in AGPT continues as CEEAA faculty, coordinating the AGPT website redesign, WebMedia group facilitator, AGPT Board member, Task Force for Partnership, student resume review, and past Board of Director for Research and Publications. The AGPT has exciting forward-thinking students and members ready for a new challenge within the Academy.

    I have worked as a Geriatric Certified Specialist and worked in various settings throughout my practice serving the older adult. I have established networking opportunities with involvement with AGPT, expanded at CSM and NEXT connecting with members and potential members, interacting with the participants of CEEAA courses as we seek to improve best practice. Working with 17 Committees and 6 Special Interest Groups to review and revise the website content accurately for a year was a fabulous way to become more familiar with each Committee chair, and their respective leadership and strategic plan for their group. As a Director for AGPT, I met with JGPT and GeriNotes editorial board, and our Research Chair at CSM as they planned and developed their plans and strategy for the following year. Writing and encouraging others to write is always a thrill, especially for the individual who sees their submissions in print! As a member of the new Jersey APTA Chapter , the Fall Prevention Day in September is a treat to see statewide how we can facilitate education and awareness. My colleagues in New Jersey are interactive, and leadership capabilities are exciting.

    The Academy has exciting days ahead, and as member of the Nominating Committee I will continue to interact with our membership on social media, in person, at CSM, and at the CEEAA courses.  Seeking qualified leadership has been a passion since I first became involved with the Academy. I will strive to concect with members, cultivating expertise, involving those to move practice forward, encouraging advocacy, promoting a desire to collaborate, and encouraging a passion and willingness to be stretched as our next leaders. We all are on a continual learning and growing journey in life, and I hope to serve the AGPT and you, the members, in this exciting way.

    1.  How would you identify and mentor new leaders within the Academy?

    I believe that one of my strongest qualities is the ability to engage and encourage others to collaborate, create an enthusiastic environment, follow the contribution they can make to the Academy, and recognize the leadership skills they possess in this process.  Identifying new leaders is more than filing a slot on the ballot. It is encouraging potential leaders who carry a passion and drive to pursue their knowledge, proficiency,  desire to develop and expand their leadership and knowledge base with their colleagues.

    The word "mentor", according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, comes from the Greek   character in Homer's Odyssey,  a trusted friend of Odysseus was entrusted with education of his son. It is a personal picture of a mentor as an experienced, wise, and trusted advisor. How does one become a trusted and wise advisor? I had several mentors who took their job very seriously. One mentor encouraged me to take the GCS exam as an expansion of my practice. Another lead me to pursue my DPT after I had already had a Masters of Health Administration, after thinking I was going down a different path. I was mentored over several years by a friend to consider applying for a position as a Director on the AGPT board.

    Two ways come to mind immediately as we reach out to mentor fellow members. First, the AGPT offers a congratulatory breakfast the morning after the GCS installation ceremony. This is an opportunity for relationships to solidify and mentors to be identified as these candidates return to their practice setting. Secondly, it is an opportunity to expand and cultivate relationships. AGPT can initiate a leadership development team, facilitating a path forward for those interested in training, expanding their service, expertise, and knowledge of the leadership challenges facing AGPT. This can facilitate committee involvement, and assist members to see a way they may engage in service to the Academy.

    Mentoring involves observing, passion, drive, encouraging practice development, capitalizing on the mentees successes, and promoting confidence for reaching new challenges. There are numerous roles in AGPT in which members may step up in an area of interest. This is the beginning of recognizing our own leadership skills as you take the next step to your leadership development. I can lead you on your journey. Come talk to me, whatever the election results, and you can be on your way to your personal leadership challenge.

Balance and Falls SIG Chair   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.


Dr. Vincenzo is an Assistant Professor with the department of Physical Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where she is chair of the admissions and neurology curriculum committees, and teaches geriatrics, neurology, integumentary, and health promotion. She has a bachelor of science in Physical Therapy (PT), Master of Public Health (MPH) with a focus on community health education, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in kinesiology with a focus on older adults. Dr. Vincenzo also has a master's certificate in educational statistics and research methods, is a certified health education specialist (CHES), an APTA credentialed clinical instructor, and a board certified clinical specialist in geriatric physical therapy (GCS).

She has 20 years of clinical experience across the lifespan but has focused most of her clinical work in physical therapy of older adults, wound management, and post-neurologic insult across the continuum of care. Dr. Vincenzo is a fellow of the Arkansas Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program through the Health Resources and Services Administration. She has assisted in developing fall prevention efforts at the state and local levels as well as assisting with the development of a PACE program (Program or All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly).

She has over 30 peer-reviewed publications and presentations and speaks both locally and nationally on balance and fall prevention among older adults. Her research interests include developing, evaluating, and implementing clinically feasible assessments and interventions to decrease fall risk and mobility decline among older adults.

Dr. Vincenzo has been a member of the APTA for over 20 years and received two Adopt-a-Doc awards from the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy supporting her prior doctoral work. She is active in the AGPT; serving as the Arkansas State Advocate for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, a reviewer for geriatric awards, a reviewer for CSM submissions, and is active in the Balance and Falls Special Interest Group. Dr. Vincenzo would be honored to serve as Chair of the Balance and Falls Special Interest Group to promote balance and prevent falls and represent the role of physical therapists in this area nationally.

Balance and Falls SIG Vice Chair   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.

Physical therapist with an entry level degree from India, a Masters degree from the University of Indianapolis, 2.5 years experience. Primary work setting has been sub-acute, long term care and outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation. Area of interest and passion lies in balance and fall prevention in older adults in residential care as well as community-dwelling. CEEAA since October 2017, certified Stepping-on fall prevention program leader since May 2018, member of Utah fall coalition.

Balance and Falls SIG Secretary   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.

As secretary, I plan on continuing to maintain and promote the high-standard of communication and record keeping currently being performed by the SIG as well as promoting the frequency of communication between the executive committee and SIG members. Having served as clinical liaison for the last year and a half, I have seen the inner workings of the SIG and worked alongside the executive committee so I have a well-developed understanding of the role and all its responsibilities. I look forward to facilitating the growth of the SIG through the duties of the Secretary by working closely with the chair and vice-chair for the entirety of the elected term.

Bone Health SIG Chair   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.

Sherri would like to continue to promote healthy exercise for older adults in her role as Chair of the AGPT's Bone Health Special Interest Group.

Bone Health SIG Vice Chair   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.

I am retired from TWU-Houston School of Physical Therapy. I currently teach Pilates to Active Agers, especially to those with Bone Health issues. I also teach a Balance and Fall Prevention Class to Active Agers. I am an Educational Liason for American Bone Health. ÊI have been impressed with programming of the Bone Health SIG and look forward to helping with the SIG if elected.

Bone Health SIG Secretary   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.

It has been my pleasure to serve as secretary for the Bone Health SIG for the last few years. I have enjoyed getting to know more members of the group, and it has helped me understand the hard work that goes into the conferences and classes we all enjoy. I will be happy to serve an additional term if elected.

Bone Health SIG Nominating Committee   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.

I am an Associate Professor at University of the Incarnate Word. I have 18 years of experience as a Physical Therapist, and am a Geriatric Clinical Specialist (GCS). I have presented about bone health for CSM and the community. I am interested in continuing to be involved with the Bone Health SIG.

Health Promotion Wellness SIG Chair   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.

Gina Pariser, PT, PhD, LDE is a professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Bellarmine University where she teaches courses in exercise physiology, health promotion, and research. Dr. Pariser developed and directs a program for people with diabetes and mobility impairments called Active Steps for Diabetes. The program, held at a center that provides health care for medically undeserved populations, represents a unique model for physical therapy practice in health promotion and health disparities. Gina has been a member of the HPW SIG since 2007; served as Vice-Chair since 2016, and has contributed to and coordinated research blast casts for the SIG. Additional service to APTA includes: state component leadership in Louisianna and Kentucky and manuscript reviewer for Geriatric Physical Therapy and Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journals.

Cognitive Mental Health SIG Chair   Click to expand/collapse office and show candidates.


Jennifer Howanitz MPT, GCS has been an active member in the APTA since 1991.  She was awarded the Oncology Section Student Research Award in 1996 for research completed during undergraduate years while receiving a Physical Therapy degree. In 1996 she was selected to be the Program Chair for the Oncology Section of the APTA. She served in the capacity till 1999, organizing national programming for the Combined Sections Meeting of the APTA. During this time she was speaking nationally on topics related to oncology rehabilitation and broadening her clinical skills into Geriatric Physical Therapy. She became a member of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy in 2008. She has also been a member of the Research and Education sections of the APTA in addition to the the New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Physical Therapy Associations. Most recently she has been the Co-research liaison and a member of Operation Chain reaction for the Cognitive and Mental Health SIG of the Academy of Geriatrics. In her professional career she has been employed in leadership positions that have provided the opportunity to work extensively with dementia and cognitive impairment. In 2016 a project she was leading was selected to receive the National Great Minds Award for Excellence in Dementia Care from Leading Age and Integrace. The award recognized a Leading Age member organization for creating programs and services that are models of excellence and contribute significantly to the quality of life of individuals with dementia. This programatic work has lead to two publications in 2017 and 2018 in GeriNotes and Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation respectively. She earned her Geriatric Clinical Specialist Certification in 2017 and is pursuing her Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree from Arcadia University. She continues to lecture nationally and at the collegiate level on topics of geriatric rehabilitation.

Candidate Statement:
It is my honor to be a candidate for Chair of the Cognitive and Mental Health SIG of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy of the APTA. My love for geriatric physical therapy has encompassed the majority of my professional career. More specifically my passion for elders with cognitive impairment and neurocognitive disorders has fueled my desire to be active within the SIG over the past several years. I feel strongly that the Cognitive and Mental Health SIG is an organization of clinicians sharing their experiences and talents to enhance the care physical therapists provide.

My twenty-four years of experience as a clinician, leader, volunteer, and educator has allowed me to develop the skills necessary to provide innovation, structure, and continued growth to the SIG.

I have had the great opportunity to work with the current leadership of the SIG, which has been inspiring and demonstrated what commitment and hard work can accomplish. Thank you to everyone who has shaped my carrier and professional path. I appreciate the opportunity to serve as Chair of the SIG and humbly ask for your vote. Thank you.


Board certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist
Certified in Advanced Competency in Home Health
Christine Childers PT received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physiotherapy from the University of East Anglia, England.  In 1998 she moved, with her husband then serving in the USAF, to Utah where she became licensed to practice in the US. During their 8 years in SLC, Utah Chris practiced in the skilled nursing arena and in 2005 she gained her MS in Gerontology from the University of Utah the same year she became a board certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, which she has since renewed.  In 2006 she moved to California, again working in the skilled nursing arena until she transitioned into the academic setting in 2012.  Teaching full time, she maintains her clinical skills through home health visits.  Chris is passionate about the need for student Physical therapists and all clinicians to understand cognition and cognitive deficits and realize that they go well beyond the skilled nursing arena.   She is working closely with a local memory care unit to establish service learning opportunities for PT students to ensure they develop an early understanding of how to communicate and work with these clients.  Chris is currently on the board of the Allen Cognitive Network where she is working to promote the strong links between PT and OT for addressing the issues of cognition.  As a PT she is pleased to have presented twice at the ACN symposiums, as well as speaking and presenting at NEXT, the AOTA annual conference, and the ELC. 
Chris is currently an Assistant professor on the entry level DPT program at the University of St. Augustine, San Marcos campus where her primary teaching responsibilities are Wellness and Geriatrics. She has her MS in Gerontology from the University of Utah and is currently working on her PhD in Health psychology, with research into motivation and limiters to being physically active in the older adult.  She has worked in multiple roles for the FSBPT as an item writer and committee member, she recently completed a four-year term serving on the Geriatric specialty council of the ABPTS and continues to serve as a content expert for the Geriatric clinical specialist examination, as well as being the coordinator for the ten-year revision of the description of specialty practice.  Chris was one of the founding co-directors for the Advanced Competency in Home Health certification, a program she continues to support and direct.
Candidate Statement

I am honored to have been accepted as a candidate for the Chair of the Cognitive and Mental health special interest group of the Academy of Geriatric physical therapy.  It is only through the dedication of the Academy and the special interest groups that we can continue to promote high standards of teaching and clinical excellence in these specialist areas.  As the rapidly aging population continues to advance towards us we must ensure that students are suitably trained, and clinicians are comfortable with providing high quality interventions at an appropriate cognitive level for all clients.  I believe it is critical for the special interest groups to promote learning and understanding and promote inter professional links to ensure good team management of these clients.  I believe the CMH SIG is the perfect venue for us to advance this team concept.  I would be honored to lead the work of the group for the next 3 years and commend the work of the group to date.
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