PTDOS 2016: The Day and Beyond

Efosa and Josh discuss results from 2015 and what is new for the PT Day of Service 2016


In 2015, we started a question with two simple words: what if?

Just a few months later, those two words led to the development of an international movement that united our profession in acts of service. On October 17, 2015, we held our first PT Day of Service.

The response of the PT community and the results from last year were astounding. Together, we gathered nearly 4,000 participants from all 50 states in the United States and 28 countries across the globe. Countless new service projects were started on that day, including some that have now become sustainable: a group of students who built a wheelchair ramp for PTDOS last year have found a greater need and regularly build more ramps in their community, providing greater accessibility for all; an aquatics class that started as a one time event had a big turnout and has now became a recurring class for community members. These examples have proven that one small act can set us on a trajectory of positive change, and positive changes across the world can help us transform society.

As we embark on PT Day of Service 2016, our focus is on the day and beyond. We are excited to introduce three new areas of innovation for 2016 that will allow PT Day of Service and all of its participants to effectuate the most positive change:

  1. Improved service project coordination. Ambassadors will be asked to start a project on VolunteerSpot, making it easier to recruit participants and coordinate efforts for the day. We have also introduced an Ambassadors Facebook group to facilitate networking and discussion amongst those leading service projects.

  2. More resources for sustainable and responsible service. Keep an eye out for our new social media feature, Sustainable Sundays. We also have an entire team dedicated to supporting ambassadors and promoting positive and empowering engagement with each community we touch.

  3. Three new pathways for donations and sponsorships that will exponentially increase our impact. All proceeds from PTDOS will be directed towards the below three initiatives, as well as the Non Profit organization Move Together Inc, which will be handling the operations and management of the actions with and dedications to said programs. Each initiative below will be featured in its own blog post in the coming months. Proceeds will:

    1.  Improve Communities Locally: our Pro Bono Incubator will help facilitate innovation in underserved areas across the country.
    2.  Better Communities Abroad: we are working with the Quique Ceron foundation to enhance the quality and sustainability of services delivered in Quique's clinic in Esquipulas, Guatemala.
    3.  Transform Society through Movement: we partnered with StandUp Kids, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to getting standing desks for kids at every elementary school across the country.  

We are also incredibly excited to be working with a passionate and talented team of 21 volunteers this year. Their efforts will help make it possible for our profession to reach further and deeper into communities. We thank them for all they are doing to improve the coordination and execution of the day.

PT Day of Service represents the best of who we are as a profession and demonstrates the impact we can have when we unite in common effort.

Join us today by pledging as a participant, ambassador, and/or sponsor. Let's show the world that compassion can be manifested into action as we come together to create positive ripples across the world.

-Efosa and Josh

Program of the Day: University of North Dakota

The PTDOS team is excited to announce our next Program of the Day: University of North Dakota! Check out their plans for October 17th, and lookout for social media updates all day on Wednesday, Oct. 14th, from University of North Dakota DPT students under the #PTDOS.  

Written by: Anthony Charbonneau, SPT, CSCS, EP-C

The Department of Physical Therapy at the University of North Dakota is thrilled to have the amazing opportunity to participate in PT Day of Service 2015.  It has given the physical therapy community the unique chance to unite and contribute to something that will impact the lives of all involved.  The purpose of PT Day of Service is truly inspiring, and UND PT is looking forward to being a part of something that has an effect on such a grandiose scale.

There are 5 core benchmarks that characterize UND PT’s commitment to preparing its students to become quality, reputable physical therapists.  Of these, there are 2 that focus on our dedication for the advocacy of service to the community and for health and wellness at the societal level.  This is demonstrated through UND PT’s Pro Bono Clinic, a clinic provided by the 3rd year students to those who seek care they cannot find elsewhere, and UND PT takes great pride in this service.  In order to continue our commitment to serving the community, UND PT has recruited the selfless support of 1st year, 3rd year, and pre-PT undergraduate students who will be volunteering at Valley Eldercare Center.

On October 17th, our main focus is to make new friends and form memorable bonds with the residents at Valley Eldercare Center.  We will be playing Bingo with fun prizes, help with cleaning the courtyards, and offer a listening ear for some good, simple conversation with the residents.  Sometimes all these individuals want is someone to share their story with, and we look forward to learning about their life’s journey!  We hope by the end of the day we will have met someone we can call a friend; that is our goal.

Something that has stuck with me personally as a physical therapy student at UND were my interactions with other students from physical therapy schools across the nation at National Student Conclave in Louisville, KY in 2013.  Many if not all of the students whom I conversed with had little to no idea that North Dakota even had a physical therapy program, let alone one that is continually ranked with the top physical therapy schools in the nation.  Well, here we are, and we are ready to make an impact on October 17th and for many years to come!

Company Spotlight: Tx:Team

We are pleased to announce our first Company Spotlight on the #PTDOS blog. This week's company spotlight is on Tx: Team. Tx:Team has #PTDOS participants in 6 states with 16 different teams working in their community to "give back." Learn more below!

Written by: Ann Hightower

Why are you passionate about service?

It is always remarkable to me the incredible servant hearts that we have working for us at Tx:Team.  All our associates, whether they be clinicians or support staff, are dedicated to the work we do with our patients in all our facilities throughout all our states.

When we started making plans in the beginning of the year for a platform to increase the energy of our company and associates, community service was brought up many times throughout our conversations.  It was wonderful to see that no matter where our associates lived, besides the work they do in our clinics, they wanted to do more in the communities.  Hearing this feedback ignited our leadership team as well to work together with a newly created Voltage Task Force to unveil our first annual Tx:Team Day of Service.

Tell us your favorite service memory. 

A great Tx:Team service memory is not so much a “doing” as it is a “giving” moment.  For the past ten years, we have contributed to Hospice of Frederick County in Frederick, MD.  Hospice is an amazing group of people who are dedicated to providing the best for those in the advanced stages of a life-limiting illness.  In supporting their cause, we are so thankful to know that not only those who need this type of care are receiving it, but also the families are taken care of.  Through Tx:Team donations, we helped support the Kline Hospice House, a home designed with comfort, family, and relaxation in mind as well as Camp Jamie, an annual weekend experience for grieving children designed with all volunteers to provide companionship, support, friendship and attention for each child ages first grade to 14 years old.

With our plans unfolding for participating in our first Tx:Team Day of Service and PTDOS, we are looking forward to making many new memories for years to come!

How has servant leadership impacted your professional career?

The best way to answer this question might be said ideally through our Vision Statement and reaches much farther into our communities than merely the work we do with our patients. 

We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. By harnessing the collective power of our therapists’ hands and minds to heal, we create an environment of health, wellness, and vitality for our patients, our associates, our partners, and our communities.
— Tx:Team Vision Statement

What are your service plans for PTDOS?

We purposely planned our first annual Tx:Team Day of Service to coincide with PTDOS.  After learning about the organization and their efforts, it was a perfect fit to work together toward the common goal of giving back to our communities.

Throughout all six states and sixteen teams, Tx:Team associates began donation campaigns October 1st.  We have some teams donating to the local homeless shelter, some collecting for Thanksgiving food drives for their local food banks, and then others campaigning for items needed at the Kline Hospice House.

Donations have already started pouring in and we are eager as a leadership team to hear our associates’ stories, see their pictures, and share in their excitement for giving.

Program of the Day: Florida International University

Written by: Harold Castedo-Garcia, SPT

PT Day of Service has created an amazing opportunity for the entire physical therapy to unite for one day with one goal: Impact the world for the better. With the help of all our faculty, students, and key members of the community, we, at FIU Physical Therapy have come together to deliver our contribution. Following our program mission to contribute to the health of our community, we will be volunteering at the Miami Kids Triathlon.

Working with a young population will allow us to have an exponentially positive effect as we encourage the youth of Miami to continue to engage in healthy lifestyles, and with over 30 participants, we plan on making this event nothing short of awesome. 

On a larger scale, our inspiration to join PT Day Of Service is to be a part of a widespread humanitarian effort that is coordinating to improve the lives of people worldwide at least for a day. However, as excitement continues to buzz amongst our peers, it is beyond doubt that October 17th will have a resonating effect in our global community.

FIU DPT Students, Class of 2017

FIU DPT Students, Class of 2017



Program of the Day: University of Alabama at Birmingham

The PTDOS team is proud to introduce our Program of the Day: University of Alabama at Birmingham! Check out what they have planned for October 17th, below, and lookout for social media updates all day on Wednesday, Sep 30th, from University of Alabama at Birmingham DPT students under the #PTDOS. 

Written by Brandon Pendegraft, SPT

UAB’s Department of Physical Therapy is so excited about our involvement in PTDOS!  Service is a pillar of our program and its importance in our profession is stressed to the students through service-learning opportunities that our professors have built in to our curriculum.  The UAB faculty strives to teach us how to be leaders and innovators in the provision of exemplary clinical service, application of new discoveries, and service to address the needs of the individuals and society.  We have been so fortunate as a department to be able to plan and coordinate events for this day in Birmingham and so excited to give back to our community.  

A major goal of our planning committee was to unite students, faculty, and clinicians around the state of Alabama.  We also saw this as a unique opportunity to serve side-by-side with students from different schools and clinicians from all backgrounds.  To do this, we sought out opportunities of a wide variety and made strong efforts to get the word out around the state.  We have been overwhelmed by the excitement to get involved.  To date, we have students from 3 AL DPT programs as well as several faculty and clinicians signed up to serve in Birmingham, totaling to over 70 participants!  We can’t wait to continue growing this number and the excitement.

For PTDOS, UAB will continue to serve at Equal Access Birmingham (a UAB student-led medical clinic) and as a part of the I Can Do It, You Can Do It Program.  We have also found opportunities to modify a home through adding a wheelchair ramp, build tricycles with AMBUCS, serve at Ronald McDonald House, Red Barn, FairHaven Community Center, COA Weight Management Clinic, and help in the build of a fully ADA compliant UAB Habitat House. 

We are so excited about giving back and using our unique skills as Physical Therapists on PTDOS.  We have no clue the impact that we can make through small actions and gifts of service that we have planned, but we cannot wait to share our stories and here about the successes all around the world. 

Learn more about what the University of Alabama at Birmingham students and faculty are doing via on PTDOS: