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Alexa Posny Internship

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has been developing a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program committed to meeting the needs of rural communities across central and northern Wisconsin. The program will begin accepting applicants in summer 2021 for the inaugural cohort beginning May 2022.  

As part of our mission and vision, we recognize that advocacy for rural communities and their unique rehabilitation needs is a value-added opportunity to students in or exploring to be part of the profession.

About the Internship

A member of our Pointer community, Alexa Posny, has established an internship opportunity for a physical therapy student to learn about the role of advocacy and political engagement as one aspect of professional life. This internship provides for a student who is completing or completed his or her pre-physical therapy undergraduate work at UW-Stevens Point to intern with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., for a semester. The intern will be part of the Legislative Affairs unit at APTA and will work directly with staff to execute the strategic plans of the APTA, working on behalf of members and the larger community to assure access to physical therapy.

About the APTA

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) engages and empowers its members to be a leading voice in the health care industry, positive influencers of the physical therapy profession, and a strong collective force for improving the human experience. The association advocates for positive change, raises public awareness, advances evidence-based practice, supports the continued growth of our members, and develops the next generation.

UWSP has a unique opportunity to partner with the APTA to establish an annual six-month internship opportunity for a current or future UWSP student accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program to engage in an advocacy role alongside an APTA professional at the APTA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. This is an exciting way to help shape student understanding of PT practice as more than the 1:1 relationship with the therapist and client. It also provides a future PT professional early exposure to the APTA and the important role the association plays in advancing physical therapy practice, as well as a chance to advocate on behalf of the profession and patients in rural Wisconsin with representatives on Capitol Hill.

Application Process

A competitive application process will be established by UWSP and the APTA to select the intern, and each intern will be sponsored by a local member of the APTA throughout their experience. The specific focus may shift from year to year, dependent on the current strategic focus of the APTA. The intern experience may involve such things as shadowing lobbyists, writing perspectives, and helping shape the focus of front-line service providers. Each intern will be required to complete a capstone and continue their advocacy efforts at the local level with APTA-Wisconsin upon completion of the internship at the APTA national headquarters.

To apply for the Posny Internship, please submit the following to dpt@uwsp.edu.  

  1. A letter of application to the internship. The letter should be no more than 2 pages (12-point font, 1” margins) and addressed to the selection committee. The letter should outline:
    1. Why you have chosen physical therapy as a career choice;
    2. Why you believe learning about advocacy will help you in your career;
    3. One experience you have had advocating for those without a voice and what you learned from that experience.  
  2. The selection committee will also have access to your DPT program application available through PTCAS. No additional academic or reference information is required based as that information will be used to consider your application.

The student who is selected will enroll in a 3 credit course that will provide support for the internship. The scholarship will provide tuition for that course. The student will be assigned a mentor from the core DPT faculty to support and guide them through the internship.   

Internship Outcomes

The student’s advocacy work doesn’t end when the Posny Internship concludes. The student will continue to be a member of the association and advocate at the state level with the Wisconsin Chapter of the APTA. The student will also bring back important lessons learned to share with classmates and faculty and participate in planned local and regional advocacy efforts including the APTA-WI sponsored Legislative Day.

Advocacy is a transferable skill that can be applied to other areas of work as a professional learning to advocate on behalf of patients with insurance companies, other health care providers and a local community. Our belief is that this partnership may chart leadership growth for a whole new generation of physical therapists committed to advancing practice through advocacy.

Accreditation Information

* Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone: 703-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states. 

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist education program from CAPTE. On November 22, 2021, the program submitted an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the professional phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in professional courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation. (1)
(1) CAPTE Rules of Practice and Procedure 7.8 (f) Page 51 December 2018