The AWPTA Becomes the American Physiotherapy Association.

The AWPTA had closed out its first year, which was a busy one. The members were planning for their first annual convention that summer. They also were seeking official recognition from the American Medical Association, were working to lay a strong foundation for the profession, and emphasizing the need to set firm standards. It was a good year in that several new graduate courses were announced.

The need for solid standards was confirmed when, in an effort to cut costs, the commanding officer of the army’s San Francisco-based General Hospital attempted to put a nurse with only two weeks’ “training” in charge of physical therapy treatments. The AWPTA stepped in with a telegraph from Mary McMillan in protest. The plan was withdrawn, and the association’s value as a political influencer was made clear.

However, there was concern. Membership had fallen dramatically to 182. At the start of 1922 ballots were mailed out, and McMillan was elected to a second term as president. More significantly, members were polled and voted to change the organization’s name to the American Physiotherapy Association, dropping the more restrictive word “women.” This allowed the association to be more inclusive and opened it up to a broader pool of potential members.

« Back to Timeline