Have you ever been asked “what would you do differently if you knew then what you know now”? Does the answer “attend a professional meeting” come to mind?

The Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) is an annual event hosted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). CSM, generally a four day event, gives professional physical therapists and students alike an opportunity to learn about new developments, broaden their knowledge, network, learn about potential future employment, and more. Used as a powerful tool for professional and continuing education development, it is in increasing demand with its highest attendance in record of 12,654 participants for the 2012 CSM.

“Attending CSM will allow us to learn about new developments and interact with physical therapists throughout the country. The knowledge that we gain from the meeting will help us be better clinicians and provide better service for our patients,” commented Jordan Raya ’12.

“It is also a great opportunity to network and connect with alumni and learn about how Pacific has prepared them for the profession,” added Devin Leslie ’12.

Student physical therapists strive to do well academically and be active community members. When they are not studying for an exam or serving patients in the clinics, they are busy fundraising, volunteering their time, and planning community events. One of the main events hosted by the students is the annual 5k Tiger Dash and Cub Run which is held on campus each year to garner support for students to attend CSM and fundraise for student related activities.

Dr. Katie Graves ’03, Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education, did not attend CSM as a graduate student but was able to attend the meeting after she graduated. “By going on a regular basis, you get to know the people in your profession. You make connections with like-minded individuals, outside of your daily practice, and over time you find that are you working together to move the profession forward, improving the standard of care and helping in ways you never imagined,” said Dr. Graves.

With this in mind, Raya and Leslie, along with members of the Class of 2013, have created the Physical Therapy Decades of Giving program to help support students like them. The Decades of Giving program will reach out to alumni with the same last digit in their graduating year as the current class going to CSM. For example, if you are a member of the Class of 2003 and 1993, you will be receiving information about sponsoring a student in the Class of 2013.

“We feel attending CSM will be invaluable to our careers and hope to make this a tradition that when it comes time, we can help those students of the future class of 2023,” said Raya.

For more information on how you can support these students, contact Devin Leslie (d_leslie1@u.pacific.edu) and Jordan Raya (j_raya@u.pacific.edu).



By Dua Her '09
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