The purpose of the APTA Emerging Leader Award is to identify and honor one physical therapist or physical therapist assistant "emerging leader" from each APTA component, a person who has demonstrated extraordinary service early in his or her physical therapy career. The individual should have made exceptional overall accomplishments and contributions to APTA, the component, and the physical therapy profession to advance APTA's vision.



  1. Current member of APTA for at least 5 years.
  2. From formal graduation to no more than 10 years as a licensed PT or PTA.
  3. Current or prior service on 1 or more appointed or elected groups at the component or national level.
  4. Current or prior service in 1 or more appointed or elected positions at the component or national level.

Criteria for Selection

Each year, one "emerging leader" will be recognized from each component, provided the component has submitted a nomination using the procedures outlined below. The following information must be provided in the submission letter:

  1. An outline of the individual member's contributions.
  2. Examples of demonstrated service to the Association, component, and/or profession.
  3. Explanation of potential for future contributions to physical therapy.
  4. Examples of ways the person advanced activities at the component level.

The nomination should include a description of the outcome of the contributions and how it aligns with the component or APTA goals, mission, and vision.


Procedure for Nomination

  1. The component president or component awards committee chair is responsible for submitting the name and supporting information to: APTA.
  2. The materials submitted for the nomination shall include the following:
      • A detailed nomination letter outlining specified areas.
      • A copy of the nominee's Curriculum Vitae or resume.
      • An electronic photo of the nominee (ideally jpeg format, but other formats will be considered).

Notification of Award

  1. The Component Services Department will notify emerging leaders of the recognition in July of each year. Recognized individuals will receive a congratulatory letter and certificate.
  2. Emerging leaders are typically recognized in an upcoming issue of PT in Motion Magazine as part of a short overall descriptive article that will include a listing (name, affiliation, city, state and nominating component) and may include photos.

Past Recipients

  • 2017 - Evan Papa, PT, DPT, PhD