American Physical Therapy Association


About the Organization:

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is a national professional organization representing more than 66,000 members. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapy practice, research, and education.

The mission of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the principal membership organization representing and promoting the profession of physical therapy, is to further the profession’s role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of movement dysfunctions and the enhancement of the physical health and functional abilities of members of the public.

Goal I: Participate actively in shaping the current and emerging health care environment to promote the development of high-quality, cost-effective health care services and to further the recognition of and support for the profession of physical therapy and the role of physical therapists.

Goal II: Stimulate innovation in the practice of physical therapy that supports physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

Goal III: Quantify and interpret the demand for, the need for, and the access to physical therapist services.

Goal IV: Stimulate innovation in physical therapy education and professional development at all levels to ensure currency with the changing environments in health care and education and with student and professional needs.

Goal V: Stimulate research to further the science of physical therapy, to influence current and emerging health care trends, and to advance the profession.

Goal VI: Increase APTA’s responsiveness to the needs of current and future members.

Contact Info:


Resources on Aging and Physical Activity:

The Active Aging Toolkit: Promoting Physical Activity in Older Adults for Healthcare Providers
The Active Aging Toolkit has been developed as a collaborate effort of the Blueprint, professional organizations, and private industry as an evidence-based and an easy-to-instruct program for healthcare providers to educate their patients on increasing phjysical activity.

For the Young at Heart: Exercise Tips for Seniors
Stay fit by walking, gardening, playing golf, jogging, or other activities you enjoy.

Fitness: A Way of Life
Brochure describes what it means to be “fit.”

American Physical Therapy Association Responds to the National Blueprint Initiative

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), through a number of its programmatic activities, continues to be responsive to issues surrounding the elderly. The following highlights the activities most relevant to the Blueprint on Aging.

Of primary importance are the questions dealing with an aging population that are included in the American Physical Therapy Association’s Clinical Research Agenda, published in May 2000. Four of the 72 questions comprising the Agenda deal with topics pertinent to the Blueprint. These questions are concerned with the effects of age, exercise, environmental barriers, and the relationship between exercise and pharmacological interventions on patient outcomes. The Agenda is the incentive behind a number of clinical studies. Over time, it will result in the expansion of the body of knowledge of the role of physical therapy among an aging population.

In addition to those research activities currently underway; the Association devotes additional efforts to issues on aging. The APTA House of Delegates, the Association’s governing body has passed a Position, which is an approved opinion or judgment which APTA members are expected to support, on physical therapy for older adults. The position contains 8 separate points to promote a health care delivery system that provides services required by the expanding older adult segment of the American population.

Finally, a substantial segment of the APTA membership concentrate their practice on the aging population. First, APTA has created a Geriatrics Section, the primary concern of which is providing quality care to a geriatric population. A total of 4,361 APTA members are currently members of the Section. Second, APTA oversees a clinical specialization process that promotes, among other things, the highest possible level of care for individuals seeking physical therapy services within a specialty area. A specialization in Geriatric Physical Therapy was established in 1989. Currently, 516 physical therapists have been certified as geriatric clinical specialists.

APTA continues to concentrate on the needs of the older population for health, wellness, and fitness. As the number of older adults increases, APTA’s commitment to this population will keep pace.