The Highest Honor

November 8, 2022
Lisa Vanhoose

There’s no greater honor in the APTA than becoming a Catherine Worthingham Fellow. In August 2022, Lisa VanHoose, PT, PhD, MPH, FAPTA, was among those celebrated at an on-site award ceremony.

"Being recognized as a Fellow of the APTA is an amazing honor," Dr. VanHoose said. "It is also a symbol. It's not just my award. It is the award of the shoulders of people that came before me. It's the award of my friends and of my mentors. All these people who pour into me, I wish there was a way for me to put their names around my name because there are hundreds of people who are part of me."

She commemorated one of those people on June 16, 2022, when delivering the third Lynda D. Woodruff Lecture on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Physical Therapy.

"Lynda D. Woodruff was actually a mentor of mine," Dr. VanHoose said a few weeks before the event. "She had reached out and left me a voicemail a couple of days before she passed. And so to be able to be the third invited speaker for her lectureship is—I have no words."

"My goal is to not cry through the whole thing...Lynda Woodruff was a force to be reckoned with. She and another young man actually were part of the desegregation activities in her hometown in Virginia. I mean, she was a civil rights icon and she really led the way in the PT profession of us diversifying the workforce, opening up more doors for people who look like me and her. And so I’m really excited. They are big shoes. I will not fill them, but I will put my little feet in them."

Dr. VanHoose is only the sixth Black physical therapist in 100 years of the organization's history to become a Fellow of the APTA. Since 1995, she has investigated workforce diversification and health disparities. As an NIH-, PCORI- and industry-funded researcher, Dr. VanHoose investigates socioecological models of cancer-related side effects with an emphasis on minority and rural cancer survivorship.

Clinical Professor Lisa VanHoose joined the Department of Physical Therapy at Baylor University in January 2022. She is a board certified clinical specialist in oncologic physical therapy and was the founding president for APTA Oncology. She is also founder and executive director of the Ujima Institute and Foundation, which supports and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion.