History of Physical Therapy
1881 | 1894 | 1914
| 1917 | 1920 | 1942
| 1946 | 1956 | 1967
| 2007 | The Future of PT
1881 The Sargent School, the first school of modern
physical education/physical therapy opens in Boston.
1894 First US polio epidemic in Rutland, Vermont,
with 123 children infected, 50 becoming disabled, and 10 resulting in death.
1914 RW Lovett creates the “Vermont Plan” to treat
the state’s polio epidemic. His assistant Wilhelmie Wright, trains assistants
in her system of “manual muscle testing,”a
method for evaluating muscle function.
1917 When the U.S. declares war on Germany, the
Division of Special Hospitals and Physical Reconstruction is created within
the Army Medical Department.
1920 Organizational meeting for American Women’s
Physiotherapeutic Association held in New York. Mary McMillan elected first
President by ballot.
1942 Public Law 828 recognizes women PTs as wartime
members of the Army Medical Department, with “relative” rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
1946 American Physiotherapy Association changes
its name to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
1956 Salk vaccine for polio is introduced in massive
vaccination program. PTs play a crucial role in field testing the vaccine
prior to mass distribution, and in continued treatment of children afflicted
1967 The APTA creates policy to approve the training
of Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs).
2007 Currently 111 of the physical therapy programs
in the US are entry level doctorate programs.
Back to Top
back | next
Center on Human Development and Disability,
Clinical Training Unit, University of Washington,
Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195-7920 firstname.lastname@example.org