9th Annual Geneva R. Johnson Forum on Innovations in Physical Therapy Education
“Are We Really Educating PTs to Transform Society?”

Friday, October 28, 2022, 8am to Noon   ●   ELC 2022   ●   Milwaukee, WI

Keynote: Social Responsibilities of a Profession from a Public Health Lens
Presented By: Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH

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Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH

GJR Forum Keynote Speaker

Dr. Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH, currently serves as the Director of the Program for Pet Health Equity at the University of Tennessee. He is the founder of AlignCare Health, a One Health interprofessional system to improve access to veterinary care, especially for families with limited means. He earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Tuskegee University. He also earned a Master of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University.

Previously, Dr. Blackwell served as:

  • Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee

  • Chief of Staff, Office of the Surgeon General of the United States

  • Deputy Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration

  • Chief Veterinary Officer, U.S. Public Health Service


During 23 years on active duty with the U.S. Public Health Service, he achieved the rank of Assistant Surgeon General and Rear Admiral. Dr. Blackwell has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and two Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medals. He is the 2020 recipient of the Avanzino Leadership Award and the 2021 recipient of the Senator John Melcher, DVM Leadership in Public Policy Award.

IGNITE talks:

  • Karla Bell, PT, DPT, GCS - Associate Professor, Co-Director of Clinical Education, Department of Physical Therapy, Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Science, Thomas Jefferson University

  • Moyo B. Tillery PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT - Director of Clinical Education, Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy Education, Elon University

  • Kim Varnado, PT, DPT, DHSc, OCS, FAAOMPT - Program Director, Associate Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, College of Saint Mary

GRJ Forum Panel Discussion



  • Caroline Goulet, PT, PhD, FNAP, Associate Provost - Health Professions, Associate Professor, School of Physical Therapy Program, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas


  • Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPHDirector of the Program for Pet Health Equity, University of Tennessee.  founder of AlignCare Health

  • Roger Herr, PT, MPA - APTA President, Vice President of Visiting Nurse Society in New York

  • Rupal M. Patel, PT, PhD - Associate Professor, School of Physical Therapy, Texas Woman's University

  • Wendy Rheault, PT, PhD - FASAHP, FNAP, DipACLM, President and CEO, Professor of Physical Therapy, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science