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“We hold the power within our heads, hands, and hearts to be whatever we dream. The horizons have no limits for us as physical therapists.”

-Geneva R. Johnson, PT, PhD, FAPTA

The Annual Geneva R. Johnson Forum on Innovations in Physical Therapy Education

The Geneva R. Johnson Forum is held annually in conjunction with the Educational Leadership Conference and has served as the opening program since 2014. The forum represents a “think tank”, where multiple stakeholders are brought together in a safe environment to incubate ideas, encourage dialogue and intellectual discourse, and set the stage for action to positively impact the future of PT education.

The Forum is presented annually with the goals of:

  • Creating a safe environment for key stakeholders in physical therapy education to discuss the infinite possibilities of the future, rather than focusing on problems.

  • Encouraging vision, innovation, creativity, and provocative new ideas that can positively influence the future of physical therapy education.

  • Challenging educators to proactively move physical therapy education forward instead of reacting to societal and professional needs.

It was named in honor of Dr. Geneva R. Johnson, who for over 60 years, served as an extraordinary leader in physical therapy education. She was a true visionary and inspired those around her to focus on the possibilities rather than on barriers. Dr Johnson led the way with countless innovations in physical therapy education, including developing the first PT graduate program. She is a fitting namesake for the ongoing discussion of innovation in physical therapy education.

Dr Johnson began her physical therapy career in the United States (US) Army. As she developed her clinical skills, she also developed a profound sense of the importance of education for practice. She used her skill and vision to found the first graduate program in physical therapy at Case Western Reserve University in 1960. In her subsequent years as a physical therapy educator, she took the lead in residency education, interprofessional education, interprofessional practice, advocacy, and mentorship. Thousands of students, faculty, and clinicians have benefited from Dr. Johnson’s insightful tutelage and her continual encouragement. She tirelessly focused on educating and inspiring educational leaders who can clearly articulate a vision for our professional future and who are willing to take risks to achieve that vision.

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