Springfield College Department of Physical Therapy Chair Dr. Julia Chevan received the Ronnie Leavitt Award for Leadership in the Promotion of Social Responsibility in Physical Therapy at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) combined section meetings in Anaheim, Calif.
Established by the APTA Health Policy and Administration Section Global Health Special Interest Group, the Ronnie Leavitt Award recognizes a physical therapist whose contributions and actions have demonstrated leadership in the promotion of social responsibility, locally and/or globally, through service, scholarship, and/or advocacy.
Chevan started her career in physical therapy in 1985, and the themes of her 30 years of her work as a physical therapist have always included a focus on social justice and global health issues. In 2011, Chevan was a Fulbright scholar to Rwanda, where she taught and conducted research with her colleagues at Kigali Health Institute. That work spawned a collaboration with Health Volunteers Overseas, a non-profit organization dedicated to training health professionals globally, that resulted in a two-year USAID grant to provide continuing professional development programming to promote rehabilitation services throughout Rwanda.
Her global health work has included teaching and mentoring therapists in the United States, Armenia, Liberia, Rwanda, and Haiti. Her scholarly endeavors focus on the intersection of health services research and physical therapy. These endeavors have resulted in publications that have uncovered race and sex disparities among persons with lower extremity amputations in the United States, and studies of the expenditures and distribution of physical therapy services.