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PT Professor Earns APTA’s Highest Honor

Ethel Frese, DPT, professor of physical therapy at Saint Louis University, was recently named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association — the highest honor an individual can receive from the APTA. Frese was recognized for her accomplishment at the NEXT APTA Annual Conference and Expo in Boston, Massachusetts

The Catherine Worthingham Fellows of the American Physical Therapy Association (FAPTA) is the APTA’s highest membership category and serves as inspiration for all physical therapists to attain professional excellence. This honor is eligible to APTA physical therapist members who have demonstrated unwavering efforts to advance the physical therapy profession for more than 15 years prior to the time of nomination.

Frese said she was surprised to learn she had been chosen as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow and tried to cherish every minute of the recognition ceremony at the national conference.

“I felt so very humbled and honored to be named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow. It was certainly not something that I ever thought I would receive,” Frese said. “It was an amazing experience to be honored in front of so many colleagues. It is hard for me to describe the feeling of being respected and honored by colleagues whom I greatly respect – being respected by these colleagues is priceless.”

Tricia Austin, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training, said she was proud of Frese’s accomplishment and thought it was a well-deserved honor.

“In part, the honor recognizes those who have demonstrated unwavering efforts to advance the physical therapy profession,” Austin said. “For those of us who have the distinct pleasure of working with and learning from Dr. Ethel Frese, this most meritorious distinction is the fitting tribute to her numerous contributions. We are full of pride and congratulate Ethel.”

Catherine Worthingham, Ph.D., was a change agent who was effective, respectful and honest, and motivated others to make an impact within the physical therapy profession. She was also a visionary who demonstrated leadership across the domains of advocacy, education, practice and research.

Learn more about SLU’s program in physical therapy.

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of nearly 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.