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Physical Therapy Professor Receives National Service Award

07/11/2019

Ethel Frese, DPT, professor of physical therapy in Saint Louis University’s Program in Physical Therapy, has received the Lucy Blair Service Award from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). 

Ethel Frese, DPT, at APTA Awards Ceremony

Ethel Frese, DPT, receives the Lucy Blair Service Award from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) in June. Submitted photo

The Lucy Blair Service Award honors physical therapist members or physical therapist life members whose contributions to APTA are of exceptional quality. The Lucy Blair Award honors the legacy of Lucy Blair, a pioneering physical therapist and member of the APTA. The award is given to those with exceptional contributions, including leadership, and service to the association.

Frese received the award on Thursday, June 13, at the association’s NEXT 2019 Conference and Exposition in Chicago. 

 “This is an honor that I never expected to receive,” Frese said. “I have been blessed beyond imagination by the many people that I have met because of the service opportunities that I have had in my professional career.  I will always treasure the experiences and the relationships that I have had over the years that have helped me grow into a better person both personally and professionally.  For this I will always be grateful.”

Frese said she believed her most memorable contribution to the profession of physical therapy was serving as president of the APTA’s Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section. Becoming a Board Certified clinical specialist in Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy in 1995 is one of her proudest achievements.

In addition to serving as president of the APTA’s Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section for six years, Frese also served on the section’s nomination committee for two years and as section treasurer for five years. She has been a member of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties’ Specialty Council of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy.

She currently serves as a member of the Candidacy Review Council for the American Board of Physical Therapy’s Residency and Fellowship Education group, and has spent nine years as a member of the board’s Residency and Fellowship Education Credentialing Services Committee.

A Board Certified cardiovascular and pulmonary clinical specialist, Frese researches student issues including mentoring and stress, as well as the development and description of specialty practice for cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy. She received her doctorate in physical therapy from SLU’s Doisy College of Health Sciences, and is a member of several professional organizations and associations in addition to the APTA.


Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.