Bay State College Alumni and Professor Establish PTA Special Interest Group

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Official American Physical Therapy Association Group the First of Its Kind in Massachusetts

This year, three graduates of the Bay State College Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program – Colleen Donovan, Aaron Canoni and Maureen Fisher – alongside professor Carolyn Cwalinksi, held the first official meeting of the PTA Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts (APTA of MA) at Bay State College. The group is the first of its kind in Massachusetts, and will join the ranks of over 30 other PTA SIGs nationwide.

PTA and PT members from across the state will have the opportunity to network and socialize, make connections with potential mentors, receive relevant information regarding their scope and practice, and develop the role of PTAs through continued education and open discussion. Members will also have access to exciting leadership opportunities in a professional organization. The primary goal of the organization, however, is to give PTA professionals representation in the field, and a place to voice concerns, comments and ideas.

The pioneers behind the project all have roots in Bay State College and developed the group from its infant stages. In May of 2016, they petitioned their idea to the APTA of MA Board of Directors, then developed and submitted group bylaws for review. During their first official meeting, the 15 participants voted for SIG board positions, approved the SIG bylaws, and developed goals and strategies for the group moving forward. These included the increased membership of PTA professionals, ultimately giving them a bigger voice in the field, and the advocacy for PTA specific topics and concerns. After the vote, the bylaws were officially approved and the following members (all Bay State College graduates) were voted into board positions:

  • Colleen Donovan (’12), PTA, CSCS, Chair
  • Aaron Canoni (’12), PTA, Vice Chair
  • Gina Berrettoni (’11), PTA, Treasurer
  • Maureen Fisher (’15), PTA, Secretary

In November 2016, the PTA SIG attended the APTA of MA annual conference and hosted a social event to celebrate their formation. The first educational program for the group is scheduled for January 19, 2017 at Bay State College from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. It will be focused on the PTA scope of practice and the PT-PTA relationship.

“PTAs have lacked representation within the APTA of MA for a very long time, and this new group will provide them with a much needed voice,” said Dr. Carolyn Cwalinksi. “We now have Bay State College alumni in positions at both the national and state level. The changes we are making are significant for PTAs across Massachusetts, and I am proud we are leading the way!”

At the national level, Bay State College grad Aaron Canoni (’12) is the PTA Caucus Representative. Before his involvement, 46 states had a PTA representative, excluding Massachusetts. At the state level, Bay State College has a number of graduates in the PTA Assembly of Representatives. In the Southern Metro district, Colleen Donovan (’12) is the PTA representative and Kaitlin Kolesnikoff (’17) is the student representative. In the Northern Metro district, Jaclyn Masucci (’17) recently replaced Bay State College graduate John Bellino (’17) as the PTA student representative after he left for active military duty.

For additional information regarding the APTA of MA PTA SIG, please click here.

To become a member of the APTA of MA PTA SIG, please click here.

About Bay State College: Bay State College was founded in 1946. Bay State College is a private college whose mission is to prepare students for successful careers and global citizenship through academic rigor and individualized support. Bay State College accomplishes this mission by providing a learning environment where teaching excellence and student services are blended to support the uniqueness of individual students, preparing them to achieve their full potential as ethically and socially aware citizens. For several years, Bay State College was named to the Presidents’ Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Bay State College has campuses in Boston and Taunton, MA and approximately 1,100 students enrolled in day, evening and online divisions. Visit baystate.edu for more information.


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