Dr. Alan Jette Reprises His Mary McMillan Lecture at USC

Dr. JetteOctober 29, 2012

On October 24, in a talk at Hastings Auditorium on the USC Health Sciences Campus, Dr. Alan Jette, professor of health policy and management at the Boston University School of Public Health, discussed major changes in the physical therapy profession that he believes are needed to address a rapidly changing health care environment.

Dr. Jette is an internationally recognized expert in the measurement of function and disability. In his lecture, "Facing into the Storm," he noted that increasing longevity, declining fertility and the aging of baby boomers are triggering an unsustainable cost escalation in health care services at a time when 91 million people in the United States have inadequate or no health care coverage. To respond to this changing demographic, Dr. Jette said that the physical therapy profession should develop three critical "system skills."

First, he said, physical therapists need to become interested in data. Second, they must develop the ability to devise solutions for the systemic problems that data and experience uncover. Third, physical therapists along the continuum of research and clinical practice need to work together to determine which interventions best improve the health of individuals and communities—for which conditions, under which circumstances, and at what cost.

The talk, presented by the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, reprised Dr. Jette's Mary McMillan Lecture—the highest honor of the physical therapy profession—in June at the Annual Conference of the American Physical Therapy Association.

“Alan Jette is a true leader of the physical therapy profession,” said Dr. James Gordon, associate dean and chair of the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. “He has a compelling vision of current and future societal needs, and he challenges us to move in directions that will address those needs."

Dr. Jette is director of the Health and Disability Research Institute at Boston University, research director of the New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center at the university's medical center, director of the Boston Rehabilitation Outcomes Measurement Center, and associate director of the Boston Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. He chaired the panel that produced "The Future of Disability in America," published in 2007 by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies to update the institute's landmark 1991 report, "Disability in America."

Click to read the full text of Dr. Jette's talk