The award is meant to acknowledge exceptional service to the profession as well as APTA.
BY JOHN HOBBS MA ’14
September 19, 2020
The award is meant to acknowledge exceptional service and achievement by an individual to both the profession of physical therapy as well as the American Physical Therapy Association and its components.
“Royce Noland was a visionary committed to the evolution of physical therapy through leadership and advocacy,” said Associate Chair and Professor Chris Powers DPT ’96 in his nomination letter. “I strongly believe Cheryl epitomizes today’s visionary who has worked diligently to promote the growth and development of the profession of physical therapy. [She] is a change agent who has made a difference in the profession and will continue to do so in the future.”
For more than 20 years, Resnik has held leadership positions within the American Physical Therapy Association. She served two terms as president of the California Physical Therapy Association and was vice president for two APTA sections, the Section on Administration and later the Section on Administration and Health Policy.
She has been a fierce advocate for the physical therapy profession, helping to introduce legislation that allows direct access to physical therapists for Californians. She also lobbied for direct reimbursement and practice autonomy and was instrumental in getting the California Physical Therapy Act updated so that physical therapists could use the designation “doctor.”
Bringing Advocacy Into the Classroom
Resnik joined the USC faculty in 1994, after having held leadership positions at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. She was Associate Chair at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy from 2010 to 2019.
Her passion for advocacy followed her into the classroom, where she began incorporating political advocacy into the curriculum, starting with the push for direct access to physical therapists in California.
“Everyone thought it was so valuable to see how the process of advocating for their profession worked,” she said in an article that appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of inMotion. “The students decided I should keep it as a regular part of the class.”
Since then, she has led several cohorts of students to victory in the APTA Student Advocacy Challenge, where individuals earn points for visiting legislators, making phone calls or writing letters.
Resnik has also worked to effect change in the disadvantaged communities surrounding USC, launching USC Fit Families in 2005. The pro bono program helps underserved children, ages 7 to 17, and their families learn to prepare affordable, nutritious meals and shows them the importance of fun, family-friendly physical activity. More than that, the program serves to showcase the physical therapy profession for traditionally underrepresented minorities. The program has been continually funded by USC’s Good Neighbors Campaign.
No Grass Grows Under Her Feet
The Noland Award is only the most recent in a string of accolades. She was elected a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in the APTA in 2017, earned a James B. McKillip Leadership Award from the CPTA in 2013, an APTA Lucy Blair Service Award in 2008 and an Outstanding Service Award from the APTA Section on Health Policy and Administration in 2008 as well.
“No grass grows under the feet of this leader,” said Professor and Director Emeritus at University of California-San Francisco Nancy N. Byl in her nomination letter. “Cheryl Resnik is a kind, thoughtful, sensitive, compassionate, intuitive and strong mentor of others. She leads by example … because she believes in the profession of physical therapy and is commited to make this profession a leader in the health care delivery system.”