Strategic Vision

To transform health care by creating the future in physical therapy.

Advances in science and technology, especially in the areas of communications and information processing, are transforming society and igniting innovations aimed at improving human health. Yet, health care provision and education models have failed to adequately deliver these scientific advances equitably across all populations.

The USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy is committed to transforming how we prepare the next generation of physical therapists to deliver the highest level of care to society. With our longstanding leadership in the field, we are uniquely positioned to develop innovative solutions that integrate our strengths in research, education and clinical service. By leveraging these assets, we can create new value for students, patients and people everywhere.

Download a PDF of our strategic vision


  1. Transform Education to Meet Societal Needs
  2. Develop Leaders for a Rapidly Changing Health Care System
  3. Integrate Research and Practice to Advance Science and Human Health
  4. Influence Local and Global Communities of Practice

Key Themes


Human health and quality of life across the lifespan depend on the ability to move skillfully and efficiently. We strive to advance the scientific understanding of the extraordinarily complex phenomenon of human movement and to develop innovative movement-related interventions that enhance functional capacity and improve performance.


Advances in technology have transformed life in the 21st century, profoundly impacting how we access information, interact with our communities, make discoveries and meet the fundamental needs of society. We embrace the use of technology in education, research and practice. By developing and integrating new technologies we leverage the power of these innovations to better meet the needs of students, patients, the profession and society.


In health care practice and research, emphasis on value has shifted the paradigm from payment for services to payment for outcomes while providing an excellent patient experience. This requires innovative delivery models that redefine the role of physical therapists. Further, innovative educational models provide value by preparing graduates to be expert practitioners in a dynamic health care environment.


Professional practice requires the translation of theory into action. The ultimate purpose of our activities in research and education is to improve practice. We seek new knowledge and understanding of complex biological and psychosocial mechanisms. We translate knowledge into advances in practice. We disseminate these advances to local and global communities of practice.

The Individual

We are a learning community; we use data to improve the quality of what we do. As we embrace technologies that allow us to analyze vast data sets and to connect with social communities, we recognize that health care and education are most effective, and most humane, when centered on the individual patient or student. To excel as a learning community, we must connect individuals to one another and to the world.


Transforming Education to Meet Societal Needs

  • Initiate the process of transforming DPT education by developing a hybrid (online/on-campus) DPT program using innovative curricular approaches and enhancing access to professional education.
  • Broaden the scope of our educational offerings and research enterprise by developing a new concentration in Sports Science for the MS in Biokinesiology.
  • Build a research focus on educational methodology in order to improve our programs and contribute to professional education.

Developing Leaders for a Rapidly Changing Health Care System

  • Increase the value of our educational programs by raising funds to offset student costs through scholarships, fellowships and grants.
  • Institute a faculty development program that provides mentorship, training and support to all levels of faculty.
  • Promote clinical excellence through progressive, evidence-based post-professional education offerings, including residency and fellowship programs.
  • Positively impact population health by redefining the role of the physical therapist as an essential primary care provider across the lifespan.
  • Enhance the sustainability of physical therapy science by recruiting more physical therapists into the PhD in Biokinesiology program.

Integrating Research and Practice to Advance Science and Human Health

  • Develop collaborations inside and outside of USC to create interdisciplinary centers of excellence that will address major societal health problems, including:
    • Chronic noncommunicable diseases (especially cancer, obesity, diabetes, developmental disability and neurodegenerative disease)
    • Long-term disability resulting from both adult and perinatal stroke
    • Chronic pain leading to disability and opioid abuse
  • Create a division-wide research center with a focus on the study of movement and exercise to promote health and treat disease.

Influencing Local and Global Communities of Practice

  • Build a more diverse community of faculty, students and staff, and create an educational and work environment that is tolerant and inclusive.
  • Improve access to high-quality physical therapy at USC and in the community by developing sustainable interprofessional, patient-centered clinical services.
  • Expand global reach by developing post-professional education offerings for international markets.