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By John Hobbs

USC faculty, alumni bring home a bounty of APTA awards

Honors include a Catherine Worthingham Fellowship and the John H.P. Maley Lecture Award.

It was a good year for the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the annual APTA Honors and Awards program, with four faculty members and one alumna walking away with awards and scholarships. Here’s a recap of the award winners.


Joe Godges

Joe Godges was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association, which is the APTA’s highest membership category. The Fellowship serves as an inspiration for all physical therapists to attain professional excellence, according to the APTA. In earning this Fellowship, the adjunct associate professor of clinical physical therapy becomes the 10th current USC faculty member to hold the distinction, giving the Division one of the nation’s highest concentrations of Catherine Worthingham Fellows. During physical therapy school, Godges became a student representative the the Texas chapter of the APTA, and the chapter president took him under her wing as a mentor. “I think she would be proud,” Godges said. “I am forever thankful for her support and for introducing me to the value of our professional organiation and the value of mentorship in physical therapy.” The most recent faculty member to earn the Fellowship was associate professor Stacey Dusing in 2020.     


Stacey Dusing

Sykes Family Chair in Pediatric Physical Therapy, Pediatric Health and Devlopment Stacey Dusing was recognized with the 28th annual John H.P.  Maley Lecture Award. The award is presented to an APTA member who has demonstrated clinical expertise and significant contributions to the physical therapy profession. As part of the award, Dusing will deliver the John H.P. Maley Lecture at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in 2023 in San Diego, Calif. “I am incredibly honored to have been nominated for this award,” Dusing said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for the coalescence of research and practice in the field of physical therapy when I give the lecture.”  In 2019, Professor of Physical Therapy Beth Fisher MS ’80, PhD ’00 was recognized with the John H.P. Maley Lecture Award. 


Beth Fisher

Beth Fisher earned the Helen J. Hislop Award for Outstanding Contributions to Professional Literature. “I am so proud to receive an award named in honor of Dr. Helen Hislop, the chair of the Division when I was in PT school and a true visionary, leader and trailblazer in the profession,” Fisher said. The award is meant to honor a physical therapist who has been actively engaged in writing and publishing professional literature pertaining to the physical therapy profession for at least 10 years. Over the past two and a half decades, Fisher has published 11 book chapters, five invited publications and 85 peer-reviewed articles, including the first showing beneficial brain changes in patients with Parkinson’s Disease as a result of physical exercise. The last award winner from USC was Professor Clinical Scholar-Physical Therapy Kornelia Kulig, who earned the distinction in 2015.


Carolee Winstein 

Carolee Winstein MS ’84 won the Jules M. Rothstein Golden Pen Award for Scientific Writing. The award recognizes published authors in the Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal whose writing excellence is demonstrated in a unique contribution or a series of profound articles that have broadened perspectives within a content area. “This award is especially significant at this point in my career because my very first scientific publication in Physical Therapy appeared in 1974, one year after I graduated from physical therapy school,” Winstein said. “This award, in some sense, represents a very special bookend to one of the most rewarding and enjoyable careers one could ever hope for.” The journal’s editorial board based the award on Winstein’s longterm support of the journal through submission of influential research articles that contribute to the profile of the journal, her past work on the editorial board, as well as contributions to the special series on movement science.


Nia Toomer-Mensah 

Nia Toomer-Mensah DPT ’06 earned the Minority Faculty Development Scholarship Award, which recognizes physical therapy students and faculty members pursuing professional doctoral degrees for their professional character and academic excellence. “This is an honor not only for me because of the work I do but an honor because of the shoulders I stand upon,” Mensah said. Reciting Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise, Mensah added “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.” Mensah currently serves as the assistant director of clinical education at Long Island University, a post she’s held since January 2019. She is also currently pursuing a PhD in kinesiology from Columbia University.