by Yolanda Hagberg
Fort Sam Houston Public Information Office
4/14/2006 - FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (AFPN) -- Two Air Force officers received diplomas and were conferred doctoral degrees in physical therapy during a graduation ceremony here April 7.
Capt. Linda Currier and 1st Lt. Elissa Ballas graduated along with 10 Army officers after 27 months of study in the highly ranked U.S. Army-Baylor University Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy. The group is the first in the program to receive a doctoral degree rather than a master’s degree.
The change in degree programs came about in an effort to remain competitive with civilian programs in recruiting the best applicants and to better align the program with the American Physical Therapy Association’s “2020 Vision” of becoming a doctoring profession.
“I present to you the class of 2006," said Col. Josef Moore, director of the U.S. Army-Baylor University Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy. "They are a unique group of 12 military officers -- Army and Air Force. They have completed a rigorous five semesters, the rough equivalent of 36 months of graduate school, and they did it in 27 months.”
The two Air Force officers also were among eight students who were named to the Academic Excellence List, which recognizes officers who maintained a grade point average of 3.75 or greater on the 4-point scale. Captain Currier is with the 89th Medical Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and Lieutenant Ballas is with the 60th Medical Surgical Operations Squadron at Travis AFB, Calif.
The graduates will now return to their installations to practice, but they must still pass the national licensure exam.
The U.S. Army-Baylor Physical Therapy program trains Army and Air Force physical therapists and prepares them for entry-level competence in all traditional physical therapy skills, as well as emphasizes the skills needed as part of the neuromusculoskeletal evaluation process.
The program has a national reputation for excellence in academics, research and leadership, having currently achieved its highest-ever ranking by U.S. News and World Report as fifth out of more than 200 graduate programs nationally.