The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has selected four faculty members and a recent Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate for national awards: Jason Beneciuk, PT, DPT, PhD, MPH, Mark Bishop, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Elisa Gonzalez-Rothi, DPT, PhD, Alyse Hausman, DPT, and Claudia Senesac, PhD.
Dr. Beneciuk is the recipient of the Eugene Michels New Investigator Award, which recognizes physical therapists who have engaged in independent or collaborative research efforts within 10 years of completing their most recent physical therapy professional degree.
Dr. Beneciuk, a research assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, a clinical investigator with a musculoskeletal concentration in the Brooks/UF-PHHP Research Collaboration, and a clinical research scientist at Brooks Rehabilitation, primarily focuses his research on secondary prevention of musculoskeletal pain and include risk-stratification approaches, psychologically informed physical therapy, implementation science, and health services research.
Dr. Bishop received the Lucy Blair award, which is presented to physical therapists whose contributions to the APTA are of exceptional quality. In addition to shaping the future of DPT students and rehabilitation science doctoral students, Dr. Bishop has been a member of the APTA and Florida Physical Therapy Association for more than 20 years, serving on the FPTA Board of Directors, component committees, and was elected as the APTA Catherine Worthingham Fellow.
Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi received the Margaret L. Moore Award for Outstanding New Academic Faculty Member. This award honors a junior faculty who demonstrates distinct expertise and knowledge through scholarly activities, teaching excellence, and commitment to the physical therapy profession.
Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi is an investigator in the UF BREATHE Center and the McKnight Brain Institute. Her research focuses on advancing our understanding of the basic mechanisms of plasticity within neural networks, with the ultimate goal being the development of effective therapies to treat respiratory motor deficits after cervical spinal cord injury. Her work has been funded by awards from the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.
Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi’s primary teaching responsibility is the course director for the neuroscience course in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, and she serves as a mentor for students and fellows in the Colleges of Medicine and Public Health and Health Professions. Dr. Gonzalez-Rothi has served as the Federal Affairs Liaison for Florida to the APTA since 2017, visiting Capitol Hill with students and peers to advocate on behalf of the physical therapy profession.
Dr. Hausman, DPT ’21, received the Mary McMillan Scholarship Award, which recognizes students who exhibit superior scholastic ability and potential for future professional contribution.
Throughout her time in the UF DPT program, Dr. Hausman displayed her passion for PT and advancing the profession, notably as the 2020 APTA Core Ambassador and attending Federal Advocacy Forums in Washington, D.C.
Most recently, she was presented with an FPTA Outstanding Student Award, a UF Presidential Service Award, and a Pro Bono National Honor Society Award for demonstrating her commitment to providing underserved clients and communities with quality physical therapy. Lastly, Dr. Hausman was accepted into the Neurology Residency program at Brooks Rehabilitation to enhance her clinical skills and continue her education.
Dr. Senesac received the Societal Impact Award for demonstrating compassion, philanthropy, and a commitment to improving societal welfare through physical therapy. With over 38 years of pediatric clinical experience, Dr. Senesac has steadily shown her commitment to children with high-intensity needs and rare diseases.
As the project coordinator for the ImagingNMD study, Dr. Senesac recently received the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) Change It Champion Award for her years of commitment and compassion for the Duchenne community and her leadership ensuring physical therapy is at the heart of daily care for the families. For example, Dr. Senesac traveled around the country before the pandemic to educate therapists in the field by updating their understanding of Duchenne – translating what has been gained from imaging data. Furthermore, she has created educational courses for families and other health professionals as the landscape is changing for this rare disease.
In addition to teaching multiple courses within the DPT curriculum, Dr. Senesac also takes on the role of co-director of a five-year $1.24 million Interdisciplinary Related Services Personnel Preparation for Early Childhood (INSPIRE) funding program to serve young children with disabilities and high-intensity needs. This grant will train over 45 physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology graduate students in Early Intervention to treat children with high-intensity needs in Florida and around the country.
Drs. Beneciuk, Bishop, Gonzalez-Rothi, Hausman and Senesac will be recognized at the APTA Centennial Gala Weekend in Washington, D.C. in September.