Soon to be Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy

Posts Tagged ‘Combined Sections Meeting’


Talking Points: An Oxford-Style Debate on Dry Needling

Posted on: April 6th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Special thanks to our guest speakers for their willingness to allow this recording for SOWH members and others unable to attend CSM 2017. Note that while no CEUs are available for watching this recording, its content adds to the ongoing discussion around the use of dry needling in physical therapy.

ORDER NOW!Members, FREE; Nonmembers, $40.

Recorded with speaker permission February 18, 2017


Kali Aucoin, PT, DPT 
Mark Milligan, PT, DPT, Cert. TPS, OCS, FFAOMPT 
Scot Morrison, PT, DPT 
Kyle Ridgeway, PT, DPT 
Kenneth Venere, PT, DPT 

Dry needling is arguably the most popular and fastest-growing intervention in physical therapy today. There has been a remarkable increase in continuing education offerings, published research (an eight-fold increase in citations from 2010 to 2015 compared to 2000 to 2005), and legislative battles fighting to protect the right of physical therapists to use dry needling.

This Oxford-style debate addresses the following motion: This house believes PTs should implement dry needling into practice.

Each side was charged with addressing the implementation of dry needling into clinical practice in regards to research, theoretical construct, cost of training, legislative action, and other considerations.

Learning Objectives:

1. Understand and assess the literature base for dry needling.
2. Identify the pros and cons of implementing dry needling into clinical practice.
3. Compare and contrast the arguments for and against implementation of dry needling into clinical practice.
4. Develop an informed stance on dry needling.

No CEUs are awarded for watching this session.






Hamlin Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and Physical Therapy

Posted on: January 27th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

CSM 2017 SOWH Session Preview


By Gill Brook, MCSP, MSc

Since 2010 I have visited the Hamlin Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital (AAFH) annually to support the team of Ethiopian physical therapists and aides within the main hospital and outreach centers.

Doctors Catherine and Reg Hamlin arrived in Ethiopia in 1959, and opened the current hospital in 1974. It has since developed into an internationally renowned center of excellence. Reg died more than 20 years ago, but Catherine continues to live at the hospital and, despite now being in her 90s, still dons a white coat and pays regular visits to the staff and patients on the wards.

The physiotherapy service has developed throughout the past 15 years and currently employs two Ethiopian physiotherapists and a team of physiotherapy and nurse aides.

As with many Hamlin staff, the aides are all survivors of obstetric fistula, so they have great empathy with the women in their care. There is no shortage of work for the team. It is their aim to see every woman who is admitted to the hospital for repair of her fistula, pre-operative pelvic floor assessment, and advice. What’s more, many women arrive at the hospital in a poor general state of health with a range of rehabilitation needs.

Successful repair of an obstetric fistula is achievable in most cases, but despite this, some 25% to 40% of patients have residual bladder or bowel symptoms–a cruel blow for women who have already suffered so much pain and hardship.

Once again, the Hamlin physical therapists and their support workers are in the forefront of care, offering further assessment, guidance, and treatment as part of the multi-professional team.

Obstetric fistula is certainly not just an Ethiopian–or even an African–affliction, but authors have noted that it is (or has been) more prevalent there than in other countries.

At the 2017 APTA Combined Sections Meeting, I shall consider the possible reasons for this. In recent years several published papers have shown the benefit of physiotherapy interventions both pre- and post-obstetric fistula repair surgery. I will discuss these studies along with a case study of an Ethiopian woman who had suffered a complex fistula with both pre- and post-operative complications. Come learn more about the important work and cases being treated at this Ethiopian facility!

Brook is part of an international panel session on “Trauma-Induced Pelvic Floor Disorders: Implications for Physical Therapists” at CSM Thursday, February 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas.Brooks’ session is Thursday February 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas, at CSM. Check the APTA CSM app for location.

AUTHOR: Gill Brook, MCSP, MSc, is a physiotherapist in Edinburgh, Scotland, who has specialized in pelvic floor, continence (including men), and women’s health physiotherapy for nearly 30 years. She works independently and tutors at the post-graduate level for the University of Bradford and Pelvic, Obstetric & Gynecological Physiotherapy in the UK. A well-published author, she has been secretary of the International Organization of Physical Therapists in Women’s Health and is an active member of the Fistula Committee of the International Continence Society and the Rehab Advisory Council of the Worldwide Fistula Fund. Since 2010 she has supported the physiotherapy team at the Hamlin Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.







“Repairing Rosie” Highlights SOWH’s “Complex Cases in Women’s and Men’s Health” at 2017 CSM   

Posted on: November 22nd, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

CSM 2017 SOWH Session Preview

By Rosaleen Gnoffo, PT, MS, DPT, PCS, and Lisa Sator, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT

Life as Rosaleen “Rosie” Gnoffo knew it literally shattered during the delivery of her son. In labor for more than a day, and while pushing for several hours, Rosie heard and felt a crack on the second to last push.

The pubic symphysis joint, composed of cartilage and ligaments, is typically 4 to 5 mm wide. During pregnancy, hormones such as relaxin increase flexibility for delivery. Rosie’s pain began when she was 10 weeks pregnant in both of her SI joints. She was working full-time as a pediatric PT throughout her pregnancy, and nobody could have predicted what was to come with baby Andrew’s arrival.

Two months after her son’s birth, an MRI revealed the bad news that no ligaments remained, and there was nothing but fluid between the two halves of her pubic bone. During what should have been a joyous time of new motherhood, Rosie felt mostly debilitating pain that prevented her from doing everyday tasks.

“I went from being an active, healthy pediatric physical therapist working full-time to a woman dependent on a rolling walker with a basket and wearing an adult diaper due to complete urinary incontinence,” says Rosie. “Every movement caused excruciating pain. My mother and husband had to support me, so I could be Andrew’s mom. I could not lift my own legs onto the bed.”

Six months after delivery, with no change in the width of the 3.1-cm gap, she sought surgical consultation. When Andrew turned age 1, Rosie underwent open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery of the pubic bone and bilateral SI joints.

Lisa Sator, DPT, WCS, CLT, became Rosie’s PT during her post-operative care. Mindful of the emotional toll the past year had taken on her patient, Lisa created a customized therapy program. As Rosie improved, she began to realize the effect the therapy was having on her body.

“I will never forget what happened one day when Andrew was 2 years old. After so much work in physical therapy, I was finally able to lift up my sweet boy and hug him in a standing position. I knew I was going to be okay,” she says.

If you are interested in complex cases, join this dynamic duo in a discussion of Rosie’s journey to recovery during the “Complex Cases in Women’s and Men’s Health” session February 16 at 11 a.m. at the 2017 APTA Combined Sections Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. To register for CSM, visit

AUTHORS: Lisa Sator is a women’s health physical therapist and a board-certified women’s health specialist at Good Shepherd Penn Partners Penn Therapy and Fitness on the Pennsylvania Hospital campus. Rosie Gnoffo is a pediatric physical therapist and board-certified pediatric specialist currently working as an independent contractor, seeing children ages 4 to 20 at their schools or homes via Kaleidoscope agency or private hire. For the original full version of Rosie’s story, visit






The Women’s Health Clinical Specialist Certification: Strategies to Get You To and Through the Exam

Posted on: November 10th, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Mandi MurtaughBy Mandi Murtaugh, PT, DPT, WCS,

In 2009, the American Board of Physical Therapist Specialties (ABPTS) administered the first Women’s Health Clinical Specialist (WCS) exam. Since then, 333 individuals have sat for the exam and passed, earning shiny new initials behind their name. While each individual has personal reasons for taking the WCS exam, they all have one thing in common: They received little direction to help them prepare.

I took the exam for professional advancement. I was applying for a new job in June 2013, and the potential employer strongly encouraged me to pursue it. This meant that I wrote my case reflection in two weeks, since the July 1 application deadline was fast approaching (I work best under pressure!).

I waited for my acceptance notification, and then … I procrastinated. I found the list of more than 200 articles and books that the Section on Women’s Heath (SOWH) provided, but I just didn’t know where to start.

I emailed everyone I knew to find a study partner, but while many people expressed interested in a study group, none of them were taking the exam in 2014. I suddenly felt saddled with trying to organize my own study group with people I wasn’t sure would be as committed to the March end goal. It was already November, and I hadn’t started studying. I was stressed.

Finally, thanks to a helpful WCS-veteran who put out a call to her wide network, I connected with two other physical therapists taking the exam in 2014. The three of us were all on the West Coast, and we set up group video chats, agreed on the best strategies to study, and divided up the reading. We worked hard, complemented one another well, and come June, we all got word of a passing score.

The most challenging thing for me during exam preparation was the anxiety of figuring out how to study and who to study with. When the Section put out a call last year for someone to create a WCS Study Guide Committee, I got in touch with one of my study partners, Peg Maas, and convinced her to start the committee with me. As we work to create substantial study materials to guide each new wave of WCS-hopefuls, our goal is to make sure others can focus on the real preparations for the test.

That’s why we’re starting with a two-hour educational session at CSM, “The WCS: Strategies to Get You To and Through the Exam,” where we’ll cover how to apply for the exam and how to start studying. Most importantly, it will be an opportunity to network with others considering certification to start connecting well before the hard work begins.

For those of you currently in the grind of studying, you’ve got this. Get in touch with us, so we can put you in touch with each other. Watch for new materials soon. For those of you delaying the exam because you lack study materials, your time has come! And for those of you already privileged to be wearing your WCS pin, if you have any helpful tips for us to share, please let us know. Helping is what we’re all about!

Mandi Murtaugh, PT, DPT, WCS, and Peg Maas, PT, WCS, will present a two-hour educational session at CSM titled “The WCS: Strategies To Get You To and Through the Exam” at 8 a.m. Thursday, February 18, 2017.

Author: Mandi Murtaugh, PT, DPT, WCS, is co-chair of the SOWH WCS Study Guide Committee. She also is a member of the SOWH Education Review and CAPP-OB committees, and assists at CAPP Pelvic and OB courses. She practices at Evergreen Health Outpatient Rehabilitation in Kirkland, Wash. You can reach her at [email protected]






Section on Women’s Health Offers Record Range of Education on Pelvic and Abdominal Physical Therapy at 2017 APTA Combined Sections Meeting

Posted on: November 10th, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 10, 2016

CONTACTS: Christina Holladay, SOWH Director of Communications, [email protected]

Sandy Hilton, SOWH Director of Programming, [email protected]

Kristin Clarke, Executive Director, 571-344-5422, E[email protected]

Section on Women’s Health Offers Record Range of Education on Pelvic and Abdominal Physical Therapy at 2017 APTA Combined Sections Meeting

McLean, VA: The Section on Women’s Health has scheduled a record 26 education sessions, 1 research platform, and 1 research session with 26 posters during the 2017 Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association February 15-18 in San Antonio, Texas.

The conference is expected to draw more than 11,000 physical therapists in 18 specialties for networking, education, and business meetings.

In addition, SOWH is offering a two-day pre-conference session with internationally renowned movement and pain expert Professor Peter O’Sullivan. Professor O’Sullivan has an extensive body of evidence around the treatment of low back and pelvic pain, working closely with pelvic health physiotherapists in Perth, Australia.

SOWH is an education-focused professional association of nearly 3,000 physical therapy professionals and students focused on pelvic and abdominal health, as well as other men’s and women’s health issues.

“Please join us in San Antonio for a chance to see the breadth and depth of talent within the Section’s members and our colleagues,” says SOWH Director of Programming Sandy Hilton, PT, DPT, MS. “We are pleased to be bringing Professor Peter O’Sullivan and a variety of topics, including keeping people on their bikes, men in pelvic health, and the complexities of human sexuality.”

A full list of the 300 presentations scheduled for CSM 2017 can be viewed at

Registration for CSM has opened, and early-bird discounts run until November 3. To register, go to


The Section on Women’s Health-American Physical Therapy Association (SOWH) is a professional membership association of nearly 3,000 physical therapists treating patients across the life span and around the globe. Members provide the latest evidence-based physical therapy services to everyone, including LGBTQ populations, young athletes, childbearing women, peri-menopausal mothers, and men with pelvic health complications. In addition to providing top-quality continuing education, the Section provides networking opportunities, access to peer-reviewed research, inclusion in a PT Locator directory, and lab training. Learn more at





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Pelvic Floor Implications for the Running Athlete

We added a new course!

Pelvic Floor Implications for the Running Athlete instructed by Amanda Olson, PT, DPT, PRPC. Join us in Portland, OR November 16-17, 2019 for 15.0 contact hours. View course description and registration.
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