Third-year DPT student Shani Lewis wins imaging infographic contest

Ordering radiologic imaging evaluations is part of the physical therapy scope of practice, but yet not allowed in all jurisdictions. A third-year doctor of physical therapy student, Lewis, won a national infographic contest to help educate people about physical therapy's important relationship to radiologic imaging.

Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) student, Shani Lewis, designed an infographic entitled, “The Image Is Clear,” which was selected as one of two winners from a robust submission pool from physical therapists across the country.

The contest was held by the Imaging Special interest Group of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), to provide educational materials for patients and state legislators across the country. The Chair of the Imaging Special Interest Group, Chuck Hazel, noted the group’s excitement that a student had won their blinded selection process.

Lewis, who will graduate from the DPT program next month, was proud to represent Elon and the profession of physical therapy, saying that it is thrilling to “make an impact on the profession as a whole as a student.”  She was a graphic illustrator before physical therapy school and was happily able to combine her skills to win the prize.

At Elon’s DPT education program, and all DPT programs across the country, students learn about clinical radiologic imaging – including when an X-ray or MRI needs to be ordered – which provides for the best care in an orthopedic outpatient physical therapy setting.

Physical therapists have ordered images for patients directly in the Army since 1972, and now all physical therapists in all military services and the U.S. Public Health Service have that authorization. Physical therapists in six states and the District of Columbia have direct-image-ordering privileges, along with several large healthcare systems around the country.

When a patient requires a radiologic imaging exam, a direct referral by a physical therapist can save the patient and the health care system time and money. The award-winning infographic was published in the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Practice journal and as a part of the APTA Government Affairs office’s “Imaging Advocacy Tool Kit” for all fifty state chapters of the Association.