Professor of physical therapy receives award for service

Physical therapy professor Kathryn Martin received the Bud DeHaven Service Award at the American Physical Therapy Association’s annual meeting in Denver, Colo. on Feb. 12 through Feb. 15. The award, given for sustained and extraordinary service to the APTA’s Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy according to the APTA criteria, recognizes a lifetime of Martin’s hard work and dedication. She has served as a physical therapist for more than 25 years, has worked as Education Committee Chair and headed several task forces in the Academy along the way. Martin has also received the Fran Ekstam Award from the Indiana Chapter of the APTA for past contributions.

According to Martin, potential winners of the Service Award are nominated from a competitive pool that stretches across the nation and are decided by committee vote. Receiving the award was an unexpected but welcome occasion for Martin.  

“I was surprised when I was contacted this past fall by the board of directors and told that I was being nominated,” Martin said. “I tend not to brag about things like that, it’s a little humbling to me. Quite honestly when I look at the who’s who list of past winners of the award, it’s a list of my mentors. To be included in that group is pretty special.”

One of these mentors was former Dean of Physical Therapy Beth Domholdt. Martin said she remembers Domholdt sitting her down and giving her advice when she joined.

“She [Domholdt] said, ‘Show up, identify yourself to those in charge and be willing to do the groundwork,’” Martin said.

Martin said she took those words to heart and set out to join the APTA’s Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy. As the only pediatric physical therapist on staff at UIndy, Martin said she felt the responsibility to get involved with an organization that would keep her connected to her colleagues and the pediatric field at large.

“[I] just really enjoyed the camaraderie and the spirit of ‘we’re doing this for our profession and for the kids that we work with,’” Martin said.

While the award brings specific awareness to Martin’s pediatrics, it also highlights the high quality work of UIndy’s physical therapy program. According to Martin, UIndy has several other physical therapists in both stateside and national leadership positions.

While this occasion doesn’t change much professionally for Martin, it does mark the end of her term as Education Committee Chair.

“I think it’s time for me to step off of the board for a while and let some new leaders, some new voices, take part,” Martin said. “I’m actually looking forward to stepping back a little bit and taking a tad bit of a break. I do think it’s time to let some other folks step up and [do] some really fun work.”

Martin said she intends to keep working, but is looking forward to this break as an opportunity to get more involved in working with the service dogs at Indiana Canine Assistant Network, a field that combines both her personal and professional passions. She said she continues to enjoy her career and the challenges it brings, and feels as if she got far more out of it than she gave.

“It’s been a lot of work but I don’t regret a minute of it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Martin said.