2019 sSIG Election

At the conclusion of the call for nomination to the 2019 AAOMPT sSIG Leadership Team, the following position statements have been received. This is an uncontested election, and as such, each candidate is technically unopposed and will automatically be elected to the Board following the election process (excluding the vote, which will not be needed).

Jessica Garcia, President

Hello everyone.

I am currently a second-year student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. I received my B.S. in Kinesiology: Exercise Science from Texas Lutheran University, where I played Volleyball and Softball. Currently, I serve as the Vice President of the AAOMPT Student Local Program at TTUHSC and Vice President of the TTUHSC Sports Medicine Interest Group. After attending this years’ AAOMPT Conference in Reno, I am particularly motivated to get more involved and help continue to expand the student involvement in AAOMPT from DPT programs throughout the country. We have a unique opportunity as student members of AAOMPT to become future leaders in our profession through networking, learning from our FAAOMPT members, and remaining up to date with the current evidence-based manual physical therapy practice. I look forward to continuing the admirable work of our prior and current sSIG Leadership Team.


Nicholas Waltz, Member-at-Large

My name is Nicholas Waltz. I am a second-year physical therapy student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Sacred Heart University (SHU), in Fairfield, CT. I am submitting this position statement secondary to my interest in the Member at Large position. The reason why I am running for this position is to help other schools and individuals benefit from the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (AAOMPT) the same way that I have been helped. AAOMPT provides the opportunity to start an AAOMPT Student Local Program (ASL) at one’s school in order to promote Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (OMPT) skills and clinical reasoning. I found out about AAOMPT’s ASL program through a fortuitous conversation with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) of CT student special interest group (SIG) president John McgGeorge. John informed me that the University of Connecticut had a similar program and he talked to his contact there as well. This contact helped lead to the idea of establishing the SHU ASL. After establishing the ASL, I sat down with friends and colleagues Kyle Stapleton, Brian Mecca, Christina Fratto, and Hannah Neary. During this initial meeting we established the design and function of the club. We then recruited classmates Monica Arrigio, and Nicole Antistia who also joined our team. My current role is that of president and founder of the ASL at SHU it is imperative to keep in mind however that this was not a solo endeavor. It occurred only through collaboration with the executive board members and mentors. My role in this process was acting as a guide and facilitator. I worked with Matt Miraglia, the AAOMPT member at large at the time. I met Matt through John. Matt was instrumental in helping provide the guidance and resources needed to help build and develop our program.

In the process of building the program we worked out what was required on a national level by AAOMPT to be a registered ASL and then we modified it for the SHU ASL chapter. Consistent with the AAOMPT mission statement and our University’s culture of service, every semester we determined our chapter would at a minimum of: 2 manual therapy events; 2 journal club meetings a community service event; and conduct 2-3 fundraising events. The reason that we established these goals was to enhance and deepen the learning that has taken place in the classroom. Our rational is that these activities will enhance engagement and foundational knowledge regarding OMPT practice, education, and research that may not be considered entry level but may be extremely useful within the clinical setting. The SHU ASL seeks to bring in speakers and teachers from a verity of backgrounds and specialties that can truly help build off topics presented in lecture and lab. The specific topics that the SHU ASL board and I were able to initiate this past year, has ranged from instrument assisted soft tissue massage to recognizing and treating different types of headaches. Should I be elected my goal is to help instill in students a passion for OMPT and to truly provide the tools and resources that students need to establish ASL’s at their respective schools, with the goal of facilitating growth and devotement of the next generation of leaders in the field of OMPT.

I feel that my passion for the subject matter and prior experiences may make me uniquely qualified for the position. During my undergraduate career I served for 3 years as social media coordinator for the Are You Autism Aware club at Sacred Heart University. My role in this position included creating engaging graphics, advertisements, and recruiting new members to the club. I used a number of platforms to accomplish this including Facebook, Twitter (most common), and Instagram. I believe that I am a great fit for this position and I will conclude with the following statement: It is only through this system of communication, passion and dedication to the pursuit of excellence that I hope to help ignite the flame and aid in the development of the next generation of exceptionally caring, skilled, and component clinical decision makers in the evidence informed field of OMPT.



Samantha Peter, Member-at-Large

I am a second-year student at the University of St. Augustine (USA) in St. Augustine, FL. I have evolved tremendously since my first semester and have since become very passionate about orthopedics and manual therapy. I desire to take my orthopedic and manual therapy skills a step further into a more specialized setting and analyze and treat horseback rider biomechanics as I am an avid rider and competitor. A friend and I started the ASL in October after we were introduced to AAOMPT in our musculoskeletal spine course and won a paid student membership from an instructor in this course. I am the current president of the USA ASL in which my involvement revolves around collaborating with my ASL peers and communicating with AAOMPT fellows at the university. I have also served on the executive board of the Student Physical Therapy Association at USA as advocacy liaison and president. I hope to continue to find ways to be involved and serve my peers.

I am providing this statement for the Member-at-Large position to gain networking opportunities with like-minded peers, AAOMPT fellows, and other universities across the country. I enjoy communicating with and learning from others about current research, clinical pearls, and techniques patients’ love. With that said, I hope to achieve collaboration and communication amongst ASLs at various universities while providing and maintaining a link between the ASLs and the sSIG Executive board. It is my goal to be at the AAOMPT annual conference in Orlando to better serve the executive committee, to network with fellows, and to increase student involvement in AAOMPT.



Thank you, and congratulations to the 2019 AAOMPT sSIG Leadership Team. – Stephen Ford, 2018 AAOMPT sSIG President



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