Celebrating Women’s History Month – women of inspiration to the PT profession

women making history “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”  – Albert Einstein

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we wanted to honor two women of legacy in the physical therapy world, Jayne Snyder and Florence Kendall.

Jayne Snyder, PT, DPT, MA, FAPTA was a long-time American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) member and leader who left a legacy behind when she passed away in 2011 of pancreatic cancer. She had been a member of APTA since 1969 and left a tremendous impact on the physical therapy profession during her career. As a leader in the industry, she served as vice president for APTA, was a member on the Board of Directors, and served as president of the Foundation of Physical Therapy.

Along with her efforts and advocacy of the physical therapy profession, she also owned and operated her own clinic, Snyder Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation, in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2009, Snyder was elected a councilwoman on the City Council of Lincoln and also served as a member on the Lincoln-Lancaster County Board of Health. She attended APTA’s Federal Advocacy Forum for more than 20 years and had been awarded APTA’s Federal Government Affairs Leadership Award in 2004 for her efforts at the federal level to advocate and secure the profession of physical therapy.

In addition to having these impressive accomplishments, Snyder remained a lifetime runner and had completed 50 marathons in 27 different states. She was active in disseminating rehabilitation research into clinical practice and a strong supporter for health policy reform as well as contributed to the Guide of Physical Therapy Practice. In the last two years of her life, she worked tirelessly to give back to the Lincoln community in various ways despite the infiltration of cancer in her body. After a 16-month battle against pancreatic cancer, Snyder passed away in her sleep and has left a shining example of how to fully engage life and community.

Florence Kendall, PT, FAPTA had a 75-year long career in the physical therapy industry and was one of the country’s most influential physical therapists. She entered the profession when it was in its infancy in the early 1930s and made countless contributions to the physical therapy field for which she gained official recognition and was included in the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.

At the time, physical therapy was not a licensed specialty, so Kendall and her husband helped draft a bill that established standards and licensing procedures for physical therapists in the state of Maryland, which was passed in 1947. In 1952, she and her husband left the Children’s Hospital in Baltimore to open one of the first private physical therapy practices in the country and within a year, they had more than 1,300 patients. Kendall became nationally known in the physical therapy field through her efforts on advancing the physical therapy profession.

Kendall also wrote the textbook Muscles: Testing and Function with Posture and Pain that currently has five editions published as well as numerous journal articles. She was a nationally acclaimed lecturer on physical therapy and was a founding member of the APTA Maryland chapter where she served as president. Up until her death in 2006, Florence Kendall dedicated her life to helping her patients and sharing her expertise, as well as being a leader within the health care community.

Both of these women were living legends and the physical therapy industry continues to honor their respective spirits, contributions, and accomplishments. They continue to be role models for physical therapists and we are proud to name them women of inspiration.


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