APTA Academy of Clinical Electrophysiology & Wound Management

A Look Back as We Move Forward

Karen A. Gibbs, PT, DPT, PhD, CWS

A Look Back as We Move Forward

This month’s launch of the new online JCEWM marks a new milestone for the Academy and is the perfect time for us to look back and see just how far we have come. In 1974, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association held a joint meeting in Montreal. The APTA’s House of Delegates also met during this time. The ACEWM started when the Maryland Chapter brought RC 24-74 before the House, requesting approval for the formation of a new section, the Section for Electrophysiological and Electrokinesiological Measurements.1 The motion stated the purpose of the new section was to “provide a means of stimulation, education, and coordination of physical therapists interested in electrophysiological and electrokinesiological meas-urements.”1 The motion passed and our history began. Two other sections were approved during that session: the Section on Orthopaedics and the Section on Pediatric Physical Therapy.

The newly approved Section for Electrophysiological and Electrokinesiological Measurements held its first official meeting in Montreal on June 16, 1974. With dues at $5.00 per year, 31 inaugural members were in attendance, and our first elected officers set their hearts and minds toward developing this fresh, new component of the APTA:2

Dean Currier, Chairman
Arthur Nelson, Vice Chairman
Rodney Schlegel, Recording Secretary
Joseph Hayden, Treasurer
Willard Meier, Corresponding Secretary

The Section’s stated purpose was quickly expanded to include interests in “biofeedback, functional anatomy, research, and clinical tests.”2 A year later, almost to the day, the Section held its second annual business meeting on June 15th at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA, in conjunction with the 1975 APTA Annual Conference.3 At that time, the Section for Electrophysiological and Electrokinesiological Measurements was one of only 10 APTA sections.

As the Section grew, the name evolved to better reflect the interests of its members and contemporary terminology, dropping Electrokinesiological Measurements from the name. On February 1, 2005, the name was changed from the Section on Clinical Electrophysiology to the Section on Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management (SCEWM). This change in name clearly designated the SCEWM as the official “home” for APTA members involved in wound management and the Section’s membership exploded. Just three years after the name change, membership numbers al-most tripled, increasing from the 300s to just over 1,000 members.

On May 19th, 2015, our name changed again, moving us away from a “section” or component description to an “academy.” The term “academy” is defined as a “body of established opinion widely accepted as authoritative in a particular field.”4 The new official name was launched, Academy of Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management, APTA, Inc. (ACEWM). Our current name provides a much better description of the highly educated, experienced, and specialized nature of our members.

The evolution of our name reflects how our focus, membership, and areas of specialty practice have changed over time. The ACEWM is unique from all other APTA sections and academies in that it exists solely from the collaboration of its four special interest groups (SIGs): Biophysical Agents, Electrodiagnostics, Neuromusculoskeletal Ultrasonography, and Wound Management. Each of our SIGs, though small individually, come together so that all our members can be equally represented on a national level. Another unique feature of the ACEWM is that it is the only APTA section or academy represented by two American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) clinical specializations:

1. Clinical Electrophysiology – approved by the House in 1982 with the first exam administered in 1986 with over 200 certified clinical electrophysiologic specialists

2. Wound Management – approved by the House in 2019 with the first exam administered in 2022 with 12 certified clinical wound management specialists

Changing and growing requires good leadership, and the ACEWM has had multiple official and unofficial influential leaders over the years, starting with those first pioneers who took on the task of creating a brand-new section in 1974. Below is a partial list of past leaders that played a significant role within the Academy:

Elaine Armantrout
Rose Hamm
Michael Nolan
Carrie Sussman
Dean Currier
Robert M. Kellogg
Andrew Robinson
Pamela Unger
Jack Echternach
Luther Kloth
Rodney Schlegel
Lynda Woodruff
Meryl Gersh
Charlene “Billie” Nelson
Robert Sellin
David Greathouse
Mike Skurja
Rick Nielsen

Congratulations to the Academy on launching the new online Journal of Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management (JCEWM). This initial edition marks another step forward in the almost 49-year history of the ACEWM. We have come a long way from that meeting in Montreal!


  1. American Physical Therapy Association. RC 24-74. Vote #9. HOD Summary of Proceedings. 1974;11.
  2. American Physical Therapy Association. House approves new sections. Progress Report. 1974;3(6).
  3. American Physical Therapy Association. Sections plan activities for annual conference. Progress Report. 1974;3(9):4.
  4. Merriman Webster Dictionary. Available at www.http/merriam-wenbster.com. Accessed January 3, 2023.

Karen A. Gibbs, PT, DPT, PhD, CWS
Immediate Past President – Academy of Clinical Electrophysiology & Wound Management.

Volume: 1
Issue: 1

Free Access

Pages: 1-57

February 2023

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