Cathy Ciolek

PT honors

Ciolek honored for service by physical therapy association


10:50 a.m., July 9, 2014--Cathy Ciolek, assistant professor of physical therapy and director of clinical education at the University of Delaware, has received the Lucy Blair Service Award from the American Physical Therapy Association. The award was conferred during the association’s annual meeting, held in Charlotte, North Carolina, from June 11-14.

The award honors members who have made exceptional contributions to the association through district, chapter, committee, section, task force or national activities. Ms. Blair, who died in 1985, was known for qualities such as “unswerving dedication, self-sacrifice without limit, an infectious enthusiasm, strong personal and professional values, a sharp wit and sense of humor, and a genuine interest and concern for every individual she met.”

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Ciolek, a specialist in geriatric physical therapy with an emphasis on balance, falls prevention and Parkinson’s Disease, has been an active member of APTA’s Section on Geriatrics and Governance Review Task Force. 

“In addition to Cathy’s service to the profession, she has served the University community as director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic and as a representative to the University of Delaware’s ADA compliance workgroup,” wrote Stuart Binder-Macleod, Edward L. Ratledge Professor at UD, in nominating Ciolek for the award. 

“She has also served the greater Delaware community by educating health care practitioners and the public on issues important to geriatrics and physical therapy through countless lectures and presentations, and she has been actively involved in the community as a volunteer for a variety of youth sports," he wrote. 

“However, these listings within her CV do not capture Cathy’s true passion, enthusiasm, and commitment for serving our profession.  I honestly believe that Cathy’s true gift to our profession is the inspiration and leadership she provides to the students and colleagues in our program, across Delaware, and around the nation.”

Last year’s Lucy Blair Award went to Tara Jo Manal, director of clinical services and residency training in the Department of Physical Therapy at UD.

Manal points out that Ciolek has been recognized by the APTA’s Academy of Geriatrics for her “tireless efforts for the advancement of physical therapy practice in the area of geriatrics.”

“Cathy is frequently called upon to represent her area of expertise on behalf of the APTA and is no stranger to Capitol Hill promoting the needs of patients nationwide,” Manal adds. “She embodies all of the guiding principles of the Lucy Blair Service Award.”

Ciolek earned a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy at Ithaca College, an advanced certificate in gerontology at the University of Delaware, and a doctorate in physical therapy at the Arizona School of Health Science.

The APTA represents more than 88,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. 

Article by Diane Kukich

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