The PTDOS Movement: A Physical Therapy Revolution

Sep 14, 2017
4 min read

By now, I hope that you have at least heard of Physical Therapy Day of Service (PTDOS).

Maybe you have seen a few pics on Instagram, maybe you have read a tweet with #PTDOS, or better yet, maybe you have heard of a friend or colleague getting involved during the past 2 years. In any case, I hope to open your eyes to the impact we can have on our profession, and I hope to inspire you to get involved this October 14, 2017.

PTDOS event

What is PTDOS?

The World Confederation of Physical Therapy defines a physical therapist as, “[One who]... provide[s] services that develop, maintain and restore people’s maximum movement and functional ability.”

I have never lived by strict definitions - I like to bend the rules and draw my own boundaries.

Sometimes it has gotten me in trouble (hehe), but a lot of the time it has helped me be more innovative. For the definition of a physical therapist, for example, when I see “provide services,” I don’t think of singular treatment techniques you can do in a clinic.

Instead, I think of bringing something to a population in need.

When I read “restore people’s maximum movement,” I don’t think of one individual; I think of a community. When I read “functional ability,” I think beyond squats and overhead reaches; I think of helping people live life to its fullest.

Now, I have no ownership of PTDOS, but I can tell you first hand that Efosa Guobadia and Josh D’Angelo, the co-directors, are men of genius and genuine passion for breaking the status quo of physical therapy. They are motivated by bringing out the best in anyone and everyone.

Their vision for PTDOS is purely simple and selfless. The story is beautiful; here is a part of it.

The beginning of PTDOS


Efosa Guobadia:
"What if, on the same day, clinicians, students and associated staff of the Physical Therapy profession volunteered in different communities around the world? Being on the Amazon and watching the river flow, I couldn’t help but think of our profession of Physical Therapy as a flowing river. A river made up of passion, love, life, kindness, and heart… was smiling as the thought was developing and I knew I had to share it with someone. I emailed Josh right away..."

Efosa Guobadia
Josh D'Angelo:
"Three sentences into the email, I had a visceral response, one that told me this is something we not only should do, but something we need to do; a chance for the profession to show what we can do when we all work together… this was NOT just another idea, this is a movement we HAVE to start. Do you have it in you to do MORE?"

Josh D'Angelo

Why I got involved with PTDOS

PTDOS represents the profession I want to be a part of! Not the “Did you hit productivity this week?” or the “Are you still on hold with that patient’s physician to get a returned signed progress note?”

I want to be a part of a profession that “acts in a way that [is] galvanizing, inspiring, and promotes connections all over the world,” as Efosa Guobadia says. I want to be a part of a profession that makes this world better each day.

October 14th, 2017 will be that day.

How I participate in PTDOS

My story isn’t nearly as exciting as traveling down the Amazon River or building homes in Guatemala. I’m a Chicagoan settling down in the suburbs, working the grind in outpatient orthopedics.

I am blessed to have Efosa on my team since I was a #DPTStudent; he has mentored me through all aspects of my career. In early 2016, when he asked me if I had it in me to do more, I felt my heart literally jump out of my chest.

“This is what I have been waiting for,” I thought.  “An opportunity to break out of my routine...a goal that, if I achieve it, will benefit society. An event worth the time and effort. Something MORE.”

After all, I never wanted to be your “typical” PT.

  • Frustrated at my alarm
  • Dreading my commute
  • Being annoyed with my slow EMR system
  • Angry when my patient is late so I don’t get a lunch
  • Eagerly awaiting Friday when it’s only Wednesday afternoon.

But I got into the routine and my passion dwindled.

This year, I challenge you to do more than what you are doing right now.

I challenge you to bend your rules and draw your own boundaries. I challenge you to be atypical. Do something uncomfortable or something you haven’t done before by serving your community with your physical therapy team.