1. Sullivan, Katherine J. PT, PhD

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This is a landmark year for the Neurology Section since it is the 30th anniversary of the section's inception as a specialty section of the American Physical Therapy Association. The Combined Section Meeting in Boston, MA, was the site of our anniversary gala; a celebration that recognized our incredible history and accomplishments since 1977.


Special thanks go to Executive Committee members Karen McCulloch, Dorian Rose, and Janice Ford for their efforts in making the event happen; Section members Sue Whitney and son for the amazing historical review slide show; Dan White and Terry Ellis, our Boston members, responsible for the incredibly talented band "Chase" that had more members on the dance floor than in their seats; and to Robbie O'Shea and fellow Membership and PR committee members who provided special commemorative gifts and fun items that had us "glowing" all night. These individuals are just a few who represent the spirit of the Neurology Section. The spirit that exuded from the dance floor that night, attests to all our members, both seasoned and novice, who have the energy that will perpetuate the future direction of the Section.


Celebrating a significant anniversary allows one to bask in the accomplishments of the past but does challenge you to think about the direction of the future. My thoughts have been affected by a monograph that addresses the specific challenges of a social sector; volunteer organizations such as the Neurology Section. The monograph "Good to Great and the Social Sectors" authored by Jim Collins1 discusses the unique challenges a social sector enterprise has compared to a business enterprise. In a social sector enterprise, executive power is the responsibility of a group of individuals such as an Executive Board of elected officers. In a business enterprise, executive power is concentrated at the level of the CEO.


What are the outputs of greatness in a social sector organization? According to Collins, greatness incorporates the following. A great organization delivers superior performance, defined as the results and efficiency in which the organization delivers on its social mission. A great organization makes a distinct impact by making a unique contribution to the community it works with and could not easily be replicated by any other institution. A great organization achieves lasting endurance such that its influence and contributions to society go beyond any single leader, program, or accomplishment.


Our Section is evolving from good to great. The first critical step was to understand our core values and why we exist. This was done through the revised Mission and Vision statement adopted by the Section at CSM '06:



The mission of the Neurology Section is to serve neurologic physical therapy providers and to advance evidence-based practice, education, and research in neurologic physical therapy.


Through dynamic and innovative leadership, our members are empowered to promote optimal recovery, wellness, and quality of life in individuals with movement dysfunction due to neurologic disease or injury.



The vision of the Neurology Section is to be a leading partner in the national and international rehabilitation communities by facilitating collaborative relationships, promoting knowledge translation, and influencing policy.


The next phase is to implement our action plan. The action plan delineates the goals that we believe will define our unique contribution to neurologic physical therapy. Our Section has an ambitious 5-year action plan that the Leadership Committee believes will define the contributions our Section can and will make. Investments in JNPT, advancing the science and practice of neurologic physical therapy, and leading efforts to advocate for the profession and individuals with neurologic dysfunction are examples of the types of contributions that our Section can accomplish that will have a distinct impact.


The past demonstrates that we have the potential to achieve lasting endurance. The future challenge is to discipline our efforts and talents so that at the 60th anniversary the next generation will recognize that this was a social sector organization that evolved from good to great. What will it take for our Section to go from good to great? This is a question that will take us all to task. I look forward to hearing your perspectives on this provocative question.




1. Collins J. Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2005. [Context Link]