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Mission & Vision

Our mission is to advance a healthy, sustainable future within physical therapy, healthcare and society by building a culture of movement spanning all the interdependent systems that support human well-being.

By 2022, we envision the Emory DPT Program to be a national model for sustainable physical therapy education, with:

  1. a culture and facilities that comprehensively and measurably improves the well-being of all students and faculty.

  2. a curriculum that equips students to inspire healthy and sustainable cultural change in their future communities after graduation.​

Conceptual Plan for the Proposed DPT Sustainability Vision 2022 

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"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein


To maximize human well-being in the present and the future, it is vital build awareness of, educate about and implement sustainable systems. Our philosophy is to build off the triple bottom line, and apply a systems thinking approach to the following four major systems of sustainability.


1.     Maximize Positive Health Outcomes

2.     Promote Intelligent Business Practices

3.     Foster Social Equity and Healthy Communities

4.     Cultivate Healthy Environments and Ecosystems


As professionals and leaders, physical therapists play a role in all of these systems that support human well-being.



We believe in kindness: kindness in our personal and professional relationships, kindness to our bodies, and kindness to the world we live in. We believe that for humanity to achieve a healthy and stable future, our purpose must be rooted in the ability to treat each other well, and to build systems that are kind to human well-being across lifespans, generations, communities and cultures.


Systems Thinking 

We believe in systems thinking. "Systems thinking is a perspective or a way of understanding that emphasizes whole systems and the relationships between system parts rather than the parts themselves. Systems thinking is a structured way of thinking about the world that is based on the principle that the components of a system are best understood in the context of their relationships to each other, rather than in isolation."(1) We must grow in our awareness of the complex dynamic systems that we are a part of to advance human well-being.


Mindful Awareness 

We believe in mindful awareness. “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”(2) To effectively live well, and solve the many challenging problems that we face, we must act with increased attention, concentration and emotional awareness toward other people, our businesses and our world.


Sustainability is generally defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations (3).  In particular to healthcare, climate change has been designated as the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century” (4).   Recognizing our progressive global health role and commitment to society, the physical therapy profession must learn skills to effectively balance economic, social and environmental priorities to meet the demands of the world’s population.  The American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement  (2013) specifically identifies innovation as a guiding principle to foster  “creative and proactive solutions to transform heath-services delivery” and forward thinking to cultivate new educational  models to anticipate the needs of society. (5)

While traditional physical therapy curricula incorporate health wellness and prevention strategies and emphasize service learning, few institutions actively integrate concepts of sustainability in their educational content.  Voted the “Best Higher Education Institution – Green Schools” in 2013 by the National Center for Green Schools, Emory University has identified sustainability as one of its top priorities.(3) Evolving out of this initiative, the Piedmont Project was developed to train faculty in curriculum development and has become a national model in providing a community for intellectual dialogue around sustainability issues in both local and global arenas. The goal of this website is to be a dynamic platform to share ideas and illustrate strategies that emerged out of the Piedmont Project to broaden understanding of the concepts of sustainability in the physical therapy profession.

Website Purpose

The website is viewed as a formal establishment of the Emory DPT program's commitment to sustainability. We anticipate that this website will become a compelling, effective and powerful mode of content delivery and scholarly exploration to further awareness of sustainability in the physical therapy profession and beyond. It will:


  • Serve as a "digital warehouse"/resource center for sustainability and PT information (strategies for greening PT)

  • A forum for sustainable procurement and student exchanges

  • A venue to share examples of sustainability concepts incorporated into a PT curriculum or professional practice

  • A means to highlight PT health and wellness focused projects related to sustainability


  1. Costello A, Abbas M, Allen A, et. al. Managing the health effects of climate change. Lancet 2009;373:1693-733.

  2. Goodman and Richardson (2010). Climate Change, Sustainability and Health in UK Higher Education: The Challenges for Nursing. In Jones P, Selby D and Sterling S. (Ed.), Sustainability Education: Perspectives and Practice across Higher Education (pp109-131). London Earthscan Ltd

  3. Guyaux, Francoise. “Mindfulness: Getting Started 2018.” Mindful, Mindful, 25 Apr. 2018,

  4. Quote by Mark T. Brown, PhD, Emeritus Professor in Systems Ecology at the University of Florida

  5. “Sustainability”. Emory University Accessed September15, 2014.

  6. “Vision Statement for the Physical Therapy Profession and Guiding Principles to Achieve the Vision. American Physical Therapy Association. Accessed September15, 2014.

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