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Students/Faculty News Elena Potter April 15, 2024

Natasha Brooks poses with UAB DPT alumna Rachel Thompson on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.Natasha Brooks (DPT Class of '24) with Rachel Thompson (DPT Class of '23)Third year Physical Therapy student, Natasha Brooks, has always had an interest in PT advocacy. Recently, she has been awarded the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy Capitol Hill Day Student Scholarship for this year’s American Physical Therapy Association Capitol Hill Day.

She also received the Student Travel Award for APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting 2024 from the Academy of Physical Therapy Research, and she was appointed as the Student Council Representative for the Alabama Chapter of the APTA.

In anticipation of Capitol Hill Day 2024, we asked Brooks a few questions about her Capitol Hill Day Student Scholarship.

What made you apply for this scholarship?

I applied for this scholarship because I view PT advocacy as essential for effecting positive change within the physical therapy profession and ensuring the well-being of patients. Attending events like APTA Day at Capitol Hill provides invaluable insights into health care policymaking on a national scale, aligning with my passion for advocacy and my career aspirations.

What was your experience like at last year's Capitol Hill Day?

My experience at last year's Capitol Hill Day was incredibly rewarding as I had the privilege of directly engaging with several Congresspeople on pivotal PT-related bills ranging from Telehealth to PTA supervision, becoming established as the Key Contact for Alabama Representative Terri Sewell, and deepening my understanding of the legislative process, which further fueled my passion for advocacy and policymaking.

What are you most excited about for this year's event?

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Wylie and Natasha Brooks pose at the UAB PT White Coat CeremonyAssistant Professor Elizabeth Wylie and Natasha BrooksI am most excited about this year's event because it presents an opportunity to facilitate direct dialogue between influential policymakers and stakeholders within the physical therapy community, raising awareness about crucial legislation and fostering meaningful conversations to advance the interests of PT practitioners and their patients. One of the main focuses at this year's event is Payment Reform- Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act, which would provide an annual payment update to the fee schedule that would match yearly inflationary increases.

How do you plan to use the knowledge you've gained from these experiences into your profession?

I plan to utilize the knowledge and insights gained from these experiences by actively participating in advocacy efforts, cultivating relationships with policymakers, and contributing to initiatives aimed at promoting equitable health care policies and access to PT services. Additionally, I aim to leverage my advocacy skills and leadership roles within the APTA to make meaningful contributions to the profession and broader health care sphere, aligning with my commitment to effecting positive change and promoting social justice and equity.

We are proud of Natasha for expanding her education at UAB to continue growing as a physical therapist professional and making strides toward creating a better space for PT. Congratulations, Natasha!

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