marilyn gossman teaches a physical therapy class.At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, we believe the pursuit of knowledge does not end at graduation. Marilyn Gossman, PT, PhD, FAPTA, was a physical therapist, educator, researcher, and influential leader who also held this belief. Marilyn joined the newly developed physical therapist educational program at UAB in 1967 and soon took over as chair of the program – a position she held for more than 30 years.

In 1998, Marilyn died of breast cancer; while she had accomplished so much, she had so much more to give. Her legacy lives on today through the hundreds of students and faculty members whose lives she touched. Her UAB family continues her legacy of excellence, education and innovation with the Marilyn R. Gossman Endowed Lectureship.

The Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Professions respectfully requests your continued support to provide funding toward the endowed lectureship in memory of Gossman. Each year a renowned therapist, who has made profound contributions to the physical therapy profession, will be selected to give a lecture that is free and open to the public.

The series kicked off in 2014 – the 50th anniversary of the initiation of PT education at UAB. Anthony Delitto, PhD, PT, FAPTA, recognized around the world for his accomplishments and contributions to the PT profession, was the inaugural speaker.

2020 Gossman Lecture: Thursday, March 5th

Alan M. Jette, PT, PhD, MPH, FAPTA, conducts research focused on evaluation of rehabilitation outcomes, functional measurement, and the prevention and treatment of disability. He served as Dean of Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences from 1996-2004 and was Professor of Health Policy & Management at the Boston University School of Public Health from 2005-2017. He currently serves as Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. In 2013, Dr. Jette was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, formerly the Institute of Medicine. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal PHYSICAL THERAPY.

The event is at 5:30 p.m. at the UAB National Alumni Society House (1301 10th Avenue South) in Birmingham. It is free and open to everyone, but please RSVP so we can plan accordingly. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there!

Additional Information


Marilyn Gossman, PT, PhD, FAPTA, was a physical therapist, educator, researcher, and influential leader in the physical therapy profession. Marilyn received an entry-level masters degree in physical therapy from Case Western Reserve. This was the first entry-level PT masters degree established in the US.

In 1967, she was recruited to join the faculty at the newly developed physical therapist educational program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Not long after that, Marilyn took over as Chair of the program; a position she held for more than 30 years. Soon after, she recruited her friends, and Case Western Reserve alumni, Jo Clelland and Cara Adams, to join the UAB PT faculty. These three young women, with input from notable others, re-vamped the PT educational curriculum and grew it into the current Department of Physical Therapy that will celebrate it's 50th anniversary in 2014.

During Marilyn’s tenure as Chair, the program experienced tremendous growth. In the early 1970s, UAB was among the first to establish a physical therapist assistant educational program and this was at a time when even the concept of using PTAs in clinical practice was controversial.

Shortly thereafter, the program established one of the first post-professional Master's degrees in PT. The post-graduate program provided practicing PTs an opportunity to develop advanced skills in musculoskeletal and pediatric physical therapy as well as offered a track in PT education which provided them advanced skills to teach in academic and clinical settings.

In 1978, the UAB PT program established an entry-level master’s degree when the vast majority of US programs were still awarding bachleors degrees.

Marilyn was always thinking about innovation and ways to propel the physical therapist profession forward. During her time as Chair, UAB became known as a pioneering institution in physical therapy education and it remains that way today.

Marilyn’s influence on PT extends beyond UAB. She was a noted researcher with expertise in muscle physiology and falls prevention. She served on the Board of Directors for the American Physical Therapy Association and was Chair of the Foundation for Physical Therapy. The APTA still honors her each year by holding the Gossman Research Forum at its Combined Section’s Meeting and by holding the Marilyn Gossman Graudate Student Seminar which highlights doctoral students’ research. And in 1996, Marilyn was named Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA.

We lost Marilyn to breast cancer in 1998. A painting was commissioned after Marilyn's death. It is based on a photograph of Marilyn doing one of the things she loved most - sailing. For those that knew Marilyn, the painting symbolizes Marilyn as a great leader at the helm of the UAB PT department which was so dear to her. Faculty members tell incoming students about Marilyn and the impact she had on the quality education they receive today. Help continue Marilyn's legacy of excellence, education and innovation by contributing to the Marilyn R. Gossman Endowed Lectureship.


Any videos we produce for the Marilyn R. Gossman Endowed Lectureship will appear on this page.

Introduction to the Marilyn R. Gossman Endowed Lectureship

The initial video is a retrospective on Marilyn's life and her work. It explains why we have created the Gossman Endowed Lectureship and why we need your support. This video can also be viewed on the School of Health Professions' Youtube channel.

Cara Adams Testimonial

Recently, UAB Professor Emeritus Cara Adams, a classmate of Marilyn's who joined her on UAB's faculty in the late 1960s, spoke with us about the impact Marilyn had on her life and the lives of everyone who was fortunate enough to know her. This video can also be viewed on the School of Health Professions' Youtube channel.

Inaugural Gossman Lecture (2014)

The Inaugural Gossman Lecture, which occurred in 2014, was given by Anthony Delitto, PhD, PT, FAPTA. To view the lecture, visit the School of Health Professions' Youtube channel.

Give Something - Change Everything

We ask that you please remember, as the endowment grows, so does the strength of our programming. The friends of Marilyn are asking you – along with everyone that was impacted by her or the physical therapy program she built at UAB – to make your own impact on the future of physical therapy and give a gift today to strengthen this ongoing lectureship.

Program Accreditation

Continuing Education programs are not subject to accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).