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Global Health Special Interest Group
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To provide resources, information, and support to SIG, Section, and APTA members regarding global health, health disparities, cultural competency, disability, and service-learning in resource-limited settings.


Ronnie Leavitt and Karin Schumacher co-founded the Cross-cultural and International Physical Therapy Interest Group in 1986. The group was officially recognized as a special interest group within the Health Policy and Administration Section in 1996. To reflect member interests in health equity, cultural determinants of health, and service-learning both in the United States and abroad, the group changed its name to the Global Health SIG.


View the listing of the GHSIG Leadership.

How to Join the Global Health (GH) SIG

There is no additional charge associated with becoming a member of the GH SIG, however, you must be a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and HPA The Catalyst (Section on Health Policy & Administration).

To join the GHSIG:

  • Log into the HPA website
  • Click Manage Profile
  • Click Edit Bio
  • Scroll down to the Additional Information section
  • Click the dropdown for "yes" beside the SIG name
  • Save Changes

Social Media


Resources are available to members only (login required)


International Service Manual for Students: A Guide for Students Considering International Service Trips


The 2016 Global Outreach Project Committee of the APTA Student Assembly is proud to share the International Service Manual for Students: A Guide for Students Considering International Service Trips, which was created to assist interested Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant students to select and prepare for sustainable and ethical service experiences abroad. The purpose of this manual is to provide a summary current literature, resources, and personal experiences related to international service in physical therapy and health in order to equip students with an understanding of the cultural and ethical dimensions of international service trips and prepare them for both the challenges and joys that may be encountered when serving abroad. This manual may also be utilized by students or clinicians to help prepare for a career incorporating both international and domestic service.

GH SIG Ronnie Leavitt Social Responsibility Award: Criteria and Information

Extended Preview: "First, Do No Harm" from Tim Holland on Vimeo.

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