School of Health Professions Dr. Michael Furtado wins prestigious national award

Furtado, Michael16The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s Michael Furtado, PT, DPT, EdD, was recently recognized by the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions with its prestigious J. Warren Perry Award.

Dr. Furtado, School of Health Professions associate professor and Department of Physical Therapy chair, received the honor for his paper, “Assessment of Academic Resilience as a Non-Cognitive Variable in Entry-Level Doctor of Physical Therapy Students.” The piece appeared in the fall 2022 issue of the Journal of Allied, the ASAHP’s quarterly publication.

Furtado’s work was selected from a pool of 46 papers during the period from fall 2022 to summer 2023. Each year, the winner of the award — named after the association’s second president and the founder of the Journal of Allied Health in 1972 — is selected based on scores from a panel of judges.

“I am so honored, humbled and blessed to have received this meaningful recognition,” Furtado said. “This distinguished author award is named after J. Warren Perry who was a prolific and accomplished scholar, administrator, author and lecturer. He founded the Journal of Allied Health, which provides research authors like me the opportunity to disseminate their works to the broader scientific community. I am so thankful to him for all he did for the allied health professions and the legacy he left behind and to ASAHP for recognizing my work.”

The ASAHP is a national professional organization of 130 universities and employers focused on critical issues affecting health professions education. ASAHP’s mission is to advance health professions education and discovery through interprofessional collaboration, leadership, excellence and innovation. Every year, the organization hosts an awards ceremony to recognize higher education health professionals from across the country for their leadership, contributions and excellence in the fields of health sciences and health professions.

“Each of this year’s award recipients was identified by their peers to have demonstrated excellence and collaboration in health professions education,” said new ASAHP President Dr. Craig R. Jackson, MSW, JD, FASAHP, dean of the School of Allied Health Professions at Loma Linda University. “We are lucky to have committed leaders such as these within our institutions who are dedicated to improving the quality and accessibility of health care and health professions education for all.”

Furtado’s award was presented at ASAHP’s annual conference, Moving Forward – Emerging Practices and Lasting Changes in Higher Education and Health Professions, which took place October 17-19 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida.

The paper was a mixed methods study that analyzed the academic resilience of Doctor of Physical Therapy students when transitioning from undergraduate to graduate education. Furtado’s study was one of the first to analyze students during this critical time period. His work showed the most critical factors students have to overcome are centered around workload, imposter syndrome, mental health, time management, study strategies and life circumstances.

“The particular paper that this recognition has been awarded for is one of my favorite manuscripts I have written, so it is cathartic for me to receive recognition for it,” Furtado said. “DPT students seemed to have lower academic resilience than the age-matched general population and we now know that they experience many challenges in the first semester that require academic resilience.”

Here at HSC, Furtado has implemented this work by leading efforts in re-designing the DPT curriculum to be more supportive and conducive to managing the transition to doctorate school. This re-design rolled out in summer 2023 for the DPT Class of 2026 and its impact is already being felt. From this important work, allied health programs can assess the adaptive systems and protective factors in place to support their students in this phase of their educational journeys.

“The new curriculum blends differing domains of physical therapy courses that continuously reinforce and build upon each other,” said PT student Kaitlyn Lebsack “As a result, all students are met where they are and given the means necessary to thrive in adversity.”

Furtado was hired in March to lead HSC’s Department of Physical Therapy after 13 years at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where he served as founding program director of its hybrid track DPT program, chair of admissions and associate professor and primary faculty for neuroscience and neurological clinical management. A seasoned clinician and practice owner, he is also a Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist through the American Physical Therapy Association.

“This award confirms what we already know about Dr. Michael Furtado,” said Dr. Glenn Forister, dean of HSC’s School of Health Professions. “He is a true thought leader and pioneering architect for meaningful change. His groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of the challenges our students face when they transition into the DPT program is a stellar example of how to translate concepts into real action. I’m thrilled to see him and his work recognized in this way.”

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