President's Message




Dear Colleagues:

On January 1st of 2020 I moved into the role as the president of the Rhode Island American Physical Therapy Association (RI APTA). I was honored and humbled to be given this opportunity to serve in this capacity, but I like so many others in January of 2020 had no idea of the year we were about to embark on!  

Although I am happy to wave goodbye to 2020, I am grateful for the lessons learned during the year. From compassion, tolerance and empathy to resilience, grit, and courage. Our little Rhode Island chapter proved it was ‘mighty’ and we saw an increase in membership in 2020 by 5%! I am so appreciative of the support of our executive director Tamara Paolangeli and the executive committee who worked tirelessly this year to pivot our chapters focus based on our communities changing needs. Some highlights of the year included, launching a biweekly e-newsletter and initiation of the Early Professional Special Interest Group. Professional development opportunities and resources increased with the offerings of our virtual Regional Conference, evening lecture and journal review offerings, round table discussions on practice and payment changes. Our collaborative advocacy efforts meant we were one of the first states in the country where insurers were required to reimburse for physical therapy provided by telehealth. However, seeing the collaboration and support of clinicians in various settings, with different experiences support and help each other was without a doubt the highlight for me. Accessing masks, how to get paid for telehealth, in clinic best practices, how to do a telehealth visit – I witnessed physical therapists come together to help each other in so many ways.

Thank you. I am appreciative of the service of outgoing board members; Laurie Miner MSPT, Jan Chamberlain DPT, MBA, ATC, and Greg Doucette MSPT, OCS. Greg will continue to serve as the chair of our legislative committee. I am excited to welcome the new in-coming board members; Kyle Anderson PT, MSPT, OCS, Paul Ullucci, PT, PhD, DPT, ATC and Erin Sayles DPT who each bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills that will strengthen our board.

Thank you for the ongoing service of existing board members, who despite the year are willing to stay! Joe Russolello PT, DPT, MBA, Albert Hulley PTA, MBA, Mike Pappas PT, DPT, Don Levine MSPT, Carol Petrie PT, DPT, Lisa Dowden PTA, Nicole Del Greco DPT, Yvonne Swanson MSPT, DPT, OCS and Lisa DeCoste MSPT, DPT, OCS. 

In the months to come we will continue to navigate this pandemic. This will include ensuring access to vaccinations to all physical therapists, assistants, and students. Member engagement, communication, and advocacy efforts will of course continue to be a priority and I welcome both members and non-members to contact me at any time.

This year marks the celebration of 100 years of our profession and I truly hope we can all celebrate in person sometime this year!  Festivities begin with the APTA Founders’ Day Celebration on January 15th at 8pm EST.

Physical therapists and assistants are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. We play an integral role in the wellbeing of our communities. As the president of the APTA-RI it is my goal to continue to strengthen our community’s awareness of the value of our profession. Working together collaboratively we can have a significant impact on the short- and long-term health of the neighborhoods where we work and live.  

Thank you for the care you provide in our mighty state. Please stay safe and well.

Yours truly,


Michelle Collie PT, MS, DPT, OCS
President of the APTA RI
Phone: 401-952-4516


RIAPTA Liberty Square Group
4 Liberty Sq, #500
Boston, MA 02109
(857) 702 – 9915