Ruth Wood Endowed Physical Therapy Student Award Created at UAMS Northwest Regional Campus

By ChaseYavondaC

Ruth Wood was involved with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) at the state, national and international levels for more than 40 years – from about 1952 until 1995. The endowment is to foster activities that develop leadership, advocacy and professional engagement and promote development of the APTA core values of professionalism: accountability, altruism, compassion, caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty and social responsibility.

“The Ruth Wood Award will help UAMS physical therapy students to become the next leaders in our profession,” said John Jefferson, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.

“It isn’t enough to prepare our students to be skilled physical therapists, we need them to be advocates for their patients and for their profession,” said Jefferson. “Being actively involved in the professional aspects of their career will not only advance their own work but also the entire field of physical therapy.”

Ruth Wood trained as a teacher and taught in Indiana for four years before enrolling in the Mayo Clinic School of Physical Therapy, completing the program in August 1951. She was employed by Mayo prior to moving to Fort Worth, Texas, where she worked with two different practices before starting her own in 1969.

Her involvement in APTA began less than a year after graduation. “Ruth was always one to adhere to strict professional standards,” said her sister, Shirley. Ruth remained active in APTA well beyond her retirement from the profession in 1984 when she moved to Eureka Springs.

“My involvement in professional societies allowed me to achieve things I never thought possible,” said Ruth Wood. “I got to travel quite a bit and be involved in many rewarding programs worldwide. Being a part of making a difference in lives through my career was meaningful to me.”

In honor of Ruth’s commitment to making a difference and to promoting professional involvement, the award was established to encourage students to become professionally active.

“We chose the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences because we knew it was a new physical therapy program,” said Shirley Wood of her gift. The UAMS Department of Physical Therapy is in its third year and will graduate its first class in the spring of 2018. Currently, 70 students are pursuing their doctorates in physical therapy in Fayetteville.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.