Clinical associate professors and 鈥23笔丑顿 have been elected as DistinguishedFellows of the National Academies of Practice (NAP) in physical therapy. Fellowship is an honor extended to those who have excelled in their profession and are dedicated to further interprofessional practice, scholarship and policy in support of interprofessional care. Neely and Tucker were inducted at a ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 16.

Neely, a board-certified neurological physical therapist with over 10 years of clinical experience in the acute care setting, has been involved with interprofessional education and collaborative practice since 2007. As the associate program director and the director of clinical education for the Division of Physical Therapy, she has helped pioneer the development of interprofessional education curriculum for the College of Health Professions and Sciences. With a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, Neely has been collaborating across disciplines at UCF to promote health and wellness among healthcare professionals and students to decrease the risk of burnout.

Neely has taught graduate students at UCF since 2018 and is the recipient of multiple recognitions for excellence in research and teaching, including the Katherine Harris Educator Award from the American Physical Therapy Association鈥檚 Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy in 2022, an honor that recognizes an outstanding physical therapy educator whose professional involvement and contribution has significantly impacted acute care physical therapy education.

Neely has a multitude of peer-reviewed publications, coupled with numerous state and national conference presentations on interprofessional and clinical education. She is also a member of the Florida Physical Therapy Association, the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy and the American Physical Therapy Association.

Neely holds a bachelor鈥檚 degree in business administration from the University of Mississippi and a doctorate in physical therapy from Old Dominion University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership at UCF.

鈥淚t is an honor to be part of an organization that values and promotes interprofessional education and practice,鈥 Neely says. 鈥淲hen we work together, our patients receive better care and have better outcomes. Interprofessional education is my passion and I look forward to working with others who also share this passion to advance healthcare education.鈥

Tucker, a board-certified pediatric physical therapist with over 28 years of experience, has been involved in advancing interprofessional education and practice through decades of teaching, service and research.

Tucker鈥檚 clinical practice includes a focus on those with complex needs who receive integrated care from interprofessional teams. As the director of UCF Go Baby Go!, a program dedicated to interdisciplinary research, community outreach and advocacy for children and adults with motor impairments, and 鈥 director of the Early Mobility and Play (EMAP) Lab, a lab designed to address access, mobility, participation and play among special populations, Tucker has been instrumental in expanding the college鈥檚 interprofessional education and embedding its practice. Tucker and Assistant Professor Julie Feuerstein also co-direct Mighty Knights, a collaborative program between the Division of Physical Therapy and the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders that provides unique, community-based enriched play experiences for infants and toddlers with complex medical conditions like cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.

Tucker has received various awards acknowledging her contributions to the field, including the Societal Impact Award in 2022 for her community service initiatives and the for her innovative delivery of educational content and learning opportunities for students. She also volunteers on interprofessional clinical teams to provide care to children and adults in Central Florida.

Tucker鈥檚 research focuses on community-embedded interventions to promote play and participation in children with and without disabilities. Tucker has an extensive record of peer-reviewed publications and has presented nationally and internationally on novel opportunities for mobility and play, interprofessional education and community partnerships. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Tucker holds a bachelor鈥檚 degree in psychology from the University of Alabama, a master鈥檚 degree in physical therapy from the University of Indianapolis, a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of South Alabama, and a Ph.D. in exceptional education from UCF.

鈥淚 am honored to be recognized by the National Academies of Practice,鈥 Tucker says. 鈥淚 am excited to be a part of an organization that shares similar values of the power of interprofessional education and practice.聽 I look forward to engaging with other members to explore best practices for educating students and providing care for our patients.聽 Working together with other healthcare professions keeps our focused centered on improving improving the lives of the patients we serve.鈥

Other interdisciplinary academies within the NAP include allopathic and osteopathic medicine, athletic training, audiology, dentistry, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, podiatric medicine, psychology, respiratory care, social work and veterinary medicine.

Neely and Tucker become the third and fourth members of the College of Health Professions and Sciences to be inducted into the NAP. In 2023, and .