Programs in Physical Therapy

Faculty & Students of the Programs in Physical Therapy respond to the question:

“What does Juneteenth mean to you?”

For me, Juneteenth is a reminder of how we as a nation have changed over time, the depth of the attitude and behaviors that has perhaps always existed that we must still overcome, and the need to take action to actualize the society I envision. (Faculty: Kevin Wong)

Juneteenth marks the significant milestone in our history as a nation of the emancipation of slavery. With that, it is a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go to fully address the racial inequalities in this nation to create a truly free and equitable society. (Faculty: Suzanne Semanson)

Juneteenth is bittersweet. It is first a celebration that the arc of moral universe does bend toward justice in that we, as a nation, recognize that enslavement of any being is antithetical to the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; a recognition that all humans are created equal. But let’s recognize that Juneteenth was born in Galvaston, Texas a full two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation – a Presidential Executive Order that had no teeth without enforcement. The lasting legacy of Juneteenth is that that there is so much work to do to eliminate the moral turpitude, the degenerative culture, that perpetuates the notion that one race of people is superior to another. In that respect, the arc of the moral universe requires all human hands and minds to bring true justice to fruition. (Faculty: Mahlon Stewart)

Juneteenth is a day to reflect on the progressive march towards abolishing racial segregation. Although the struggle may be arduous, our actions must remain persistently focused on making positive changes, until justice is served for the injustices that have obstructed the pursuit of unified liberty. (Faculty: Rami Said)

What does Juneteenth mean to me? It brings about a mixture of emotions and feelings. Feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and finally hope. Sadness that slavery ever existed, sadness that it took over 150 years for it to be recognized as a federal holiday. Anger that slavery ever existed. Guilt that I was born in a race not directly impacted by slavery, guilt that I have not advocated enough for my fellow humans that have been directly impacted by slavery and the continued judgement they face due to the color of their skin. ...And finally hope, hope that the world will continue to grow, evolve, and advocate for anti-racist policies, that all the good people in the world will stand together to stop the views and actions of the bad.

(Faculty: Jean Fitzpatrick Timmerberg)

While Juneteenth is a time of true celebration for it commemorates the day that word of slavery ending with the Emancipation Proclamation reached its final destination in the United States, we are aware that the injustices faced by peoples of color and indigenous origin continue to this day. Let us celebrate this day knowing full well that education, awareness and peaceful activism to eliminate these injustices will continue within our programs, our university, and our community. We must celebrate our heterogeneity and eliminate all barriers to an equal and just society. (Faculty: Clare Bassile)

"To me, Juneteenth represents the beginning of our nation's slow march towards equality and an America where we judge each other for who we are, rather than our differences. This Juneteenth is a call to action for the people around us: to celebrate how our differences can bring us together, to take time to listen and learn from the unique backgrounds of others, to measure what we are doing to support equity in our society, and to grow from the mistakes of our past.” (DPT student: Jeffrey You)

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(Faculty: Martha Sliwinski)


The Columbia University Programs in Physical Therapy offer a dynamic, diverse environment with opportunities for entry-level and post-professional study, research and practice at our Irving Medical Center campus in New York City. Our entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program educates students who wish to enter the field of physical therapy. 

We are developing exciting post-professional programs.  Our Performing Arts Fellowship, in partnership with New York's Westside Dance Physical Therapy, and Orthopedic Residency, which features partnerships with New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and SPEAR Physical Therapy offer opportunities to licensed physical therapists to develop advanced skills in a formal, structured environment.

The programs are part of the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City's Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

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