Faculty Member Adds ABPTS Board Certification Specialization in Oncology

Kelly Collins, PT, DPT, CLT was awarded the professional designation of board-certified clinical specialist in oncologic physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Prior to this round of certifications in July only 68 Physical Therapists in the U.S., and only 5 in Florida held this certification.

Collins has practiced in Florida and Virginia at Tampa General Hospital and INOVA Fairfax, both Level 1 Trauma Centers.  Initially her primary area of treatment was complex trauma and burn patients.  These patient’s deal with significant swelling impairments in which she could apply her  lymphedema skills.  Currently she see a wide variety of patients, but is frequently consulted on oncology and vascular surgical patients to assist with their skilled treatment plans.

In late 2014, one of her best friends and fellow physical therapist was diagnosed with Esophageal cancer.  It caught her by surprise that someone so young and healthy would be fighting for their life.  He shared a blog of his journey and she realized that she knew so little about cancer, and that these patient’s really need skilled, calculated therapy interventions.  Collins says “Cancer treatment runs in cycles so these patients are constantly being beat up and expected to rebound—what an exhausting endeavor.”  Sadly, he lost his battle in the spring of 2016.  She continued to advance her lymphedema skills and had noted that APTA was developing Oncology as a new Board Certified specialty.

She is proud and excited to share her ongoing oncology and lymphedema learning and skills with USF students, faculty, and alumni.  Healthcare is constantly changing and she looks forward to keeping up with the most current practice guidelines.  November will mark her 10th year working as a PT.  Outside of teaching and practicing she loves to stay active outdoors,  and spend time with her 2 boxers Kimber and Kolt.

Collins graduated in 2007 from McMasters University in Canada , with a bachelors in Kinesiology. She graduated in 2010 from D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York, with a doctor of physical therapy. She is an assistant professor with the USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences and also continues practicing as a clinician at Tampa General Hospital.

To obtain board certification, candidates must submit evidence of required clinical practice in one of nine specialty areas: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports, and Women’s Health Physical Therapy.

In addition, candidates must successfully complete a rigorous examination, demonstrating specialized knowledge and advanced clinical proficiency in a specialty area of physical therapist practice.

Certifications are valid for 10 years. For recertifications, ABPTS has developed a maintenance model that focuses on continuing competence of the physical therapist specialist. This new “Maintenance of Specialist Certification” model includes the following elements: professional standing and direct patient care hours, commitment to lifelong learning through professional development, practice performance through examples of patient care and clinical reasoning, and cognitive expertise through a test of knowledge in the profession. To date, more than 16,000 physical therapists are board-certified clinical specialists.

ABPTS was established by APTA as the governing body that awards certification to physical therapists who meet approved requirements. ABPTS oversees the physical therapy clinical specialist certification and maintenance of specialist certification programs and awards certificates to physical therapists meeting approved requirements.