Assistant Professor Jane Baldwin is recognized for four decades of service and mentorship as part of the American Physical Therapy Association

From a young age, Jane Baldwin has been dedicated to doing her part. So, when she entered the field of physical therapy and was met with open arms and mentorship, she wanted to pay it forward. Four decades later, this drive was acknowledged when the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts (APTA MA) awarded her the Mary MacDonald Distinguished Service Award at the association’s annual conference. Since 1976, the award has honored those members who have gone above and beyond to contribute to the profession. 

“Jane’s dedication to APTA MA is evidenced by her immense contributions to the organization, its members, and students of the profession for the past several decades,” shared Eric Folmar, 2022 APTA MA President. “She embodies the distinguished service we strive for.” 

jane smiles and holds a silver bowl and stands with a man in a blue suit
Baldwin receives her award from Eric Folmar, 2022 APTA MA President

Baldwin’s passion for healthcare started early – as did her experiences with mentorship. In high school, she thought she might want to try nursing, so she began volunteering at a local hospital. There, she worked closely with nurses and other medical professionals, and when she realized she didn’t want to be a nurse, she was introduced to one of the nurse’s husbands – who happened to be a physical therapist. Knowing she loved sports and people, friends encouraged her to try it out. From that moment on, Baldwin was sure physical therapy was for her. 

Soon she was off to Northeastern University to earn her undergraduate degree. During this time, her involvement in APTA as a student member opened new doors, introducing her to mentors who have been supportive throughout her career. Not only did they guide her as she honed her craft, but they also offered networking opportunities that leveraged their status and roles at Boston area institutions.  

“I had great mentors as a student who taught me important skills as a PT and helped me make critical connections with others in the field,” Baldwin shared. 

These relationships paid off, and Baldwin spent the next several years at top-tier rehabilitation centers in the area, including Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Boston Medical Center, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s Outpatient Center in Wellesley. It was here that she focused on the adult neurological and pediatric populations.  

While Baldwin thoroughly enjoyed her clinical roles at Spaulding, it was the student interactions she had in these positions that propelled her into her career as a teacher. She knew she was ready to take on a new challenge, so when the IHP was looking for someone to join its clinical education team, she jumped at the opportunity.  

“I know I have a responsibility to pass the mentorship I received on to the next generation,” Baldwin shared. “Helping others grow their own skills, both as clinicians and as leaders in the field, is something that I care deeply about.” 

Baldwin’s work with students in the years since has proved fruitful and engaging. 

“Having a student really keeps you on your toes,” she said. “They challenge you, always asking questions and keeping you on your game.” 

She also knew how much she had to share with students, both in knowledge and support as they entered their careers. 

“I knew the impact I could have on students by teaching in a classroom,” she added. “My love for neuro PT, specifically, is something I love to show students. I know that in doing so I can help ensure that we have a new generation of PTs working in this space, not just in generalized PT or sports-focused PT.” 

Despite a hectic schedule as a practicing PT at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, serving as assistant professor of PT, Director of Student Support and Activities, and coordinator of the Marjorie Ionta Physical Therapy Center for Clinical Education, Baldwin finds time in her 60-hour weeks to remain current in the field. 

Seeing students step up and step into new roles in the field has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her career, Baldwin shared, and she’s eager to see where this next generation takes PT.  

“Where will telemedicine lead? What policy changes are in store? What about new technologies? How will they impact the work we do?” Baldwin asked. “It’s questions like these that keep the profession fresh and give students and young clinicians the opportunity to make their mark.” 

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