College of Health Professions Faculty Member Dr. Joseph Donnelly Receives National Physical Therapy Award


ATLANTA – Joseph M. Donnelly, PT, DHS, clinical professor of physical therapy in Mercer University's College of Health Professions, was honored with the Distinguished Lecturer Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).

The Distinguished Lecturer Award acknowledges an “individual who has made distinguished contributions in the orthopaedic manual physical therapy field in terms of contributions that might be demonstrated through one of many avenues including, but not limited to, research, education, patient care or legislative efforts,” according to AAOMPT.

The award was presented at the organization's annual conference held Oct. 18-22 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dr. Donnelly's lecture at the conference was titled “Raising the Bar: Joe's Soap Box.”

Dr. Donnelly joined the College of Health Professions as a clinical associate professor in 2009 and was promoted to clinical professor in 2017. He serves as director of postprofessional education in the Department of Physical Therapy. Prior to joining the faculty at Mercer, he was a clinical assistant professor at Georgia State University.

“We are pleased that Dr. Donnelly's ongoing contributions of fervent advocacy for patient-centered care, legislative efforts to improve access to physical therapy within the state of Georgia, scholarly activities in the area of pain management, and mentoring future and practicing clinicians were recognized,” said Jeannette Anderson, PT, DHS, MTC, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. “This honor is well deserved and acknowledges a career that has focused on improving the quality of life of those we treat.”

Dr. Donnelly earned his bachelor's degree in physical therapy from Daeman College, his master's degree in orthopaedic physical therapy from the University of Pittsburgh and his Doctor of Health Science in orthopaedic physical therapy from the University of Indianapolis. 

He is recognized as an orthopaedic clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists, a division of American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). He also was named an honorary Fellow of the AAOMPT at this year's annual conference. Furthermore, Dr. Donnelly serves as current past-president of the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia.

AAOMPT is a national organization committed to excellence in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy practice, education, and research. AAOMPT is a member of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapists. For more information, visit

APTA is a national professional organization representing more than 100,000 members with the goal of fostering advancements in physical therapy practice, research and education. For more information, visit

About the College of Health Professions

Mercer University's College of Health Professions is composed of four departments: physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health and clinical medical psychology. The College offers a doctoral-level physical therapy program, master's-level physician assistant program, bachelor's- and master's-level public health programs, and a doctoral-level program in clinical medical psychology. The Department of Physical Therapy offers residencies in orthopaedic, neurologic and cardiovascular/pulmonary physical therapy; a fellowship in orthopaedic manual physical therapy; and an onsite clinic. Each program is housed in a department that provides students with comprehensive didactic courses taught by an extraordinary faculty and extensive clinical experience enhanced by outstanding service-learning opportunities. For more information, visit