Physical Therapy Students Win National Fundraising Challenge


ATLANTA – Mercer University's Department of Physical Therapy earned first place in the 2016-2017 VCU-Marquette Challenge by raising a total of $45,220 for physical therapy (PT) research. 

In 1989, students at Marquette University started the Challenge, which serves as the primary fundraising event for the Foundation for Physical Therapy. Each year, Marquette PT students challenge students at other PT and physical therapist assistant (PTA) programs to raise money for research.

By virtue of raising the largest amount of money among the 143 institutions that participated in this year's Challenge, Mercer will serve as co-host of next year's effort, which will be named the Mercer-Marquette Challenge.

Mercer has raised a total of $106,448.57 for the Marquette Challenge over the past three years. The University placed second in the 2015-2016 Pittsburgh-Marquette Challenge and received both the Award of Excellence and the Most Successful PT Newcomer Award in the 2014-2015 Miami-Marquette Challenge.

“We are so proud of the continued efforts of our students to raise funds benefiting physical therapy research,” said Dr. Jeannette Anderson, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. “Their dedication over the past three years indicates the value that our students place on increasing the available evidence to continually improve the care provided to patients and clients.”

Five student representatives – Sarah Hicks and Lindsey Ventura from the Class of 2017 and Kelly McKinnon, Kimberly Pauley and Taylor Smith from the Class of 2018 – accepted the first-place prize on behalf of Mercer at the American Physical Therapy Association's NEXT Conference and Exposition, held June 21-24 in Boston, Massachusetts. The annual conference provides contemporary programming and interaction with progressive thinkers in the profession. 

The Foundation for Physical Therapy was established in 1979 as a national, independent nonprofit organization, dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of physical therapy care by providing support for scientifically based and clinically relevant physical therapy research and doctoral scholarships and fellowships.

Over the last 36 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in research grants, fellowships and post-professional doctoral scholarships to more than 550 emerging scientists. Foundation-funded researchers have gone on to receive an estimated $753 million in external funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources.

Mercer's Department of Physical Therapy offers professional and post-professional programs and an onsite clinic as part of the College of Health Professions, located on the University's Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta. 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 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. The Department of Physician Assistant Studies offers an advanced cardiology residency program. 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