Barbara Connolly Named Interim Dean of Allied Health Sciences

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Today, Hershel P. Wall, MD, chancellor for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), announced the appointment of Barbara H. Connolly, EdD, DPT, as interim dean for the UT College of Allied Health Sciences.

Today, Hershel P. Wall, MD, chancellor for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), announced the appointment of Barbara H. Connolly, EdD, DPT, as interim dean for the UT College of Allied Health Sciences. The appointment becomes effective in December when the current dean, William R. Frey, PhD, retires.

“Barbara has been a member of our Health Science Center family for more than 35 years,” said Chancellor Wall. “We know she will work in close collaboration with the leaders of all the Allied Health units to keep the college moving forward until a permanent dean is named.”

The UT College of Allied Health Sciences includes the departments of Audiology & Speech Pathology, Cytotechnology, Dental Hygiene, Health Informatics and Information Management, Medical Technology, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. Dr. Connolly is a professor of physical therapy and has been chair of the Department of Physical Therapy for 21 years. She will continue in these roles while serving as interim dean.

In November 2006, Therapy Times recognized her as one of its 25 Most Influential in the therapy field. She was acknowledged for her passion for the physical therapy profession, sterling leadership skills, unparalleled dedication to education and unwavering commitment to shaping the PT field nationally and internationally.

Under her leadership, the Physical Therapy Department at UTHSC has advanced its degrees offered from Bachelor of Science to Master’s and most recently, to Doctor of Physical Therapy. In addition, she has initiated several advanced-degree programs for previously credentialed practitioners, such as the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Dr. Connolly was a founding member of the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) section of pediatrics and subsequently was president of the section. In 1985, she represented the APTA at the World Rehabilitation Fund (part of the World Health Organization). In 2007, she was elected president of the International Organization of Paediatric Physical Therapists. In recognition of her role as an outstanding mentor for professional and pre-professional students, Dr. Connolly received the 2001 Jeanne Fisher Distinguished Mentorship Award from APTA. As a result of her efforts to establish the first Minority Affairs and Recruitment Advisory Committee for the UTHSC College of Allied Health Sciences, the Physical Therapy Department received the 2000 APTA Diversity Award.

In September 2006, Dr. Connolly was awarded the Memphis Business Journal’s Health Care Heroes Health Care Provider Non-Physician Award. She is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA and is one of approximately 100 physical therapists in the United States who has earned this designation as recognition of their vision and leadership. Dr. Connolly is the only Tennessean to receive this award.

Dr. Frey was appointed dean of the college in January and had served as interim dean since May 2005. He has been a member of the UTHSC team for five years.