Secili DeStefano, PT, DPT | Candidate for Chief Delegate (2022-2025)

Board-Certified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Based in Ashburn, Virginia. 

I am a seasoned award-winning Clinic Owner, Professor, Researcher, and Board Member, equally comfortable in the clinic, research lab, classroom, boardroom or on Capitol Hill. I strive to deliver impactful results by inspiring students, members, clients, multidisciplinary teams, and boards to be collaborative and outcomes oriented. I provide a unique perspective on the trends, strategies and paths to success whether on the field, in the field or at the table. My core beliefs are based on valuing the people in front of me while we transform society through our profession together with passion, enthusiasm and commitment.

I have attended several town halls and meetings looking at where our profession will be post-COVID. While we don’t have all the answers yet, my goals are to first listen to you, the members, task forces, committees, board members, and special interest groups of the Academy to gain insight into where you would like to see us going. My second goal is to put us in position to be at all of the tables where decisions are being made. I believe my 20-year history of devoted service provides the networking needed to sit us at those tables. My third goal is to allow our collective voice to be heard and to vote on that voice at the APTA House of Delegates.

I always say, “obstacles are opportunities,” and for us in pelvic health physical therapy the pillars that will be focused on after COVID-19 appear to include reimbursement, evidence to practice, burnout, healthcare disparities, telehealth, practice, education and diversity. The Academy is well positioned to address these pillars. We are finalizing our Strategic Plan and are addressing these issues with thoughtful decision-making. Let’s make the future of pelvic health, physical therapy and society great together!

Education

  • 2006 – 2007 Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia  –  Transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy
  • 1998 – 2001 Marymount University Arlington, Virginia  – Master of Science in Physical Therapy
  • 1992 – 1996  The University of Texas Austin, Texas – Bachelor of Science, Secondary Teaching Certification

Certifications

  • Certified Direct Access Practitioner
  • Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
  • Certified Clinical Instructor

Scholarships

I have spoken at many conferences such as ISPRM, AAPMR, and APTA CSM/Student Conclave/NEXT and I have been published in PM&R Journal, IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, and with EMBS Academy for my research endeavors. My current research focus is investigating the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms of chronic pain using both animal (Guelph) and human models (NIH, GMU). Our research currently aims to advance reliable diagnostic criteria (imaging, biomarkers, etc) and physical assessment techniques that enable effective and reliable treatment and management strategies for chronic pain. By emphasizing transdisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations, my research will continue to inform future clinical and experimental initiatives.
  • DeStefano, S. et. al.  (2020). Introduction to Chronic Myofascial Pain – Where we are and where do we need to go? Importance of measuring dynamics (muscle) and human movement and contributions from US imaging. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Tufts University.
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2020). Introduction to Chronic Myofascial Pain – Where we are and where do we need to go? Treatment.  Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Symposium. Tufts University.
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2020). Correlation Between Central Sensitization Wind Up and IGF-1 and VEGF levels. Mason CHHS. (Poster).
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2020). Examining the Levels of Dopamine and Norepinephrine in Patients who are Centrally Sensitized and Experience Temporal Summation. Mason CHHS. (Poster).
  • Nachum, et. al. (2020) Marker-Less Head Pose Estimation with Cameras As an Alternative to Cervical Range of Motion Goniometers. 07/20/20; 306906; 2134
  •   EMBS Academy.
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2020). Comparison of Microanalytes and Self Reports in People with Myofascial Pain, With and Without Widespread Pain. ISPRM. (Abstract).
  • Phan, et al. (2019). Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Narrative Review Identifying Inconsistencies in Nomenclature.  10.1002. PM&RJournal.
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2019). Determining if there is a consensus on definitions and terms used to describe Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A scoping review. AAPMR. (Abstract).
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2018-Present). Ongoing work. Muscle Properties Predictive of Transition from Acute to Chronic Whiplash Associated Disorder.
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2018). Is the Beighton/Brighton Score Independent of the Number of Active Trigger Points in the Patient? Mason CHHS. (Poster).
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2018). Are ATrP vs. LTrP More Likely to be Associated with a High Score on the Widespread Pain Index. Mason CHHS. (Poster).
  • DeStefano, S. et. al.  (2018). Is The Beighton/Brighton Score Independent of the Number of Active Trigger Points Present in a Patient? Mason CHHS. (Poster).
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2018). Characterization of Local Muscle Fiber Anisotropy Using Shear Wave Elastography in Patients with Chronic Myofascial Pain. ISPRM.
  • DeStefano, S. et. al.  (2018). Comparison Among Pain Measures in People With Chronic Myofascial Pain With and Without Widespread Pain. ISPRM.
  • DeStefano, S. et. al. (2017).  Characterization of local muscle fiber anisotropy using shear wave elastography in patients with chronic myofascial pain.  IEEE. International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS). (Abstract).

Current Practice

I am a dedicated and energetic healthcare leader with a 20 – plus history of bridging education, clinical practice, research, and association service to deliver innovative and successful care that improves lives locally, nationally and globally. My experience pioneering healthcare technology such as Dry Needling, Blood Flow Restriction, Ultrasound Imaging and optimizes movement for outpatient orthopedic, hypermobile, sports, tactical, and pelvic health clients.
Over the past several years in practice, I have focused on prevention, wellness, promoting health and solutions for complex chronic pain, hypermobility and other complex clinical presentations. I am also a professor in the Health Administration and Policy Department for George Mason University and serve an adjunct professor for physical therapy and physician programs.
Awards and Accomplishments:
  • Lucy Blair Award (2018). This award honors those whose contributions to APTA are of exceptional quality, it is one of the highest awards conveyed by APTA.
  • First Inaugural Marymount University Distinguished Alumni Award (2018)
  • Volunteer of the Year Award, Name Change Task Force, Section on Women’s Health (2018)
  • Innovative Component Award, Section on Women’s Health, 2013.
  • Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Board-Certification (since 2003)
  • Emerging Leader from the APTA (2007) – First Inaugural Annual Recipient
  • Distinguished Commencement Speaker.
  • Nominated by the students for the Career Connection Faculty Award, George Mason University (2013)
Involvement at the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy
My heart for patients, clients, athletes, colleagues and students locally, nationally and internationally leads me to foster research, speak on a wide variety of healthcare topics and serve as a leader in our profession and in collaboration with other professions. I have received professional accolades for my work experience, continuing education pursuits and my involvement in our professional association. I currently serve as the Past President of the APTA Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy (APHPT). Previously, I have served as the Director of Research and been a devoted member of the  APHPT. I am now serving as the First Voting Chief Delegate to the HOD on behalf of the APHPT.
  • 2021-2022. APHPT Past-President.
  • 2020-2021. APHPT President.
  • 2019-2020. Section on Women’s Health (SOWH)/APHPT Inaugural President-Elect.
  • 2017. SOWH Student Special Interest Group Advisory Member.
  • 2016-2017. SOWH Name Change Task Force.
  • 2013. Member. APTA. Section on Women’s Health. Board-Certified Women's Health Clinical Specialist Study Guide Work Group.
  • 2013. Member. APTA. Section on Women’s Health. Functional Outcomes Measure Task Force.
  • 2012-2015. Member. APTA. Section on Women’s Health. Poster and Platform Subcommittee.
  • 2012-2015. Member, APTA. Section on Women’s Health . Research Grant Subcommittee.
  • 2012-2015. Director of Research, APTA Section on Women’s Health.

Involvement at the American Physical Therapy Association and chapter(s)

I have also served on the APTA Nominating Committee (Member and youngest female Chair) and for 12 years as a Delegate to the APTA House of Delegates (HOD).
  • 2021. Presenter. APTA CSM. Pelvic Health and Fascia: Including the Rest of the Body.
  • 2020. Presenter. Tennessee Chapter Meeting. Orthopedics and Pelvic Health.
  • 2020. Presenter. National Student Conclave. So You Want to be a Leader?
  • 2020. Delegate. APTA House of Delegates. Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. First Virtual House of Delegates. Passed the Section/Academy Vote.
  • 2019. Presenter. APTA NEXT Conference and Exposition. Putting the Abdomen and Pelvis Back in the Body.
  • 2019. Delegate. APTA House of Delegates. Section on Women’s Health.
  • 2009-2018. Delegate. APTA House of Delegates. Virginia.
  • 2018. Presenter. APTA NEXT Conference and Exposition. Overcoming Obstacles: Nothing Is Impossible.
  • 2018. Presenter. APTA NEXT Conference and Exposition. Injury to Integration.
  • 2018. Presenter. APTA NEXT Conference and Exposition. Transforming Health Care Delivery – Case Presentations.
  • 2018. Presenter.  APTA NEXT Conference and Exposition. A Systematic Approach to Achieving Personal and Professional Mastery.
  • 2018. Presenter. APTA NEXT Conference and Exposition. What Would You Do? Tactical Athletes.
  •  2017. Presenter. APTA Combined Sections Meeting. Osteoarthritis and Running.
  • 2017. Presenter. APTA Combined Sections Meeting. Stilettos, Spit Up and Success.
  • 2016-2017. Chair. APTA Nominating Committee. Youngest Woman to that Date.
  • 2014-2016. Member. APTA Nominating Committee.
  • 2016. Presenter. APTA National Student Conclave. Purpose.
  • 2013-2017. Member. NEXT Conference and Exposition Work Group.
  • 2000, 2001, 2012, 2013-present. Attendee, APTA Combined Sections Meeting.
  • 2012-2019. Ambassador, APTA PAC.
  • 2012-Present. APTA PAC Double Eagle Contributor.
  • 2012-Present. Attendee. APTA Federal Advocacy Forum.
  • 2012. Attendee. APTA Leadership Forum.
  • 2012. Attendee. APTA Vision Focus Group.
  • 2012. Panelist. APTA National Student Conclave
  • 2012-Present. Attendee. APTA CSA Meeting.
  • 2012, 2013. Volunteer. APTA Nominating Committee Interviews.
  • 2007. Panelist, APTA Annual Conference and Exposition, Why Mentoring: A Members Mentoring Members Professional Issues Forum.
  • 2001. Selected Attendee, APTA Component Leadership Seminar
  • 1999, 2001. Attendee, APTA Federal Government Affairs Forum.
  • 2000-2001. Director, APTA Student Assembly Component.
  • 2000. Presenter, APTA National Student Conclave.
  • 2000. Usher, APTA House of Delegates.
  • 1999, 2001. Key Contact, APTA Federal Government Affairs Forum
  • 2000. First Annual Recipient, APTA Outstanding Student Liaison Award
  • 1999.  Charles Harker Memorial Fund Intern, Government Affairs and Women’s Initiative Departments.
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