Many populations within the United States and throughout the world are underserved by physical therapists for reasons of poverty, lack of available physical therapy, lack of knowledge about physical therapy, or exclusion from available medical services. Most developmental programs do not address the needs of people with disabilities. (World Health Organization Disability and Rehabilitation Team, accessed June 1, 2011) To meet these needs, a disparate variety of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have developed local pro bono clinics and global health initiatives.
Consistent with the professional ethic of social responsibility, many PTs are eager to contribute their services to people in need. However, it has not been easy for PTs to find programs who could use them. Likewise NGOs have no ready means of contacting interested PTs. No centralized resource of local pro bono or global health programs involving physical therapy or specifically seeking PT participation currently exists.
The mission of Go-PT, the Global Outreach Physical Therapy Network, is twofold:
Our goal is to generate increased participation of PTs in program development as well as direct service, extending physical therapy to more patient populations in more places.