Election Candidate Statements

October 9, 2017
Candidate Statements

Position: Vice President

Name: Ryan M. Babl, PT, DPT

In 100 words or less, prepare a statement of how your experience and expertise could be used in the office you seek to further the objectives of the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Please be sure to include any experience you have that is specifically relevant to the position for which you have been nominated. During the past year I have held the honor of serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the MPTA, due to my position as the Nominations Committee Chair.  This experience has provided me with insight and experience in the inner workings, structure, and operations of the MPTA as a state organization as well as its role and importance within the APTA on a broader scale.  Through clinical practice, I have had opportunities to work in a private practice setting, a hospital-based outpatient rehabilitation setting, and some experience in an acute care setting, which I feel has provided me with insight into a variety of practice settings as well as their unique interests and challenges.  Now, being on the education side of our profession, I have had opportunities to gain further knowledge regarding the challenges we face as a profession as well as view what we do really well within the state of Mississippi.  I would like the opportunity to serve the organization in the Vice-Presidency role with my unique set of experiences, particularly in regards to improvement of communication and education within the state. 

In 100 words or less, explain your perceptions of the direction the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association should take in the future and how your goals for the position you seek will affect this end. The MPTA has made great progress in the last few years, especially in relation to direction (mission and vision) that it has developed based on the feedback and interests of the constituents that it serves.  We, as an organization, have made great progress in regards to state advocacy as demonstrated by the passage of the Mississippi Physical Therapy Licensure Compact Act, which displays the MPTA’s hard work and dedication to improving the ability to practice physical therapy within our state as well as improve patient access to physical therapy.  I believe the foundation has been established with previous hard work and dedication, and that we are continually developing a more solid position from which we can achieve tangible results in regards to communication within the organization, federal and state advocacy, as well as educational opportunities and advancement for its members within the state.  The organization has been working hard on the infrastructure and behind the scenes development in order to be better prepared to take on the challenges of the future to our profession within the state as well as nationally.         

Provide brief biographical information in 100 words or less, highlighting your education, work experience, current employment and volunteer work with APTA and other organizations. Include any other information you wish to share. I received my physical therapy education (DPT) at the University of Alabama – Birmingham.  After graduating, I worked in a private outpatient orthopedic/sports clinic for two years before moving to Madison, MS in July, 2012.  Since moving to Mississippi, I first practiced at St. Dominic’s in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Department from 2012 until 2016, and continue as part of the PRN staff.  Since December, 2016 I have been serving as an Assistant Professor within the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.  I have been a member of the APTA since 2007 and a member of the MPTA since 2013.  Starting in 2015, I have served as a member of the Nominations Committee and have had the honor of being the Nominating Committee Chair and a member of the Board of Directors during this past year (2017).  Nothing I do would be possible without the love and support of my wife (Jenny), our two boys (Jonah and Jude), as well as our dog (Tilly). 

Name: Cheryl B. Ware, PT, DPT

In 100 words or less, prepare a statement of how your experience and expertise could be used in the office you seek to further the objectives of the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Please be sure to include any experience you have that is specifically relevant to the position for which you have been nominated. I have been a member of the APTA/MPTA since I was PT student at UMC in 1991.    I have served the MPTA as its secretary from 2003-2009 and the MPTA Federal Affairs Liaison from 2009-2011.  These roles provided me opportunities to understand the functions and operational structure of the MPTA, as well as, provide me opportunities to represent our membership and its PT interests at the federal level.  My 24 years of clinical experience and 22 years of PTA education experience has allowed me to gain an understanding of the profession and the specific roles of our physical therapy professionals.

In 100 words or less, explain your perceptions of the direction the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association should take in the future and how your goals for the position you seek will affect this end. Our current MPTA leadership team have made impressive strides in making our MPTA member-driven and sensitive to the needs of our PT practitioners.  As VP, I would hope to assist in continuing this work from an annual strategic plan with objective goals that can demonstrate to membership their benefits of belonging and in turn, allow us to reach out to new non-members to join us as we move forward promoting our profession in the state and nation.  I think the association should be an active driver in promoting and assisting clinicians in continued improvements as it relates to evidence-based practice.

Provide brief biographical information in 100 words or less, highlighting your education, work experience, current employment and volunteer work with APTA and other organizations. Include any other information you wish to share. I have an undergraduate degree from Millsaps College (major:Biology/minor:Psychology) in 1988.  I graduated from UMC in 1993 with a BS in PT and returned to UMC completing my tDPT in 2009.  I practiced in acute care/inpatient rehab, 18 months each and have practiced part-time in home health for 24 years.  After serving as the ACCE for the ICC PTA Program for 21 years, I assumed the PTA Program Director position in July, 2016.  I have served on the board of MPTA and currently serve on the Board of Directors for Sanctuary Hospice, a non-profit hospice organization in Tupelo, MS.




Position: Delegate

Name: Marlee West, PT, DPT

In 100 words or less, prepare a statement of how your experience and expertise could be used in the office you seek to further the objectives of the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Please be sure to include any experience you have that is specifically relevant to the position for which you have been nominated. Although I have only been a practicing physical therapist for less than three years, I feel as though I have been passionate about my profession of physical therapy for much longer. As a physical therapy student, I was active in the MPTA as well as the APTA. I served as the MPTA Student Representative as well as a member of the MPTA legislative committee. I also represented Mississippi as the APTA Student Liaison. After attending the APTA Student Conclave and Federal Forum, I knew it was important to me to advocate and advance my profession with the best of my abilities.

In 100 words or less, explain your perceptions of the direction the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association should take in the future and how your goals for the position you seek will affect this end. In my opinion, the MPTA should promote and advocate for any advancements in our profession to make the field of physical therapy more accessible to the public and to make physical therapy the leading profession in the prevention and treatment of any movement and functional injury or disease.  I feel that the key to advancing our profession of physical therapy is educating the public and our legislators about the knowledge, skills, and expertise physical therapists have to offer.


Provide brief biographical information in 100 words or less, highlighting your education, work experience, current employment and volunteer work with APTA and other organizations. Include any other information you wish to share. After graduating from Mississippi State University with a degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology, I moved to Washington D.C. and worked as a physical therapy technician at Georgetown University Medical Center. Exactly one year later, I began my journey as a physical therapy student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center where my passion for advocating for my profession began. I finished with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree and moved to Nashville, Tennessee quickly after graduation. I briefly worked as a pediatric physical therapist, then found my niche in adult acute care at Vanderbilt Medical Center. After nearly two years at Vanderbilt Medical Center, I moved back to Jackson in the summer of 2016 to be closer to my fiancé. I now work in acute care at Merit Health River Oaks Hospital.

Position: Nominating Committee Member

Name: Ann Howard, PT, DPT, NCS

In 100 words or less, prepare a statement of how your experience and expertise could be used in the office you seek to further the objectives of the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Please be sure to include any experience you have that is specifically relevant to the position for which you have been nominated. I am very interested in helping serve as a nominating committee member as part of the MPTA.  I would love to be able to grow into more of a leadership position and contribute to our profession.  Along with the neurological clinical experience and the neurological clinical specialist certification/training completed, I believe that I can bring value and clinical insight to this team.  I have a background in direct patient care, quality improvement projects, program development, and new hire mentorship that I believe will be an asset towards taking on the responsibilities for the nominating committee.  

In 100 words or less, explain your perceptions of the direction the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association should take in the future and how your goals for the position you seek will affect this end. I believe the MPTA should continue to increase education to it’s members and the public to improve overall quality of care and the patient’s quality of life. It’s important to practice as specialists who are excelling in evidence-based practice, collaborate with other members for accountability, and promote life-long learning. I would love to be involved with the MPTA and participate in outreach to encourage further commitment from other PT/PTA’s. I am willing to devote adequate time to the responsibilities required and be able to use sound objective judgement and skill in evaluating potential nominees based on my experiences listed above.

Provide brief biographical information in 100 words or less, highlighting your education, work experience, current employment and volunteer work with APTA and other organizations. Include any other information you wish to share. I received a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Mississippi in 2007 and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Belmont University in 2010.  I have worked in both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation facilities in Jackson, Mississippi since 2010 with focus on treatment of patients with neurological impairments.  Since working at MRC, I have volunteered for many professional development projects such as: mentorship for students/new employees, organizing all custom wheelchairs/parts for more efficient use, presenting current research on FES, and working as a team with other employees to improve our documentation process, outcome measures use, and quality of care.

Name: Cynthia W. Jarrett, PT, DPT, CCM

In 100 words or less, prepare a statement of how your experience and expertise could be used in the office you seek to further the objectives of the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Please be sure to include any experience you have that is specifically relevant to the position for which you have been nominated. I have 30 plus years experience in practice areas of acute care, outpatient, acute rehab and home health/hospice with the last 5 years in home health rehab management.  Ithink Iam acutely aware of how government regulations have limited patient access to therapy (especially rural areas) and am an advocate for change.

In 100 words or less, explain your perceptions of the direction the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association should take in the future and how your goals for the position you seek will affect this end. Having been in management has allowed me to see how the MPTA has and can further impact our profession and practitioners by lobbying and educating lawmakers.  More needs to be done toward allowing equal access to rural Mississippians, especially those living in poverty.

Provide brief biographical information in 100 words or less, highlighting your education, work experience, current employment and volunteer work with APTA and other organizations. Include any other information you wish to share. I am an Arkansas/Mississippi educated PT with my BS in 1991, transitional DPT in 2007, and case management cert in 2014. Living in Leland, MS and practicing at Delta Regional Medical Center the past 25+ years has opened my eyes to the difficulty rural Mississippians, especially those struggling in poverty, have with access to healthcare, namely physical therapy For the past few years I have wanted to become more involved in the MPTA and/or the APTA, but so far the best I have accomplished is to contact my state reps and congressmen on healthcare issues by email. I strongly believe we need insurance reform and healthcare reform to assist this population and hope with more intensive involvement in our state association I will be able to be a stronger advocate.


Name: Janet P. Slaughter, PT, DPT, PCS

In 100 words or less, prepare a statement of how your experience and expertise could be used in the office you seek to further the objectives of the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Please be sure to include any experience you have that is specifically relevant to the position for which you have been nominated. I feel that I could be an asset to the Nominating Committee due to my 42 years of clinical practice as a physical therapist licensed in the state of Mississippi. I have contacts across the state with the older PT community and now, because of my position at the PT school, I also have contacts with the new graduate PTs. I feel this will come in handy in taking nominations for the Ben Piazza award.

In 100 words or less, explain your perceptions of the direction the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association should take in the future and how your goals for the position you seek will affect this end. I feel the MPTA seeks a wide variety of experience to fill their positions in order to better serve the PT profession in the state. Our different backgrounds offer diversity and insight into the varied issues in the practice of PT in Mississippi. I feel that I bring some diversity to the table due to being one of five Pediatric Board Certified Physical Therapists in the state. I feel that through MPTA we can advocate for the profession. 

Provide brief biographical information in 100 words or less, highlighting your education, work experience, current employment and volunteer work with APTA and other organizations. Include any other information you wish to share. I have been practicing physical therapy in the state of Mississippi for 42 years. I have been teaching in the School of Health Related Professions in the Department of Physical Therapy for 9 years. My primary practice area is pediatrics. I am currently the director of the developing Pediatric Residency Program at UMMC. My volunteer service includes providing pro bono services to families that need PT and cannot afford it or their insurance will not pay. I also volunteer at RideABILITY, a therapeutic riding program for children with developmental disabilities, and the local Special Olympics. I am currently serving on a state interagency coordinating council for Early Intervention.

Name: Rusty Whitten, PT, DPT

In 100 words or less, prepare a statement of how your experience and expertise could be used in the office you seek to further the objectives of the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Please be sure to include any experience you have that is specifically relevant to the position for which you have been nominated. I am currently serving as the Assistant Director of OP Rehab which involves managing our clerical office, scheduling and patient management. In this role I represent our clerical office members and patients in meetings with our hospital board, directors and executive officers. I was also my PT school class president so I was intricately involved in meetings with our faculty, students and directors in how to improve our curriculum, schedules and student involvement. I am also very involved with marketing and generating revenues so I have people and communication skills that I believe would help me in this office.

In 100 words or less, explain your perceptions of the direction the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association should take in the future and how your goals for the position you seek will affect this end. - I believe the MPTA does a good job of keeping in touch with its members, providing us with opportunities to serve, get involved and help the upcoming PT’s out of school get on their feet. I believe the MPTA can use this to improve PT availability to the state population at large by starting to address opening up direct access to PT. I believe in this position I can help start that fire and help this movement gain some ground. I also believe in this position I can help facilitate membership growth, interest in involvement and help get the message of MPTA to new grads in order to get them involved.

Provide brief biographical information in 100 words or less, highlighting your education, work experience, current employment and volunteer work with APTA and other organizations. Include any other information you wish to share. I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Corinth, MS. I graduated with my DPT from UTHSC Memphis in 2013 where I was the class President and involved with the student side of the TPTA and APTA. I attended both CSM and TPTA Day on the Hill while in school and saw how interesting the legislative side of our profession was and have been wanting to get further involved since. I was also involved with the TPTA while living and working in Memphis. I am actively involved in my community both at church where we serve a low-income housing district by doing outreach events, cookouts, fundraising and other events as well as in our city’s parks and recreation. I am a softball coach and I have helped with little league baseball as well. I am new to getting involved in higher level events with APTA/MPTA but would like to get my foot in the door to serve our organization. My wife Sara and I have been married for 7 years and have 2 dogs, a German shepherd named Ziva and a blue Doberman named Kota.