now called Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy

About Us

Association Mission, Vision, Value Proposition

The Section on Women’s Health is a professional association offering membership and education to 3,000 physical therapists who treat patients across the life span, from young athletes and childbearing women to elderly men and peri-menopausal women. The SoWH offers access to the Journal on Women’s Health Physical Therapy, education courses, lab training by leading physical therapists and a PT Locator virtual director for patients seeking local PTs.

MISSION: Our mission is to advance global excellence in abdominal and pelvic health through evidence-based practice, innovative education, research and social responsibility.

VISION: As a global authority in abdominal and pelvic health, we transform society by empowering professionals and people everywhere.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Join our member-led, collaborative, nonprofit community! We are committed to education, research and promotion of personalized care in abdominal and pelvic physical therapy. Learn more about member benefits.

Association Leadership

Association Governance

The following document contains the policies and procedures of the Section on Women’s Health (SoWH). The documents within will be reviewed annually for additions and modifications.

Strategic Plan

Strategic Goals 2019-2021:

  • #1 Education: Deliver best-in-class education to support member-focused development, growth, and knowledge
  • #2 Community: Provide the leading platform and network for professionals committed to advancing excellence in pelvic and abdominal physical therapy
  • #3 Research/Knowledge: SOWH is a continual, effective source of information, data, and research on and for the profession
  • #4 Operational Excellence: Ensure that SOWH’s management partnership, operations and resources (talent, time, and funds) are fully optimized to support the organization’s goals, objectives, vision, and mission


Association History

Elizabeth Noble founded the Section on Women’s Health of the American Physical Therapy Association in 1977 under the original name of the Section on Obstetrics and Gynecology. The professional association served as a resource for continuing education and knowledge needed by physical therapists interested in healthcare of women before, during and after pregnancy.

Today, however, the scope of practice for more than 3,000 SoWH members has widened to include myriad health abdominal and pelvic concerns of women, men and children: incontinence, pelvic/vaginal pain, prenatal and postpartum musculoskeletal pain, osteoporosis, rehabilitation following breast surgery, lower back pain, lymphedema, conditions specific to the female athlete, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, wellness and exercise.

Members voted to change the Section name in 1995 to Section on Women’s Health to mark the specialized education required to address women’s physical therapy needs. In 2011, the organization updated its mission and vision statements to recognize SoWH members who also treat males affected by incontinence, pelvic pain, fibromyalgia and osteoporosis.

The Section on Women’s Health continues to focus on its role as a vital resource for physical therapists interested in continuing education, research and lab training from leading physical therapists. Members also receive the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, networking opportunities, a voice in advocating for physical therapy patients and the profession, specialized sessions at APTA conferences and more.

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