Alumni Awards

We celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni with awards for Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader. Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy Alumni Association presented the awards to these individuals on February 13, 2020. 

Distinguished Alumni Award 
Alan Lee ’94

Certified Wound Specialist
Professor, Mount St. Mary’s University
Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy

Alan Lee, PT, PhD, DPT received a Bachelor’s Degree from UNLV, a Master of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Gerontology, a DPT from Creighton University, and a PhD from Nova Southeastern University.

He has authored at least 21 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and held elected positions in the APTA’s HPA Technology SIG, The Academy of Physical Therapy Education, the Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy, and the American Telemedicine Association.

He was nominated for this award by and with support from:
•    Duke PT Class of 1994 Classmates Kelley Kubota & Mike Billings
•    Professor Emeritus Robert C. Bartlett, PT, FAPTA
•    Duke PT&OT Director Dan Dore, PT, DPT, MPA

“I would say that Alan has established himself as a content expert and pace-setting ground breaker in the area of telerehab (telehealth with a PT focus). As a physical therapist he is a recognized international leader in research in this area, as evidenced by his extensive scholarly record and excellence in innovative geriatric physical therapy….In two decades of PT service, Dr Lee has been a catalyst for advancing geriatric and wound care physical therapy, with his active involvement in the related APTA academies, and his work for careful promotion of telerehab PT, always holding a high standard for clinical excellence, modeled in his own clinical practice, and his involvement with evidence-based continuing education. The specific discoveries from Dr Lee’s research, sustained for over a decade of intense research and clinical practice, have certainly driven positive change, defined best-practice and promoted evidence-based practice of telerehabilitation.” Dennis W. Fell, MD, PT Professor Emeritus, USA Physical Therapy Department

2017-present: Telehealth Lead, APTA Council of Frontiers in Rehabilitation Science and Technology (FIRST Council)
2016: Augusta University’s Distinguished Lectureship
2011: APTA Adopt-A-Doc Award
2009: Scripps Healthcare Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship
2008, 2009: Scripps Clinical Education Loan Scholarship
2008: APTA Minority Faculty Development Award
2002, 2003, 2004: Scripps President’s Scholarship
1994: National AMBUCS Physical Therapy Scholarship
1994: Intermountain HealthCare Physical Therapy Student Award
1994: Nevada WICHE Physical Therapy Scholarship


Emerging Leader Alumni Award 
Michael Schmidt, ’12


Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists
Orthopaedic and Geriatric Certified Specialist

2018: American Physical Therapy Association Emerging Leader Award
2018-2020: North Carolina Physical Therapy Association Secretary
2017-2018: NCPTA Director at Large
2016-2019: NCPTA Nominating Committee
2016-2018: NCPTA Capital District Chair and Duke Health Orthopaedic Residency Co-Director
2015-2019: NCPTA Spinal Manipulation Taskforce
2014-present: Duke Health Orthopaedic Manual Fellowship Director
2013-14: Duke Health Orthopaedic Manual Fellow
2012-2013: inaugural Duke Health Orthopaedic Resident

“After one year serving on the NCPTA board, his board colleagues recognized his dedication, leadership potential, and skill in working with others, by electing him to serve as the boards representative to the NCPTA executive committee. He now serves on the NCPTA executive committee where he has played an active and crucial role in the management of the association, a national search for the executive director, and the creation of a new strategic plan for the association. Mike is a thoughtful, reflective, and collaborative leader. Through his involvement in entry-level education, his leadership as a residency and fellowship director, and his upward trajectory in association leadership Mike demonstrates a commitment to our association, profession, students, and patients.” Kyle Covington, Duke DPT Class of 2004

“Dr. Schmidt is a valuable asset to the team and all-around great guy. Dr. Schmidt is honest, dependable, and incredibly hard-working. Above all, he has an incredible heart and brings his admirable characteristics of empathy and true passion for helping the patient realize their potential for wellness. He has a passion for the field of physical therapy and shares this passion with both the Department of PT & OT at Duke Health as a Clinical Services…is an advocate for change and has made significant contributions to the physical therapy profession. He is committed to performance improvement and ethical physical therapy practices in the local community and has used his leadership to advocate for change and clinical advancement in the physical therapist profession. He served a key role in the bill NCPTA introduced to eliminate the need for a physician referral to perform spinal manipulation. He has additionally implemented an innovative model for the optimization of spine evaluation and treatment within the Duke Department of PT and OT.” Beth Buzzell, Duke DPT Class of 2014

"I am proud to have Mike as a fellow alumnus of Duke’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.” Erik Carvalho, Duke DPT Class of 2011