Claiborne County physical therapist awarded orthopedic certified specialist

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, September 4, 2019

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HARROGATE — Heather Smith Harvey PT, OCS, MTC was awarded the professional designation of board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Harvey is a long time local of Claiborne County with 11 years of experience in private practice and 16 total years of clinical experience as a physical therapist.

When Harvey was asked why she pursued a clinical specialization, she replied “Becoming a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy has been a goal of mine since graduating from UT in 2003. It is another way I can demonstrate my commitment to pursuing the highest level of skill with which to best serve my patients.”

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Heather graduated in 2003 from University of Tennessee Health Science Center with a master’s of physical therapy degree. She also holds certifications in manual therapy and dry needling. She is the owner of Pinnacle Performance Physical Therapy in Harrogate.

To obtain board certification, candidates must submit evidence of required clinical practice in one of nine specialty areas: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Sports and Women’s Health Physical Therapy. In addition, candidates must successfully complete a rigorous examination, demonstrating specialized knowledge and advanced clinical proficiency in a specialty area of physical therapist practice.

Certifications are valid for 10 years. For re-certifications, ABPTS has developed a maintenance model that focuses on continuing competence of the physical therapist specialist. This new “Maintenance of Specialist Certification” model includes the following elements: professional standing and direct patient care hours, commitment to lifelong learning through professional development, practice performance through examples of patient care and clinical reasoning, and cognitive expertise through a test of knowledge in the profession. To date, more than 16,000 physical therapists are board-certified clinical specialists.

ABPTS was established by APTA as the governing body that awards certification to physical therapists who meet approved requirements. ABPTS oversees the physical therapy clinical specialist certification and maintenance of specialist certification programs and awards certificates to physical therapists meeting approved requirements. Please go to to learn more.