Pacific professor honored by American Physical Therapy Association for community impact

Todd Davenport and students

A faculty member since 2007, Todd Davenport has embraced the university's student-centered approach to education by supporting physical therapy students’ community involvement. 

University of the Pacific physical therapy Professor Todd Davenport has received the Societal Impact Award from the American Physical Therapy Association for demonstrating compassion, philanthropy, and a commitment to improving society through physical therapy.

A faculty member since 2007, Davenport has embraced the university's student-centered approach to education by supporting physical therapy students’ community involvement.

“It's a real honor to be recognized by my peers and an organization like the American Physical Therapy Association, which values societal transformation and welfare,” said Davenport. “I see this award as an acknowledgement of all the work done by our physical therapy students, faculty and administrators. It shows the environment at Pacific provides students and faculty the opportunity to serve our communities.”

Davenport has been instrumental in identifying community needs and building partnerships with organizations where his students can put learning into practice.

Pacific alumna Brenda Huey ’12 organized a campaign called Perfect 10 at GymStars Gymnastics in Stockton. Funded by First 5 San Joaquin, which supports well-being of children through their first five years, Huey taught gymnastics to more than 20 local children with special developmental needs to promote the importance and benefits of having physically active lifestyles.

“As physical therapists it's important to become advocates for change to allow patients to receive services beyond treatment in the clinic,” said Huey. “Dr. Davenport supported me in those efforts because he was invested in my professional and personal goals. It was so nice working with a professor that listened to what was important to me and supported my work.”

Davenport also worked closely with the San Joaquin County Office of Education and Stockton Unified School District to develop the Healthy Children Program. Funded through Kaiser Permanente for ten years, the program worked with local youth development and after school programs supporting historically underserved communities.

Davenport and Pacific physical therapy students created a physical activity and nutrition curriculum to educate more than 3,000 students a year in after-school programs. Students learned, for example, about the importance of drinking sugar-free beverages and also participated in organized active play.

“The Healthy Children project was student run and I mostly served as a mentor for them as they worked to develop the curriculum,” said Davenport. “Pacific students are invested and involved in serving our community. It's incredibly rewarding to steward them through the process and see them develop as professionals.”

Davenport recently started a partnership with the San Joaquin Department of Aging to explore fall prevention programming, involving Pacific faculty members Dr. Preeti Oza and Dr. David Gillette.

“For our community’s older adults, some of the most common causes of trauma and early mortality are hip and forearm fractures, and head trauma caused by a fall,” explained Davenport. “Being able to keep people on their feet is really important as a public health measure.”

In 2019, Davenport received the Clarence W. Hultgren Service Award from the California Physical Therapy Association which honors individuals who have provided exceptional service to the community and in 2014 he received the United Methodist Teacher Scholar Award for excellence in teaching, civility and a commitment to value-centered education.

“Dr. Davenport is a dedicated teacher-scholar for whom students and the community have always come first,” said Nicoleta Bugnariu, the founding dean of Pacific's School of Health Sciences. “He is very deserving of the Societal Impact Award, as evidenced by the extraordinary service and dedication that he has given to his students and patients.”

Davenport will be recognized at the American Physical Therapy Association Centennial Gala Weekend in Alexandria, Va., in September.