Lynda D. Woodruff, PT, PhD, FAAPT, a nationally recognized and highly esteemed trailblazer and change agent in the profession of physical therapy, passed away on March 20, 2018 at the age of 70. A native of Lynchburg, VA, Lynda was A leader in her community, she broke racial barriers with valor and unrivaled strength, as one of two African-American students to integrate E. C. Glass High School in 1962. Dr. Woodruff spent her life’s work committed to scholastic excellence. She was instrumental in launching numerous physical therapy programs throughout the United States and was credited with developing the inaugural post-baccalaureate physical therapy program in the state of Georgia. Among a myriad of accomplishments, she authored more than 30 professional publications in scientific journals and was highly respected and deemed a subject matter expert in the profession of physical therapy. Woodruff’s work made significant advances in research and evidence-based practice—most notably in the areas of clinical electrophysiology, laser therapy and health disparities.
As an academician, Dr. Woodruff was the first African American to join the faculty in the Division of Physical Therapy at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also served as an assistant professor at Georgia State University, became the founding director and professor at the University of North Georgia (formerly North Georgia State College and State University) and was also affiliated with Alabama State University, Morehouse School of Medicine and Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She was a founding member of the American Academy of Physical Therapy, a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. as well as several other prestigious and professional organizations. For nearly 40 years, as a member of the Partners of the Americas, she worked relentlessly to build strong collaborations between Brazil and North America to establish an exchange program for faculty and students in the profession of physical therapy.