Commander receives top honor for ‘groundbreaking’ physical therapy career

By Lori NewmanSeptember 21, 2022

Commander receives top honor for ‘groundbreaking’ physical therapy career
Then U.S. Army Maj. Deydre Teyhen, physical therapist, served as the officer-in-charge of Task Force 10 Delta Med in Al Kut, Iraq, from December 2008 to June 2009. She is currently the commanding general at Brooke Army Medical Center and recently received the Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association, the association’s highest membership category. (U.S. Army courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Lori Newman) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 21, 2022) -- Brooke Army Medical Center Commanding General U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Deydre Teyhen recently received the Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association, the association’s highest membership category.

This honor is eligible to APTA physical therapists who have demonstrated unwavering efforts to advance the physical therapy profession for more than 15 years, prior to the time of nomination.

“I was really surprised, honored, and humbled to receive the Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA recognition,” said Teyhen, who started her Army Physical Therapy career in 1993. “They have given out less than 300 of these recognitions – for an organization that is over 100 years old. It was completely unexpected.

“I was surprised because only a few military physical therapists have received this recognition and most have received it after they retired from the military and were on their second careers post-military,” she added. “I am incredibly humbled to join a group of amazing physical therapists that have really shaped our profession.”

Teyhen received her Bachelor of Arts in Sports Science at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned her master’s degree in Physical Therapy from the U.S. Army-Baylor University, completed her Ph.D. in Biomechanics from the University of Texas, and earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Baylor University.

“I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, but I was not sure which field,” Teyhen said. “I loved fitness, athletics, and sports and found physical therapy to be a perfect fit.”

The general said she decided to join the Army after visiting the physical therapy clinic at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, during her undergraduate program.

“I realized there would be nothing more fulfilling than to serve America’s finest – so I joined the Army so I could both be a physical therapist and serve our nation’s best,” she said.

For more than 29 years, Teyhen has served in positions of leadership in and out of military treatment facilities and research labs, in the United States and overseas, as well as in a combat zone in Iraq.

“Her military career has been groundbreaking, becoming the first active duty physical therapist in the U.S. Army's history to be selected for promotion to brigadier general,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Dingle, 45th Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and Medical Command commanding general. “She remains one of my most trusted advisors in the areas of injury prevention, human performance, holistic health and rehabilitation.”

“It's this legacy of service, leadership, advocacy and excellence that I ask you to recognize with a Catherine Worthingham Fellowship,” he added in his nomination letter. “She is truly deserving of this great honor.”

The award was named for Catherine Worthingham, a physical therapist who was effective, respectful, and honest, and motivated others to make an impact within the physical therapy profession. She was also a visionary who demonstrated leadership across the domains of advocacy, education, practice and research.

The purpose of the Catherine Worthingham Fellow designation, or FAPTA, is to honor recipients and inspire physical therapists to attain the highest level of professional excellence and impact in terms of advancing the profession.

“Dr. Teyhen has truly been a role model within the physical therapy profession who has demonstrated the vision and leadership that honors the memory of Dr. Catherine Worthingham,” said Dr. Skip Gill, Baylor University professor. “(She) is truly a nationally recognized leader, researcher and educator who has been instrumental in furthering the practice and vision of physical therapy. Her contributions have been continuous and substantial across nearly three decades in a career with an increasingly positive trajectory for the betterment of our profession and the patients whom we serve as clinicians, educators, and researchers.”

Dr. Dan Rhon, director of Musculoskeletal Research in Primary Care at BAMC, said, “I cannot think of anyone that better espouses the values and vision set forth by Catherine Worthingham and whose career has aligned with a similar impact on our profession.”

Teyhen advises the next generation to understand their “why” and then pursue their passion. “As the old saying goes -- life is not a dress rehearsal,” she said. “Once you find your passion, you don’t have a job -- you have a calling -- and then every day is truly a gift.”