The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) has recognized Dr. Lou Fincher, founding Dean for the Emory & Henry College School of Health Sciences, for her contributions to the advancement of women in the field of athletic training.
Fincher is the recipient of the Gail Weldon Award of Excellence. The award recognizes one athletic trainer each year who has displayed an exceptional commitment to mentoring, professional development and life balancing for women athletic trainers or significant contributions to improve the health care of females provided by athletic trainers.
Fincher has more than 30 years of teaching and health care experience. Before beginning work at the Marion, Va. campus of Emory & Henry College, Fincher served as chair of the Department of Kinesiology at The University of Texas at Arlington (2009-2014), founding program director for UT Arlington's CAATE accredited Athletic Training Education Program (2000-2009), and president and C.E.O. of the Joe. W. King Orthopedic Institute at the Texas Orthopedic Hospital in Houston, Texas (1998-2000).
Fincher is also very active in professional service, particularly in the area of health professions education. As the chair for the NATA Professional Education Committee, she coordinated the development of the fifth edition of the Athletic Training Education Competencies. This publication establishes the knowledge, skills and abilities that accredited athletic training education programs must include in their academic programs. She also serves as a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, as well as manuscript reviewer for several other peer-reviewed health professions journals.
The Gail Weldon Award of Excellence was established to remember a pioneer in the advancement of women in the field of athletic training. Weldon served as the first female athletic trainer hired by the U.S. Olympic Committee. She was selected for the Olympic Sports Medicine Staff in 1980 and served as the Director of Athletic Training and Physical Therapy for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
The first program for the School of Health Sciences located on the Emory & Henry College campus in Marion, Va. will be the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program. This new graduate discipline will be a three-year program consisting of 115 credit hours of coursework including three full-time internships at affiliated clinical sites. The first class of students is expected to begin in January of 2015.