The Richardsons are the only husband & wife to have both served as president of the ARHP (now the Association of Rheumatology Professionals [ARP]). Mr. Richardson was president in 1977, & Dr. Richardson served in the post in 2013.
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2019
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That’s how the pair, who have been married since 1977, first met. “Jan was one of the bright stars I hired,” says Mr. Richardson. “She’s a great practitioner and a pioneer in educating physical therapists.”
Today, Dr. Richardson is an emeritus faculty member of Duke University, where she ran the physical therapy program for nearly 15 years. She started the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.
The Richardsons are the only husband and wife to have both served as president of the ARHP (now the Association of Rheumatology Professionals [ARP]). Mr. Richardson was president in 1977, and Dr. Richardson served in the post in 2013.
As well as serving as ARHP president, Dr. Richardson has fulfilled a variety
of committee roles. She is currently a member-at-large on the ARP Executive Committee and is one of two ARP representatives on the ACR Finance Committee.
Mr. Richardson just finished service on the ARHP Membership and Nominations Committee and recently started a term on the ACR’s Communications and Marketing Committee.
Dr. Richardson lauds her husband for helping people achieve their potential. “Bob doesn’t tell you, but throughout his career he has mentored people and sees things in people they don’t often see in themselves,” she says. “He makes a point of noticing and fostering and advancing people’s careers. … After all these years, he’s still my mentor.”
Both the Richardsons believe strongly in the importance of family and community, and in giving back. They believe physical therapists have a critical role to play in helping keep people healthy as part of multidisciplinary care teams and have worked to increase the number of physical therapists specializing in rheumatology.
“There has been less emphasis on academic preparation in schools to introduce professionals into the field of rheumatology,” says Dr. Richardson. “I think that has also affected membership numbers in our profession and ARHP, … but as we have moved to doctoral degrees as the entry level degree, we have been focusing on developing and training practitioner scientists.”
Mr. Richardson has brought his expertise to another of their passions: golf. He conducts golf boot camps—physical training, conditioning, flexibility training and technique, focused in particular on players over age 50—at his local club.
The couple spends as much time as possible with their family, including daughter Kara, who is a clinical research director in California, and son Ryan, who lives in North Carolina. With the advent of twins, Ryan and his wife recently made the Richardsons grandparents.
“I hold on to a lot of the family values passed on to me from several generations, and I do my best to pass that on to my children and will do that with my grandchildren,” says Mr. Richardson. In the long run, when you look back at your life, the Richardsons say, family is what’s important. “Careers are second to family,” Mr. Richardson says.