Double distinction

June was a good month for Northeastern University’s post-baccalaureate Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, as a student and the program’s director received 2011 American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) awards.

Clinical instructor Sonya L. Larrieux received an APTA Minority Faculty Development Scholarship Award. Fourth-year graduate student Li Li has been awarded an APTA Minority Scholarship.

“This is exceptional recognition for both Sonya and Li,” said Maura Iversen, chair of the Physical Therapy Program in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. “These awards recognize their outstanding commitment to community service and to academic excellence.”

“The stature of our Physical Therapy program continues to increase,” noted Bouvé Dean Stephen Zoloth. “To have a student and faculty member win these prestigious awards is a testament to the innovative, cutting-edge work taking place at Bouvé. Li and Sonya are to be congratulated for bringing such distinction to the program.”

Larrieux, who joined the faculty in 1993, is pursuing her doctorate in the Law and Public Policy Program in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Her research focuses on disparities in health and health-care delivery and her dissertation will explore access, delivery and patient outcomes for physical therapy services in Massachusetts.

The $8,000 award will help Larrieux — who has presented at local, national and interdisciplinary conferences and coauthored a monograph on Caribbean culture as part of an APTA continuing education course — secure the Medicare dataset she needs to analyze her research.

Larrieux is also the recipient of Northeastern’s Kennerson Faculty Scholarship Award, which recognizes commitment to working on an interdisciplinary team serving urban neighbors, and a service award from the Boston Public School’s Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers.

Born in China, Li has been singled out previously for her scholarship, public service and cultural competence. She won the Bouvé Kennerson Award for designing exercise and fall-prevention programs for the elderly in Chinatown. After the devastating earthquake in Sichuan two years ago, Li returned to China to help those who were injured.

Last winter, Li volunteered to help children with severe burns and trauma through HandReach, where she serves as a board member. Last summer, she returned to China with two faculty members to continue that work.

This spring, Li accompanied more than a dozen fifth-year physical therapy students to Ecuador to volunteer at an orphanage. Li’s $6,000 award will help her to continue her volunteer work with children in China and Ecuador.