The Steven Kolumban Award

An award has been created by the PTA Special Interest Group, (PTA SIG) to recognize those assistants, who are members in the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association, who have contributed to the betterment of physical therapy Steven Kolumban was a caring individual and teacher who passed away on June 4, 1993.  Because of his dedication to the profession of Physical Therapy, the PTA SIG has chosen to honor him.


Steven Kolumban graduated from the University of Maryland and received his certificate in Physical Therapy from D.T. Watson in Pittsburgh in 1957.  In 1959 he was asked by his church if he would be willing to do mission work in India.  He discussed this with his new wife and very shortly thereafter, they moved to India.

While in India, Mr. Kolumban and his wife Barbara, an R.N., worked in two different settings.  The first eleven years were spent at the Christian Medical College and Hospital.  The majority of the patients seen suffered from complications related to Hansens Disease (Leprosy).  Most of the facilities had  been established but Steven took the initiative to develop the Prosthetics and Bracing department.  In addition to enhancing functional mobility, Mr. Kolumban focused care on prevention of limb loss.

The Kolumban’s would come home on furloughs periodically to visit family and attend continuing education courses.  In 1969 while he was visiting, Mr. Kolumban received his Masters in Physical Therapy from New York University.  This enabled him to manage the Physical Therapy Department and head the Physical Therapy Technician School at the Schieffelin Leprosy Research and Training Center in India.  Many of his students later came to the United States to pursue degrees in Physical Therapy.

After 24 years in India, the Kolumban’s came home to stay.  They settled in Gettysburg, PA.  Mr. Kolumban couldn’t get the “teaching bug” out of his system.  In 1984 he started and directed the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Mont Alto Campus, Pennsylvania State University. He worked hard to maintain the school’s accreditation and ensure that his students received an education that was well rounded as well as fun.  Annually, when the school year was over, Mr. Kolumban would go back to India for the summer.

He was scheduled to return to the country and people he loved in the Summer of 1993 when he passed away.  In his memory, the PTA Special Interest Group would like to honor an assistant who gives to the profession and the community much like Steven Kolumban did.  Someone, who is selfless of their time, their energy, and their love.

The PTA SIG is made up of PPTA members addressing Physical Therapist Assistant issues within the state of Pennsylvania.  It is primarily made up of PTA’s but PT’s and students are also members.  There are no additional dues to join the PTA SIG.  By joining the PTA SIG you: become a voting member, receive our newsletters, help with generating topics for the Annual Conference, become eligible to run for a PTA SIG Office, elect an individual to become PA PTA Caucus Representative  for the House of Delegates, and become a part of the voice for PTA’s in Pennsylvania.  This is the only group that represents the PTA in the PPTA and has a representative at the PPTA Board of Director’s Meetings.  Please, become a member.