Tag Archives: #careerdevelopment

AAOMPT Annual Conference

I have always tried to keep an open mind when it comes to where and what I would like to practice, but the reason I decided to attend PT school was because I loved using my hands on people. After a year of musculoskeletal classes affiliated with the Fellowship of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists, I knew I wanted to pursue manual therapy further.

A classmate and I decided to attend the annual conference for AAOMPT in San Antonio in October of 2014, and the experience was life-changing and reaffirming of my passion for evidence-based manual therapy.

The conference’s theme was Clinical Reasoning: The Science, Skills and Value of OMPT

This was a perfect opportunity to continue to build my clinical reasoning skills and listen to some of the best minds in manual therapy, pain science, and rehabilitation in general.

All of the presenters were fascinating, but my favorite session was Neuropathic or Peripheral Nerve Pain in the Causation and Maintenance of many Orthopedic Diagnoses by Jack Stagge. The presentation reminded every therapist to look not only peripherally, but also centrally for causes of pain and went over several tests to help rule in or rule out diagnoses.

Another key aspect of the conference was having all these great minds accessible, specifically on Twitter. Using the hashtag #aaompt2014 I was able to create separate dialogue with other therapists attending the conference. It was this hashtag that led me to meet the great Dr. Emilio “Louie” Puentedura. Louie responded to a remark I made on Twitter, and we hit it off from there.

Dr. Emilio “Louie” Puentedura and I at one of the many events at AAOMPT Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas


The picture above just shows how many great clinicians want to help younger students and clinicians grow in their profession.

I am excited to go back to the conference next year and continue my education in the realm of manual therapy.

2014 Federal Advocacy Forum

Sometimes  an opportunity presents itself, and you are not 100% sure you should take it, but you plunge forward anyway. The American Physical Therapy Association’s Federal Advocacy Forum was just that opportunity. In April of 2014, I was privileged enough to attend this giant advocacy event with three other classmates.

I was nervous as the event called for us to speak to our Congresspeople on issues that affected physical therapists, but the entire first day was spent prepping us for these meetings. I learned the best ways to engage staff whether through email or phone calls. I learned that most Congresspeople really do care about their constituents, but there are so many issues they have a hard time keeping up with them.

When we actually went to Capitol Hill, I was armed with passion and a knowledge of the bills we were looking for support on and why we were looking for support on them. We rarely actually saw the Congresspeople. We mainly saw support staff related to Health Policy. Every one we came across was pleasant and willing to listen, and we garnered support with nearly every person with which we spoke.

In the end, I realized how important advocacy is for our profession and patients. People of Congress are inundated with bills, causes, and problems, and it is impossible to be an expert on all of it. This is why WE need to be experts on it.

I created a network that weekend and have continued to remain in contact with most of those people through the IPTA. I know my future in PT will be a future of State and Federal Advocacy, and I cannot wait to push our profession further.

Fellow classmates and I in front of the Capitol building.
Fellow classmates and I in front of the Capitol building.
The Illinois Delegates outside of Senator Mark Kirk's Office
The Illinois Delegates outside of Senator Mark Kirk’s Office


In October of 2014, I attended the American Association of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists annual conference. I have an entirely different reflection on that, but it led me to join the Student Special Interest Group for AAOMPT. I became the Fundraising Chair and became a member of a great group of young leaders in physical therapy.

Technology is a wonderful thing, and it allows the SSIG to meet virtually once a quarter. We participate in Google Hangouts to plan events, discuss our goals and just share ideas. It is so rewarding to speak with other students with the same interests, but with different experiences.

We were able to meet at Combined Sections Meeting and talk about our individual futures as well as where we saw the AAOMPT sSIG in the next year. Four of the five attending were planning to apply for residencies. This was great for me to hear as I am applying to residencies, but am apprehensive with where to start. It was refreshing to meet face to face with the people I had been collaborating with for 6 months.

I have already planned one fundraising event for CSM and raised over $200 to fund student travel to the AAOMPT annual meeting. I am planning another event to provide travel for one more student.

I never expected to join a sSIG and be a chair member, but if there is one thing I have learned from life and school, it is that being open to anything will provide unexpected opportunities and valuable experiences.


AMA-MSS Professional Experience

On Friday, June 14, 2013, I, with a few of my classmates and career PTs, was a proud representative of the APTA at the American Medical Association’s Medical Student Section Annual Meeting. The APTA purchased a promotional booth in order to boost awareness about the physical therapy profession to medical students.

While the attendance of medical students was low due to other scheduled speakers, I met several medical professionals who were attending the meeting and also promoting boothes.

One such person was a medical student named Shiv Gaglani. He was advocating for the use of The Smartphone Physical. If you visited the website, you can see how advantageous these apparatuses are. If you did not go to the website, I will tell you the Smartphone Physical is an onsite, iPhone diagnostic tool for health professionals. I was able to use the blood pressure cuff, ophthalmoscope and the pulse oximeter. All three were easy to use and the readouts were perfect. I cannot overstate how amazed I was at this technology. There are so many scenarios where this technology can be used. I cannot wait to see what medGaget produces next.

Shiv also is the co-founder and CEO of Osmosis.org.  This is a terrific website/smartphone application designed to help medical students study for everything from tests to USMLE. While we both lamented about the amount of information health professional students needed to recall at any given moment, Shiv and I talked about how useful the application was for PT students, and I promised to promote the app to my fellow students.

This experience reminded me of my time in the fitness industry manning boothes for my former employer Fitness Experts, advocating products and in general, talking fitness to like-minded people. The experience was invaluable because it forced me to hone my skills speaking with people I did not know and building relationships. The difference is, I am advocating for an entire profession. As the health services world becomes smaller and smaller, PTs have to be able to advocate and educate other professionals on our expertise and value when treating patients. No matter how small the audience, that should always be the first goal when interacting with health professionals especially physicians.

I met one other person whom I found a great source of information. Adella Deacon is a DPT who transitioned recently to JD from Kent Law School. We are both career changers, so her advice on changing from physical therapy to law was extremely helpful. I asked Adella why she maintained her PT license as well as her law license and she just answered simply that the urge to help people takes many forms and she found maintaining her PT license helped her stay in touch with the health community.

I hope to continue to attend events such as this because I never know what person or experience will present itself to me. It also helps maintain the professional aspects of my life that were pushed aside when I became a student again. Sometimes I lose sight of the experiences I have had outside of school because I am always studying or reading or sleeping, but this was the perfect event to jar my memory and reinvigorate my professional skills.

Fellow classmates and I manning the booth at the conference
Fellow classmates and I manning the booth at the conference