Tiger Tracks: Pacific Physical Therapy Online!

News and Notes from University of the Pacific's Doctor of Physical Therapy program

Welcome to our incoming Director of Clinical Education, Dr. Casey Nesbit!

January 20th, 2013 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

It is with great pleasure that we introduce Casey Nesbit, PT, DSc, DPT, PCS, who has joined the Department of Physical Therapy as an Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education. Dr. Nesbit has moved here from Virginia where, as a pediatric clinical specialist, she had a private practice and was a lead therapist in a county school district. Since 2006 she has spent every summer practicing at a hospital in Malawi (Africa). She holds a certificate in epidemiological and biostatistical principles and methods (Drexel University), and her research interests include environmental influences on adolescent obesity and clinical reasoning. She can be reached at cnesbit@pacific.edu, tel. 209-946-2399. Welcome, Dr. Nesbit!

Comments Off on Welcome to our incoming Director of Clinical Education, Dr. Casey Nesbit!

Reaching beyond the walls of University of the Pacific: Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

December 30th, 2012 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

On Monday October 29th 2012, The University of the Pacific DPT class of 2013 along with instructors Dr. Katrin Baxter and Grace McNelis invited the Parkinson Disease Support Group to join them for an afternoon of activities designed not only to assist in the education of students, but to help enrich the lives of community members dealing with the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease.  Each of the participants received individualized attention including a health review, fall risk prevention education, and exercises that they could use at home to help lead more active lifestyles.  Participants also had sessions with Nintendo’s Wii playing games that challenged their balance and coordination.  Finally, participants had an introduction to the innovative LSVT BIG therapeutic movement program lead by Katie Mockler, who is also an alumnus of University of the Pacific’s DPT class of 2010.

As students, it was a great opportunity to take the didactic portion of the program and project it into a real life clinical setting.  This turned out to be a tremendous learning experience made possible by the community members who took the time and effort to come out for the session. Each and every one of them was a pleasure to work with.  We only wish we could have had more time to work with them!  We would like to thank Mary Ann Behrens for working with University of the Pacific to provide this opportunity not only to us as learning students, but for us to be able to assist those who might be able to benefit from our knowledge in some way.  We would also like to thank Dr. Katie Mockler for volunteering her time and expertise with the LSVT BIG portion of the event.

Comments Off on Reaching beyond the walls of University of the Pacific: Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

University of the Pacific Physical Therapy at the 2012 Combined Sections Meeting

February 13th, 2012 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

Faculty, students, and alumni made a variety of strong contributions to the recent Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, which was held February 8-11 in Chicago, Illinois. This year’s event drew over 11,000 physical therapists from across the world for an extended weekend of educational sessions, research presentations, and professional advocacy events.

* Dr. Katrin Baxter presented a platform presention entitled, “Effects of home-based, intensive, short-term locomotor treadmill training on gross motor function in young children with cerebral palsy” Co-authors on the presentation included Stefani McNeil (Easter Seals Superior California) and Dr. Jim Mansoor (Physical Therapy). Dr. Baxter presented an education session entitled, “Evidence to Practice: Optimizing Walking Outcomes for Young Children with Neuromotor Impairment” with Dr. Denise Begnoche (Drexel University). Dr. Baxter also presented a poster entitled, “An exercise-based work injury prevention program reduces injury rates and costs in urban firefighters.” Co-authors on this project included a community clinician Mat Moore (Physical Edge in Davis, CA) and Dr. Todd Davenport (Physical Therapy).

* Dr. Katie Graves presented the platform presentation entitled, “Development of a Decision Rule to Predict Unsuccessful Performance during a Final Clinical Internship of Student Physical Therapists.” Co-authors on the presentation were Dr. Sandy Bellamy (Physical Therapy) and Dr. Todd Davenport (Physical Therapy).

* Dr. Christy Wilson coordinated and co-moderated the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section platform session as Research Chair of the Section.

* Dr. Todd Davenport presented education sessions entitled “Ankle Instability: Current Concepts for Evaluation and Management” and “The ICF Model and Physical Therapy: 10 Years Later,” alongside co-presenters from organizations including World Health Organization, American Physical Therapy Association, and the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. Dr. Davenport presented the poster entitled “Effort Perception in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and platform presentation entitled “Reduced Submaximal Work Efficiency Differentiates Individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome From Non-Disabled Individuals.” Co-authors on these projects included Dr. Chris Snell (Sport Sciences), Dr. Mark Van Ness (Sport Sciences), Staci Stevens (Pacific Fatigue Laboratory), Jared Stevens (Pacific Fatigue Laboratory), and Ben Larson (COP ’12). Dr. Davenport served on the External Review Committee for the Orthopaedic Section Clinical Research Grant Program. Dr. Davenport was appointed Vice-President of the Foot and Ankle Special Interest Group and as Advisory Board Member of the Clinical Practice Guideline Working Group.

* Recent alumna Dr. Shiren Assaly (Physical Therapy ’11) presented the poster entitled, “Effectiveness of neuromuscular conditioning to prevent anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes.” Co-authors on this project were Dr. Davenport (Physical Therapy) and Dr. Baxter (Physical Therapy).

* Alumni Dr. Mary Massery (Physical Therapy ’04) and Ross Nakaji (Physical Therapy ’97) presented educational sessions. Dr. Massery presented the pre-conference course “Breathing and Postural Control: Applying Cardiopulmonary Strategies to Women’s Health Issues,” and Mr. Nakaji presented a session entitled, “The Future of Physical Therapy: Autonomy and Professionalism Through Evidence-Based Practice and Novel Business Models.”

* Five Physical Therapy alumni were recognized as Board-Certified Clinical Specialists, including Dr. Victor Aguilar (Class of 2003; Orthopaedics and Geriatrics), Dr. Cristian Romanof (Class of 2008; Geriatrics), Dr. Rachel Lee (Class of 2005; Neurology), Dr. Parley Anderson (Class of 2003; Orthopaedics), and David Snyder (Class of 2000; Orthopaedics).

Comments Off on University of the Pacific Physical Therapy at the 2012 Combined Sections Meeting

“Perfect 10 Program” by Brenda Huey (’12) via the PaHS Dean’s Letter

January 12th, 2012 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

Check out the piece written by Brenda Huey (’12) about the Perfect 10 Program in this month’s Dean’s Letter!  Brenda created and organized this program of adaptive gymnastics for children in our community with motor delay with faculty from the Department of Physical Therapy.  A great many thanks to First 5 San Joaquin for their generous support of the program.  We are planning ahead to 2012!!!

Comments Off on “Perfect 10 Program” by Brenda Huey (’12) via the PaHS Dean’s Letter

“Student Perspective on Professional Advocacy” by Genevieve Correa (’12)

January 12th, 2012 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

Our class was fortunate to start school Monday January 9, 2012 at the State Capital to advocate for California SB 924, which will allow Physical Therapists (PTs) to have direct access in CA. It was empowering to meet with statewide PT mentors and student PTs from UCSF and Samuel Merritt to educate legislation for the same cause – Direct Access in CA. I appreciated hearing the history and future of our profession from CPTA President Dr. Syms. Oddly enough, only limited direct access to PTs is available in CA, while less restricted direct access is available on a federal level as well as 36 states including all of our neighboring states (Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Hawaii). Hopefully SB 924 will pass through the California Senate and make it to the Governor’s desk to sign in 2012.

This experience has helped us, as students, to understand the importance of advocating for healthcare services that the public both needs and deserves, which physical therapists can provide safely, effectively, and inexpensively. The mentorship that was provided by dedicated expert physical therapists helped guide us in the right direction so that we can continue the process that others have worked so hard to build. I feel that having this law pass and educating our legislators on the importance of direct access will help cut healthcare costs while allowing for earlier treatment and relief of pain for those that are in need of movement and musculoskeletal disorders. Because of this opportunity I am excited to help advocate for my profession, especially since I know that physical therapy can help change the way people feel and move, which also helps support the public health issues of Healthy People 2020.

I hope that physical therapists and their patients will help advocate for the health and medical services that the public deserves!

Comments Off on “Student Perspective on Professional Advocacy” by Genevieve Correa (’12)

“Advocacy In Action!” by Dr. Katie Graves, PT, DPT, OCS

January 11th, 2012 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

Our Pacific DPT students earned an A+ on behalf of their patients and the citizens of California during their visit to the State Capitol this week. Forty of our Doctor of Physical Therapy students joined professional leaders from the California Physical Therapy Association during the Annual PT Student Legislative Day for an all day advocacy event on Monday, January 9th, 2012. This yearly event began five years ago, as an experiential learning opportunity for our Pacific Physical Therapist students. It has grown to include DPT students from two additional Northern California Universities and physical therapist mentors from throughout the state, totaling over 200 health care advocates.

What an exciting way to begin the first day of the Winter Term! “Class” began at 8:30am on the fourth floor of the State Capitol. Our students received a lecture from CPTA President, James Syms, PT, DSc, ATC, SCS on government affairs, the legislative process and the role of physical therapists in grassroots advocacy. This was followed by a series of scheduled legislative visits, where our students teamed up with a physical therapist mentor and met with various state legislators and their staff. The visits included discussions about direct access to physical therapist services, the education of physical therapist professionals and the future of healthcare in the state of California.

So, the next Pacific DPT student you see… let them put their new skills to the test. Simply ask, “How can California physical therapists help improve their patient’s access to quality, cost-effective healthcare?” and you too can experience how our students are developing into knowledgeable and conscientious healthcare professionals.

Comments Off on “Advocacy In Action!” by Dr. Katie Graves, PT, DPT, OCS

Student Perspective on Guatemala Wheelchair Distribution and Fitting Trip by Chrissy Frieh Hauer (’12) and Ally Tieszen (’12)

November 19th, 2011 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

Day 2:

After getting one day under our belt with the whole operation and chair assembly process we began our day with confidence and excitement.

When we arrived at Hope Haven there were 10 families awaiting us. With our 5 assembled teams we avidly worked throughout the morning to provide the specialized wheelchairs, equipment and education for each child which totaled 14 by noon. Every child along with their family touched our lives in different ways. One little boy who stood out in particular was Estuardo, a 14 year old boy with cerebral palsy (CP), scoliosis and extreme kyphosis. Our team worked for an hour to specialize his chair so he was able to relax, breath and see the world. Also, a little girl named Dulce, which means sweet in spanish, was given a customized Hope Haven chair to fit her needs related to CP. She cried and screamed the entire time we were taking her measurements and fitting her chair until we had her all strapped in and ready to go, and we got her to crack a smile. When she first looked at us and smiled, it was the most amazing feeling in the world. I know we have used the word “amazing” countless times when talking about our experiences, but “amazing” cannot even do this experience and the feelings we have justice.

There is no way to describe what has happened in the past couple days. The only advice we can truly give is that you must experience it yourself. By the end of day three we finished 25 chairs. Over the past two and a half days we completed a total 59 chairs. We took our group picture at the end of the day and said our goodbyes, promising one day soon we will return. Tomorrow we will begin our adventure back to the states. We are left this evening with mixed emotions of excitement to go home and sadness to leave. We will go out for one last group dinner tonight with our amazing teammates and reflect over these last days and plan for the future adventures we want to endure in together.

Final Wheelchair Fitting:

After the whole crew fitted the final wheelchair of the afternoon on the very last day, we decided to get a group photo with all of the Rotarians and employees of Hope Haven to record the wonderful teamwork that had taken place over the course of this experience. On the final photo, we saw one more family walk in looking nervous that they were too late to receive a wheelchair for their 2 year old grandson. At that moment, the wheelchair fitting specialist, his wife, Sandra, Ally and myself volunteered to stay late and immediately began on building him a wheelchair. It was one of the most memorable fittings not because it was the last one but because it was clear that we were helping to change the life of not only a child, but an entire family. With the last fitting completed, we left the Hope Haven factory with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude for all the employees and Rotarians we worked side by side with. But above all, we were most thankful for all the children because they touched our lives in such a profound, indescribable way.

Travel Day Home:

We are happy to report that we all made it safely home from our trip. We got into San Fran last night at 11:30. It is an odd thought to think that we were walking around Antigua just yesterday morning. Now that we are back, it almost seems surreal that we were even there. All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful trip and an amazing experience. We cannot wait until we have another opportunity to work with Hope Haven.

Thank you so much to Rotary for making this possible and giving us this opportunity!

Comments Off on Student Perspective on Guatemala Wheelchair Distribution and Fitting Trip by Chrissy Frieh Hauer (’12) and Ally Tieszen (’12)

Faculty Perspective on Guatemala Wheelchair Distribution and Fitting Trip by Dr. Sandy Bellamy

November 19th, 2011 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

The three of us (Dr. Sandy Bellamy, Associate Professor; Chrissy Frieh Hauer ,’12; and Ally Tieszen, ’12) have thoroughly enjoyed the people and culture of this wonderful country.  We got a taste of how hard-working and industrious the people are when we visited Chichicastenango–the largest open market for textiles and other arts in Central America.  We saw the beauty of Lago de Antitlan—the equivalent of the charm of lake Tahoe but instead of Sierras, it is surrounded by three primary volcanoes.  Each of the villages around the lake is unique in its charm and artistic specialty.  So after two days of immersing ourselves in the fine food and sights, we reached our destination in Antigua with our friends from Rotary.  The people of Rotary Club International are warm and have among them a vast depth and variety of personal experiences in travel where the focus is service to the disabled and poor of the world.  We are working at Hope Haven International-Guatemala with a fantastic group of people who run the factory who manufactures, assembles, and modifies the Hope Haven wheelchair which is the primary piece of equipment that are fitting to children of age range 2-16 years of age.  We work in teams of 3-5 to fit these children, some of them have traveled up to six hours to reach Hope Haven and will wait all day to be fitted for their chair.

Thus far, we are all well and feel so grateful for the opportunity to do this work.  We are overwhelmed with appreciation for the passionate efforts of the local workers here who serve children with special needs, always on a shoe-string budget.  The average worker at Hope Haven makes a good salary for this area, about 8 dollars U.S. a day.

Comments Off on Faculty Perspective on Guatemala Wheelchair Distribution and Fitting Trip by Dr. Sandy Bellamy

2011 White Coat Ceremony Keynote Address: “Professionalism in Physical Therapy” by Parley Anderson, PT, DPT, OCS

November 19th, 2011 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

Today’s White Coat Ceremony signifies a rite of passage. You are moving beyond what is considered being a regular or normal student…and are now entering into what in my opinion is the most wondrous of professions.  You are on your way to achieving your dream of becoming Professional Doctors of Physical Therapy.  From this point forward, it will be expected that you behave like professionals, displaying the maturity, self-motivation, hard-work, and dedication expected of a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The next two years will be very difficult, challenging, and extremely humbling!! You will be subjected to the rigors of human anatomy and kinesiology.  You will learn the myriad of processes of how the body physiologically heals itself.  You will learn how to examine, evaluate, and treat every major joint of the body. And you will survive…some of you (as with most of my class) barely!  (I think that the UOP PT Class of 2003 was actually Black-Balled from ever coming back here …ssshhhh….please don’t tell anyone!!)   And finally, you will learn the true magic that makes normal human movement possible!!  You will also have a lot of fun along the way and develop a strong bond for your classmates and future colleagues!

There will be lessons outside of the classroom too.   Learning the skills of communication, embracing the patients’ emotional and psychological aspects of care – these are intangible skills that are vital for a successful therapeutic relationship.  As you obtain this knowledge and learn these skills, it is important for you to remember that excellence in physical therapy is achieved by not only using the best current evidence, but also by delivering it in a compassionate and caring environment.  Your heart is as important as your mind in being a great physical therapy professional. One cannot be achieved without the other!

I believe the white coat symbolizes professionalism…It symbolizes that you are now a professional. But what does it mean to be a professional?  The Oxford dictionary defines a professional as: a person having impressive competence in a particular activity.  Another definition is: A person with a high degree of knowledge or skill in a particular field: ace, adept, authority, dab hand, expert, master, wizard. (Personally, I like being called a wizard myself!)

I believe being a true professional goes beyond these traditional definitions.  Not only does being a professional mean that you will seek to improve yourself professionally through continued education, advanced certification, mentorship, and professional membership,  it also symbolizes that you will strive to improve yourself morally, ethically, and personally.  When calling oneself a professional, I believe this term comes with a certain responsibility to yourself, your friends, your family, your colleagues, and your patients.  For your patients, being a professional means that you will strive to provide the best treatment to EACH and EVERY patient each and every day!!

I would like to conclude today by providing you with my own personal road map to becoming a great Physical Therapy Professional:

1) Strive to Improve yourself every day academically , clinically, and personally

  1. You will be judged by your patients not only on your professional knowledge and expertise, but also on your personal communication and behavior
  2. In these days of social media (facebook, twitter, internet etc…your behavior will be scrutinized more than ever….conduct unbecoming of a professional will spread widely and quickly!!

2)   Learn from your patients!! Each of them are uniquely individual..they have so much to teach us.

3)   Find a mentor and become a mentor yourself…I have learned as much from my students that have interned with me as I have from my mentors

4) Maintain your professional membership and become active in your profession…you will get back twice that which you put in…you will meet some of the most wonderful people..and will call them colleague as well as friend.

5) Become physically active yourself..move your body often. Be a role model for your patientsIf we are going to teach our patients how to move, then we sure better move ourselves often and regularly…be a healthy role model. This does not mean you need to go to the gym 3 hours/day and become Miss or Mr. Superfit…just move often and live a healthy lifestyle.

6)   Have fun and enjoy your job…I did not realize how fun this profession really is..and how much laughter and joy your patients will bring to your day!!  You mean I get to torture people and I will get paid to do it?  Sign me up please…somehow the words “rack ‘em up” sound so familiar to me!

7) Strive to be a great Physical Therapist: It is not like you graduate and you are suddenly an expert clinician (unless your name is Katie Graves).  Some students graduate and think they don’t have to keep learning and keep getting better…believe it or not, there are actually PT’s out there that are not very good…and some PT’s actually burn out!

Reason #1 why PTs Burn Out:  They are not very good, and they don’t want to be good….if you hear same worse worse, same, same, worse…your day will be very tough and stressful!!  But when you hear “better, better, good, great, same, better, fantastic throughout your day…you will be walking on air….I can heal the world J   I still remember what I used to do during my first year or two of Practice…oh boy, thank goodness I didn’t hurt any of them!!

Reason #2 why PTs Burn Out: Do not take your patient’s pain and suffering home with you…it will eat you alive and will drain your energy…and you will burn out.  Now, don’t be like the teacher in the movie the hangover “I am not in the clinic so I don’t know you”.  Yes, you will feel their psychological pain and feel their suffering…but let it go when you leave the clinic or hospital..and this does not mean that you won’t think about them and how to better help them…but don’t let it pain your heart and soul..ultimately you will burn out and be of no help for your patients

To the Class of 2013:  As you walk across the stage today and don your white coats for the first time, I ask you to always remember that you are now a Professional.  You are about to embark upon an amazing journey…a journey that will be exciting, challenging, frustrating, and both extremely heart-warming and heart-breaking… But it will undoubtedly be one of the most fantastic and rewarding journeys you will ever take.  Congratulations to the UOP PT class of 2013!!


Comments Off on 2011 White Coat Ceremony Keynote Address: “Professionalism in Physical Therapy” by Parley Anderson, PT, DPT, OCS

2011 White Coat Ceremony: Frequently Asked Questions

September 5th, 2011 by University of the Pacific DPT in Uncategorized · No Comments

Friday, September 9th, the Department of Physical Therapy at University of the Pacific will host the 2nd annual White Coat Ceremony at 6pm.  We are excited to host students from the Classes of 2012 and 2013, their families and guests, alumni, community clinicians, and other friends of the Department for this important event.  Since this is the first White Coat Ceremony for many of the people who will be participating and attending, it’s common to have questions about the event.  This post provides answers to many common questions.  If your question is not addressed in this document, please contact either Dr. Sarah Higgins (shiggins@pacific.edu) or Dr. Todd Davenport (tdavenport@pacific.edu).  Looking forward to seeing you there!


I plan to attend.  What should I do?

Please sign up on the guest list by way of our online registration website.  This step is very important to ensure we have an accurate head count.  We will use the head count to ensure we order enough chairs for people to sit during the ceremony and food for the reception that follows.  You will need a ticket to enter, but tickets are unlimited.


How much does the White Coat Ceremony cost?

The ceremony is free, thanks to a community sponsorship from Kaiser Permanente.


What time does the event start?

The 2011 White Coat Ceremony starts at 6:00pm.


What time should I be there?

Students and faculty should arrive at the event by 5:40pm.  At that time, students will line up by class in an order that has ben set up by the event planners.  Students will then walk in after all guests, faculty, and the platform party has been seated.  Seating is first-come, first-served.  Large parties are advised to arrive early to ensure everyone can sit together.


Where will the White Coat Ceremony be held?

The 2011 White Coat Ceremony will be held at the DeRosa University Center Ballroom.  It is located next to the cafeteria.  From the main entrance, you will notice the cafeteria on the left.  Proceed to the right.  The Ballroom is located on the right side of the hallway.  Just follow all the nicely-dressed people!


What should I wear?

This is considered a formal event.  Students and guests should be dressed in either evening or business attire.  It is hard to over-dress for the event.


What is a White Coat Ceremony?

The white lab coat is universally used throughout health care as…well, a way to keep one’s clothes clean!  From these humble beginnings, the white lab coat has evolved into a powerful symbol by which a person’s status as a health care practitioners are recognized.  You can identify a health care practitioner and sometimes their discipline by the cut and length of their coat!  Recently, education in health care has started to incorporate the white lab coat as a symbol of professionalism.  The ceremony is an important induction for students into the culture of professionalism in physical therapy.


What will happen at the White Coat Ceremony?

Various dignitaries from the Department, School, and University will address the students and guests.  We will have a keynote speaker, Dr. Parley Anderson, who is a distinguished alumnus of the Department.  Dr. Anderson is President of the Nevada Physical Therapy Association, as well as a small business owner.  The theme of the evening will be the professional role of physical therapy to ensure the best possible health for individuals and society.


I’m a first year student or a guest of a first year student.  Do I need to come?

Yes, yes, and yes!  This is an event that is held in your honor.  Come learn about your new profession, and take part in a ceremony that will introduce you and your guests to it!


I’m a second year student or guest of a second year student.  We did this last year.  Why should I come again this year?

Yes, yes, and yes!  This is an event that is held in your honor.  You play an important role in the ceremony, because you will coat your first year buddy.  This important responsibility is an introduction to your duties as a second year student in the program.


Will there be a photographer?

Yes, a photographer will be provided.  Pictures will be taken during the ceremony, involving the student and dignitaries.  This will prevent the need for students and guests to take many pictures during the ceremony.  Be sure to bring a camera, though, for the reception following the ceremony.


Comments Off on 2011 White Coat Ceremony: Frequently Asked Questions