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Imagine walking in from the rain and the cold, through a set of double doors and seeing a wave of people coming in and going out; individuals whizzing by you as they make their way to their designated location and having crowds of really smart and cool people all around you. Well, that was my experience on my first day heading into the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. for the 2019 Combined Sections Meeting, the nation’s largest physical therapy conference that is held every year. To say that attending this conference and then in some way having a small role in it, was overwhelming, is an understatement.
Hi, I'm Michelle Little. My parents were born in Colombia, South America and moved to the United States with dreams of a better life. They immigrated from an impoverished area, lacked a college education and with a very basic English vocabulary. Due to this sacrifice, they have always had very manual, labor-intensive jobs. From a very young age, I knew what pain was because I witnessed my mother icing her hands and feet after a ten-hour shift. I now understand that my mother’s pain was in part caused by the physical requirements for her job and poor occupational accommodations. During all those years, my mother was never told about or referred to physical therapy, so she lived in fear that her body was weak and damaged. In my sophomore year of college, I had a knee injury that led to surgery and post-operative physical therapy. Going through physical therapy made me feel empowered, and I knew I had found my life’s passion. I wanted to educate and empower patients that had orthopedic pain like my mother, and improve the quality of life of my patients and their families.
In his seminal book “The Body Keeps the Score,” trauma expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk states “the ability to feel relaxed in one’s body requires the emotional experience of safety.”
Reflecting back on 2018 and the numerous achievements accomplished this year. A permanent fix to the Medicare therapy cap was achieved after 20 years of temporary exceptions and implementation delays. Other important legislative and regulatory achievements, included enactment of comprehensive opioid legislation that increases awareness and access to nonpharmacological treatment options, enactment of the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act to ensure physical therapists have liability insurance when working with teams across state lines, the elimination of functional limitation reporting, and the expansion of telehealth services in the Veterans Administration and Medicare Advantage. The Physical Therapy Interstate Licensure Compact continued to make progress, with the first licensure privilege being issued and compact legislation enacted in 21 states. These wins help advance the profession of physical therapy. Please join the effort to move physical therapy forward with the start of the 116th US Congress this January and become a grassroots advocate. The 2019 Federal Advocacy Forum will take place Sunday, March 31-Tuesday, April 2 at the JW Marriott near the White House in Washington, DC. Registration and housing will open January 2019 and end March 18, 2019.
My initial interest in women's health was sparked by a conversation with a professor during my 1st year of DPT school. I was subsequently surprised and pleased to discover the APTA specialty Section on Women's Health. Researching the field provided insight into issues of pelvic floor pain and lymphedema and networking with clinicians in the field provided me with concrete examples of how physical therapy can positively impact the quality of life in this under-served population.
Key Highlights For the first time, USA Weightlifting is actively getting involved in educating their coaches and lifters about pelvic health. On Thursday, December 6, Tamra Wroblesky gave an hour and a half interactive seminar to coaches and lifters about pelvic health, pressure regulation, hip and thoracic mobility, bowel and bladder regulation, all to improve performance under the bar. This will be an uphill battle as there is poor awareness and education about pelvic health. They have hired Tamra for their 2 international female camps (Barbados and Ohio) in 2019 due to the popularity of the first camp in Las Vegas last year. Check out Tamra's original Team USA article, Supercharge Your Pelvis, which has gained momentum in the weightlifting community and her latest report below!
Dreams & Aspirations of a Student Physical Therapist Pursuing Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Education I pursued the physical therapy field because I feel a duty to help people live their best life. The more I learn about women’s health the more I’m drawn to helping enhance the human experience of this population by specializing after graduating in 2019 from my Doctor of Physical Therapy program at University of Michigan-Flint (Blo
Meet Alexis Smith PT, DPT My entire childhood, I dreamed of becoming a Veterinarian. I was a very good student in high school, and graduated Valedictorian of my small class. I then attended a prestigious liberal arts college for undergraduate, and had a difficult time making high science grades. I worked part-time as a student athletic trainer, played basketball for the college team, and studied constantly. Unfortunately, my rural high school had not prepared me for the science classes I would need to qualify for the Veterinary school program I applied to. After graduating, I started to re-evaluate my career options, and realizing how much I enjoyed my college job in the athletic training room, I started working as a technician in an outpatient PT clinic. I took the science courses again, made a 4.0 the second time, and eventually was accepted to my dream Veterinary program as well as a DPT program. I decided to become a physical therapist and have not regretted that decision. Through PT school, I enjoyed my classes and clinical rotations, but did not feel as though I had found my niche. I finally took the women's health class in my third year and a fire was sparked. I was able to shadow a specialist in pelvic health soon after and realized I had found my calling. I am very passionate about women's health and so enjoy my work as a Pelvic Health PT.
I had the honor of attending the National Student Conclave as the recipient of the NSC student scholarship sponsored by the Section on Women’s Health. I am a proud member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and Section on Women's Health (SoWH) as there are many benefits to being involved with professional associations such as access to networking and educational opportunities which are very valuable when starting out in your physical therapy (PT) career.
As I was reflecting on my drive home from this past weekend at National Student Conclave, I was grinning ear to ear. This experience was so incredible, and it “fired me up” for my career and future in physical therapy. National Student Conclave is so different than Combined Section Meetings or NEXT (other APTA conferences), and I think it is because it is designed by students for students.