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How did you decide to pursue pelvic health physical therapy? What is your background? I hadn’t actually planned to specialize in pelvic health in physical therapy (PT) school or the first years after graduation. My first interest in the area came in PT school when I was assigned the pelvis and pelvic floor for an anatomy project. I was fascinated by the complexity of the region (and still believe a strong understanding of the underlying anatomy is crucial for a pelvic physical therapist). About 15 years ago, Hoag Hospital asked me to create a pelvic health program. They allowed me to pursue a fellowship program with an experienced local therapist, and I was able to take amazing continuing education courses from some of the leaders in the field at that time.
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.
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.
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
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.
My interest in women’s health physical therapy first began when I was working as a rehab technician in a clinic with two pelvic floor therapists. My personal interest was piqued after my own experiences before, during, and after childbirth. Interested to learn more once I began physical therapy school, I spent time during my winter break in 2017 to shadow a women’s health specialist. I was delighted to observe how large of an impact patient education could make for the pelvic health patient population.
My name is Anietie Ukpe-Wallace and I am currently in my final year of the University of St. Augustine’s FLEX DPT program. Before I even considered physical therapy (PT) school, I taught yoga for several years and have always had an interest in the pelvic floor and how those set of muscles could impact a person’s ability to move through a pose or limit the amount of movement in their hips or back. The muscles that cannot be visibly seen externally held a lot of mystery to me. Having gone through my own trials with my own pelvic floor from miscarriages to surgery and pregnancy to birth, this region of the body continued to be a mystery even then despite all of that “stuff” that I had happening down there. Sad to say, PT school did not discuss much on the pelvic floor other than a short lecture on pregnancy and when I discovered that I could become a physical therapist with a specialty in the pelvic floor, my interest was piqued, and I began to investigate how to go about that path. During my time in PT school, I have been lucky enough to have two professors with whom I was able to discuss my interest and desires about pursuing this specialty. In addition to offering me resources to learn more about it and advising me to start seeking out courses, they also offered me encouragement to pursue this field since it was still growing and there is a high demand for this specialty.
I first became interested in pelvic health physical therapy while working with military service members, veterans, and their families. As a military spouse myself, I was afforded the opportunity of shadowing and later completing my clinical rotations through VA and military hospitals. During these experiences, I saw the immense impact pelvic health plays in improving the overall well being of this community. One of the most rewarding experiences of my physical therapy experience thus far has been to incorporate and apply the material and skills I gained from Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 1 into my personal care of patients at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. From this experience I knew that I wanted to continue growing my abilities through completion of the CAPP program and return these skills to the military family I have come to know and love. Ultimately, I would additionally like to contribute to both the patient and clinical community by furthering Pelvic Health PT research.
I am a third-year physical therapy student at Utica College. I just recently took pelvic health physical therapy coursework and it just confirmed my excitement for my future as a pelvic health Physical Therapist. My last full time clinical is at Specialty Physical Therapy that focuses on assessment and treatment of women's and men's health issues, pelvic pain, incontinence, musculoskeletal pain, and pregnancy-related pain and dysfunction. The clinic is owned by Dr. Wendy Featherstone, and she will be my clinical instructor.