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Department of Physical Therapy encouraged to ‘Be the Change,’ hands out departmental awards

As new debates on health care in the U.S. emerge on a nearly daily basis, practitioners are increasingly finding themselves on the front lines of providing patient care, finding savings and ensuring accountability across their fields.

Physical therapists, as health professionals having some of the most direct physical contact with patients, are helping to play an increasingly crucial role in the delivery of care in a collaborative care model. So said Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, president of the American Physical Therapy Association, as she addressed students and faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy in the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions during its inaugural Celebration of Professional Excellence June 27.

“We are truly blessed we have a profession where we get to make a difference in people’s lives every day,” Dunn said in a keynote titled “Be the Change.” “The reflective practice you’re already learning here at Creighton allows you to not only have the procedural skills necessary, but the intellectual approach to be with a patient in a clinical session and be responsive to their needs.”

Dunn, also a professor of physical therapy at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, drew a picture of the present health care situation that showed the American abundance of spending on care — on average more than 8 percent above other industrialized nations — but seeing no greater profit on that spending in the form of better outcomes.

Advanced technology, diagnostic and treatment techniques to the positive, Americans seeking care are still sometimes viewed as consumers to whom a bill of goods is sold, even if, in many cases, those goods prove unnecessary.

“As PTs, we are a huge solution to this broken system,” Dunn said. “We provide affordable treatment, we meet patients where they are and we promote good practices to sustain health. There are moments when imaging and surgery can be excessive, unnecessary. And in those moments, PTs can be helpful.”

Through concentrating on best practices, being an active and assertive member of a collaborative care team and working on a value-based model of the profession rather than a procedure-based one, Dunn said physical therapists are poised to help cut costs and foster a healthier American populace.

Asking the assembled students what might be the surest cure for many of the expanding health problems in the nation — arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, stroke — the gathered body answered in a resounding chorus: “Exercise!” The response elicited a smile from Dunn, who went on to talk about the potentially changing policies on health care even now being debated in Congress.

But when PTs can recommend exercises and procedures for an affliction like lower-back pain, an effort that can save hundreds of thousands of dollars on the front-end for many patients and systems, the value of the profession is not to be underestimated.

The policymakers, Dunn said, will do their work, but it is incumbent upon the budding practitioners she was addressing to follow the title of her talk.

“Be the change,” she said, in a repeated refrain. “We are at a critical juncture in our profession and at one of the most exciting times for it. What we have to ask ourselves is, are we a service or a profession? Do we just do procedures or do we manage human movement? Bring your ‘A’ game to every patient encounter. Make decisions based on what’s happening between our ears rather than only on procedures we do with our hands. You have the knowledge and the skills that can save systems thousands of dollars, that can benefit your patients, benefit society, benefit the profession.”

Following Dunn’s keynote, the following awards were bestowed upon Creighton Physical Therapy students and faculty:

School of Pharmacy and Health Professions Honors
Alumni Centennial Scholarships are presented to an occupational therapy, pharmacy, and physical therapy students who have demonstrated an enthusiasm for learning, a commitment to the future of healthcare, a high degree of professionalism, exceptional service to the School, and an appreciation for the values of Creighton University. Preference is given to students with a Creighton legacy (parents or other relatives who are Creighton alumni).

Class of 2018 Physical Therapy Recipients: Elizabeth Nikodem, Elizabeth Meisinger

Department of Physical Therapy Awards
The Nicholas Steichen Scholarship was established in 2003 by friends and family in memory of the late Nicholas Steichen, a former physical therapy student enrolled in the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. It is awarded to a first-year student chosen by her/his classmates as possessing the characteristics of scholarship, optimism, humor, helpfulness and happiness.

Class of 2019 Recipient: Joshua Klem

Physical Therapy Book Awards are presented to students who have demonstrated excellence in coursework.

Class of 2018 Recipients: Jonathon Free, Kirsten Lightfoot, Teressa Sirugo, Alexander Wagner, Holly Weimer

Class of 2019 Recipients: Emily Brandt, Stephanie Gilberg, Taylor Kettman, Luke Matzen, Ann Messerschmidt, Maria Kapral, Brandon Winchell

RehabVisions Developing Clinician Awards are presented to students who have demonstrated excellent progress toward becoming skilled and compassionate physical therapists and show an interest in practicing in a rural setting.

Class of 2018 Recipient: Elizabeth Toscan

Class of 2019 Recipient: Matthew MacDougall

Developing Clinician Awards are presented to students who have demonstrated excellent progress toward becoming skilled and compassionate physical therapists.

Class of 2018 Recipient: Lauren Bauer

Class of 2019 Recipient: Brandon Barber

The John and Lydia Stohs Endowed Scholarship is presented to a student in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions who has demonstrated high academic achievement.

Class of 2018 Recipient: Lyndsay Provencio

The Physical Therapy Spirit Award is presented to students who demonstrate firm commitment to the mission and goals of Creighton University and the Physical Therapy Department.

Class of 2018 Recipient: Conor O’Loughlin

Class of 2019 Recipient: Kristina Lam

Physical Therapy Faculty Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate a high level of professionalism, spirit and class camaraderie, and commitment to academic excellence.

Class of 2018 Recipients: Meredith Chaput, Nicholas Mason

Class of 2019 Recipients: Eric Knight, Corey Nolte

The Judith R. Gale Master Clinician Scholarship is awarded to a PT3 student who is in good academic standing and has demonstrated potential for developing clinical excellence.

Class of 2018 Recipient: Marissa Gradoz

The Jensen Leadership Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a PT3 student who has an interest in geriatrics and may pursue a residency after graduation in this field. A preference is given to female students with high academics and demonstrated leadership.

Class of 2018 Recipient: Elizabeth Meisinger

Clinical Education Sites of Excellence
Crawford County Memorial Hospital, Denison, Iowa, Jamie Gross, PT, DPT, Center Coordinator of Clinical Education

Makovicka Physical Therapy, Omaha, Scott Keenan, PT, DPT, Center Coordinator of Clinical Education

Clinical Instructors of Excellence
Carla Franck, PT, DPT, University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago

Ashley Larkin, PT, DPT Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon

Physical Therapy Leadership Guild
Current members in the Class of 2018: Thomas Backe, Lauren Bauer, Meredith Chaput, Sarah Foley, Megan Haas, Zachary Hadden, Jessica Johnson, Kirsten Lightfoot, Elizabeth Meisinger, Cydney Nagridge, Ana-Marie Nelson, Ashley Olson, Hayley Rieger, Alisia Rivera, Stephanie Schumann, Ashley Sickel, Teressa Sirugo, Brittany Tierney, Alexander Wagner, Brock Walker, Holly Weimer, Allison White, Alexa Wright

Induction of new members in the Class of 2019: Brandon Barber, Regan Bold, Maggie Chamberlain, Tara Dorenkamp, Megan Dunning, Faith Ford, Stephanie Gilberg, Rachel Jarvie, Andrew Johnson, Zachary Johnson, Maria Kapral, Megan Karels, Joshua Klem, Nicholas Krueger, Kristina Lam, Meghan Ludwig, Luke Matzen, Emily Mauser, Ann Messerschmidt, Alexandria Muller, Thomas Myers, Nicole Reinhardt, Joel Riordan, Elizabeth Smith, Laura Stenzel, Emilie Van Kooten, Dana Van Wyck, Michelle Walaszek, Abigail Werner, Brandon Winchell

Member of the Year Awards

Scholarly Presentations by Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Residents
“Identifying How Low Intensity Exercise with Blood Flow Restriction Is Clinically Relevant to the Older Adult,” Kaitlyn Carr, PT, DPT, Geriatric Physical Therapy Resident

“Changes in Balance and Spatial-Temporal Gait Parameters with Balance-Based Torso-Weighting in Patients with Degenerative Ataxia,” Jennifer Pulscher, PT, DPT, Neurologic Physical Therapy Resident

“Assessment and Treatment of Equine and Equestrian Athletes: A Review of Current Literature and Presentation of Case Studies,” Whitley Case, PT, DPT, Orthopedic Physical Therapy Resident

“Functional Changes Following Dry Needling of Quadriceps Musculature in Healthy Individuals,” Elizabeth Nevarez, PT, DPT and Robert Willmes, PT, DPT, Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residents

“What Is the Community’s Perspective of Student Service Learning?” Cara Cimino, OTD, OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapy Resident

“Progression of Independent Mobility in an Infant with Down Syndrome,” Jennifer O’Loughlin, PT, DPT, Pediatric Physical Therapy Resident

2015-2016 Physical Therapy Residency graduates who have successfully achieved American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties certification. These professionals have demonstrated advanced clinical knowledge, experience and skills in their specific area of practice and their achievement is a direct reflection on the success of our residency programs.

Geriatric Certified Specialists: Rashelle Hoffman, PT, DPT, Natalie Howard, PT, DPT

Neurologic Certified Specialist: Kate Kogler, PT, DPT

Orthopedic Certified Specialists: Mario Beltran, PT, DPT, Jon Duelmann, PT, DPT, Trevor Schongalla, PT, DPT, Ian Whitney, PT, DPT

Pediatric Certified Specialist: Kaitlin Beckloff, PT, DPT

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