Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Coming Together in Support of Spirit Week and the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research

PY1 Students dressed in white for "Class Color" Day.

November 2019 Spirit Week is a Success for the SLU Program in Physical Therapy
by Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy Student Emily Gier (Class of 2022)

This past week from November 9th through November 17th, the Physical Therapy Student Association (PTSA) hosted the 3rd Annual Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy Spirit Week.

Left: PY2 Students celebrate "Grout-Fit" Day with Dr. Levenhagen. Middle: Sophomores on "PJ" Day!
Right: Program in PT Faculty, Dr. Beckel and Dr. Austin on "Color" Day.

Spirit Week is a week-long competition between all classes and the faculty/staff to see who has the most spirit in the program. 

Turkey Bowl showdown!

Spirit Week kicked off with the annual Turkey Bowl flag football tournament. All grades showed great effort and determination but, in the end, the PY3’s took home the win. 

DPT Students Kelsey Bequette (Class of 2021) and
Lauren Foster (Class of 2022)
counting every penny.

Throughout the following week, classes demonstrated their spirit by participating in dress down days and Penny Wars. Dress down days included PJ Day, Grout-fit Day (all gray outfit), Class Color Day, Sports Day, and PT Apparel Day. Additionally, all week an intense Penny Wars took place to raise money for the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research which benefits various PT research initiatives. In the end, everyone in the Program came together and raised $496.23 for the charitable donation.
SLU Program in Physical Therapy Spirit Week is for everyone!

Points were awarded based on the percentage of the class that dressed up that day. The week concluded with an Ice Cream Party to celebrate another successful Spirit Week where the winner…drum roll please…was the Faculty, who were crowned champions of Spirit Week. PY1’s took home second place while the Freshmen were able to clinch third. 

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Faculty and Staff on "Sports" Day.

Thank you to everyone who participated in Spirit Week and made it another successful and memorable SLU Program in Physical Therapy event!

Left: PY3s on "Sports" Day.  Middle: PY2s on "Sports" Day.  Right: PY1s bring the spirit.

SLU DPT Student Emily Gier is the Physical Therapy Student Association (PTSA) Vice President of Philanthropy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Celebrating October as National Physical Therapy Month

Help celebrate National Physical Therapy Month by picking up a free pin,
sticker or card in the Program in Physical Therapy Office.

SLU DPT Student Jamie Brew Shares Reasons Why We #ChoosePT
by Saint Louis University DPT Student Jamie Brew (Class of 2020)

Every year, we celebrate October as National Physical Therapy Month. When I say “we”, I include physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, students in both PT and PTA programs as well as those who have or are currently benefitting from physical therapy. The American Physical Therapy Association uses this time to broadcast our campaign, “Choose PT”. We urge those who are experiencing chronic pain to choose PT over pain medications and opioids. We encourage those who are susceptible to injury to choose PT to prevent those injuries from occurring. At the same time, I use this campaign to continue choosing the profession of PT for my future. I too am reminded to “Choose PT”.

As an ambassador for our SLU Physical Therapy Program, I provide tours to prospective students and their families. One of my favorite yet most challenging questions during this time is “why did you choose physical therapy?” While there are a multitude of reasons that I chose to attend school for physical therapy, I often answer that I am still choosing physical therapy. It’s not the time I spent as a patient after a knee injury in high school or even the fact that my grandmother was a Physical Therapist that keeps me pursuing this profession. It is every experience I have had since committing to SLU that inspires me to Choose PT.

I have spent some time volunteering in the rehabilitation department at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital in Saint Louis over the last couple of years. I get the opportunity to observe physical therapists in a combination of an outpatient and inpatient setting. While I learn a lot though these observations, it is not the techniques that I see, or the new tools used that get me excited about a profession in physical therapy. It is the way a young girl smiles in disbelief at her father when the physical therapist teaches her something new that promotes her independence in walking. Or the face of determination when a young boy can’t quite coordinate his movements enough to make a basketball shot. These interactions encourage me to Choose PT.

I also spent a year as a representative and a year as the Vice Chair for the Missouri Student Special Interest Group. As a representative, I acted as a liaison between the group and SLU. As the Vice Chair, I collaborated with students from different universities in Missouri to advocate for the profession of Physical Therapy. In February, I attended Lobby Day in Jefferson City with some of the members of MSSIG to discuss with State Representatives the importance of Direct Access in allowing individuals to continue to Choose PT. In order to do so, I had to reflect on why I wanted to Choose PT in order to encourage others to do so. Interacting with the community of students and therapists fighting for our profession gave me just another reason to Choose PT.

So while October is spent promoting the profession of Physical Therapy to other healthcare professionals and future patients, I encourage those students and therapists reading this to find moments that give you a reason to also #ChoosePT.

by Saint Louis University DPT Student Jamie Brew (Class of 2020)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Faculty Member Dr. Carol Beckel Leads Fundraising Effort and Raises $2000 for Clinic in Belize

Saint Louis University Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni Contribute to Fundraiser for Hillside Health Care International

Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy Faculty Member Dr. Carol Beckel joined forces with alumna Carley Kirsch (DPT Class of 2013) on June 29th this summer to raise money for a non-profit medical clinical in Southern Belize, Hillside Health Care International (HHCI). Dr. Carol Beckel and Carley serve on the Board of Directors for HHCI. Carley volunteered at HHCI for a year as the Rehab Director and Dr. Beckel provides short-term volunteer coverage as a PT as well. HHCI is a clinical affiliate for students in the Program in Physical Therapy.

Dr. Carol Beckel and Carley collected items from around the midwest including donations from family and friends as well as Program of Physical Therapy faculty, staff, and alumni. Emma London and Bailey Flynn (both 2019 graduates) who both completed clinical rotations at HHCI donated items after wrapping up their lives in St. Louis. 

Several Program alumni helped prepare for the sale and on the day off the sale including a classmate of Dr. Carol Beckel's, Katherine Meirink (1992), Meg Robben (2006), Lexi (Modglin) Wisch (2018), and Caitlin Whiteley (2018) spent time sorting items ahead of the sale. 

On the day of the sale, Katherine along with her daughter and a Girl Scout from their troop came out to support the sale. In addition, Program Staff Kristin Hrasky and current student Remy Arnold (Class of 2020) who will complete a rotation at HHCI in January of 2020, also helped to make sales, carry items to cars, and clean-up at the end of the sale.

In total, the yard sale raised $2,000 to support the work of HHCI to provide primary medical care, pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, and communication education in the Toledo District of Belize. To learn more about HHCI please go to  Although it was a hot and humid day in St. Louis, it was a fun way to raise money, help folks clean out their own basements, and help others find that perfect new item for themselves!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Student Laura Seadler Uses Scholarship to Travel to Clinical Site in Belize

SLU DPT Students: Laura Seadler (left) and Claire Thoelecke (right)
Cheryl L. Cavallo Memorial Scholarship Spotlight - DPT Student Laura Seadler Heads to Punta Gorda for 2019 Clinical
by Laura Seadler (DPT Class of 2020)

Thanks to the generosity of the Cavallo scholarship, I was able to spend my last four weeks of clinical for 2019 in Punta Gorda, Belize at Hillside Healthcare International providing outpatient and home health care to the wonderful, awesome, kind people of Punta Gorda and surrounding villages in and around the Toledo district of Belize.

On this rotation, I was given the opportunity to work alongside a PT classmate and SLU faculty member, Physician Assistant students from North Carolina and Pharmacy students from Butler University as we treated patients and interacted interprofessionally to provide cohesive patient care. It was seriously a blast.

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Students: Laura Seadler (left) and Claire Thoelecke (right

Hillside is an incredible, sustainable organization that provides a variety of pro bono services to those in need.

I would recommend spending time and volunteering at Hillside to all friends and family, please support and continue to engage in conversations pertaining to public health, global health and healthcare for the underserved!

Dr. Carol Beckel and SLU Program in Physical Therapy Students, Laura Seadler and Claire Thoelecke.

by Laura Seadler
Class of 2020

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Student Stella Jeong Uses Scholarship for a Public Health Immersion Trip with Campus Ministry

Welcome sign to West Virginia.

Immersion Experience Spotlight - Cheryl L. Cavallo Memorial Scholarship Funds DPT Student Trip to West Virginia
by Stella Jeong (DPT Class of 2021)

With the generous gift from Cheryl L. Cavallo memorial fund, I was able to go on an immersion trip to West Virginia through SLU’s Campus Ministry. This trip has taught me and transformed me in a way that I would’ve never imagined— and I am more than happy to share my experience in this blog.

Side of the road from Kermit.

The immersion trip was constructed around the theme of “Public Health,” which was the main reason why I chose this program out of many other options. As a future health care provider and an individual who never personally experienced rural poverty, I felt called to visit WV. And here is how the trip unfolded:

Photo with staff from Mine Wars Museum.

We first arrived in a small town called Kermit and met a woman named Marlene, who greeted us with the warmest smile. She was the executive director of ABLE families, a non-profit organization that runs the afterschool program, in-home family education program, and summer camps for families who are at risk. Marlene showed us around Mingo county, and I was able to connect with people who have been laid off from coal mining companies with no health care benefit, people who suffer from opioids overdose crisis, and young mothers who were raising children with no proper resources. Hearing their stories was heartbreaking, and honestly hard to believe. I really didn’t think the situation would be this serious and alarming because it’s the United States. I thought I knew what poverty looked like, coming from a family who also struggled a lot from a developing country. This trip broke my prejudice and made me realize that I had many privileges that people from WV might not have. And these “privileges” include a grocery store with fresh produce, a hospital or health clinic that are at least within an hour away, clean water without toxic substances from factories, and environment where children can grow up without having to worry about drug addiction so close to their home. I would want to label them as “basic human needs or rights” instead of “privileges”, but unfortunately, in WV, it simply wasn’t the case.

Train transporting coal.

When we visited the Mine Wars Museum, the staff who gave us the tour said, “We would love to see [health care] students like you guys come back to West Virginia. We could really use your help.” What he said that day, made me think a lot about my future path as a Physical Therapist. What can I bring to communities that are underserved when I’m a PT? How can I raise more awareness? How can I make a change when I’m back in St. Louis? So many unanswered questions, but they are driving me to become the PT that I want to be in the future.

Micro-Farming from PATCH 21 to grow fresh produce for the communities

I was overwhelmed and confused when we left West Virginia after a week, but the immersion trip has left me with many meaningful lessons and community leaders that I can look up to. I’ve donated part of my scholarship to Marlene’s ABLE families organization as I was so inspired by the work that they do.

Progression of “Mountain Top Removal” for coal mining companies.

I encourage everyone to participate in Hustle 4 Your Health event to support the cause and for the future experiences of other PT students who may receive this amazing scholarship.

Thanks for reading my story and feel free to ask more about my trip if you want to!

Stella Jeong
DPT Class of 2021

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

SLU Physical Therapy Student Alexis Ardovitch Will Run the Chicago Marathon in Solidarity with Disabled Athletes

SLU Physical Therapy Student Alexis Ardovitch Volunteers at Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA) Games and Runs for the Cause 

SLU SPT Alexis Ardovitch and Laura at the GLASA Games.

GLASA helps athletes like Laura continue to pressure her athletic spirit,” states SLU SPT Alexis Ardovitch who volunteered at the games held from June 13 - June 16 at Lake Forest High School and Niles West High School, just outside of Chicago. Laura had been an avid biker with an active lifestyle before her accident. Now she is a powerful badminton player, beating Ardovitch on the court in an off the records game last month.  

Ardovitch, who is a 2018 SLUPSY Billiken Student-Athlete award winner, plans to run the Chicago Marathon in support of her fellow athletes on Sunday, October 13, 2019 in Chicago Illinois. "I am choosing to run the Chicago Marathon for GLASA because I am inspired by the athletes and their stories," writes Ardovitch. If you would like to be a part of her journey to increase access and raise awareness, then consider donating to Ardovitch's marathon HERE.

Babette, Johnnie and Alexis Ardovitch, SPT, at the GLASA Games

With events like the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and the Midwest Valor Games, GLASA strives to create opportunities for empowerment, specifically surrounding disabled veterans. Reflecting upon the image above Ardovitch remarks, “Babette and Johnnie were both so full of joy. Both have served our country. Thank you for your service!” 

Dr. Okanlami and Alexis Ardovitch, SPT, at the GLASA Games.

At GLASA, Ardovitch made the acquaintance of key figures creating access and opportunity for independence, such as Oluwaferanmi Okanlami, MD, MS. Dr. Okanlami creates programs for disabled college students at the University of Michigan, where he is Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Affectionately known as “Dr. O,” he is also Director for Medical Student Success in the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion.

Alexis Ardovitch, SPT and friends at the GLASA Games.

GLASA's motto, 'Let No One Sit on the Sidelines' inspires an atmosphere of inclusion and well-being. The Association sponsors recreation, exercise and elite level competitive sports activities for over 3,000 youth, adult and military veterans with disabilities from around the world. Please consider supporting GLASA by donating through Ardovitch's Chicago Marathon Campaign page HERE.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

SLU PT Students Recognized by the Foundation for Physical Therapy

Left: SLU DPT Student Caroline Lipic
Right: President Edelle Field-Fote, PT, PHD, FAPTA

Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy Receives National Recognition for its Contribution to the Pitt-Marquette Challenge

The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research awarded the Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy students with an Honorable Mention for their efforts to support the Foundation through the 2018-2019 Pitt-Marquette Challenge. Altogether, the SLU Program in Physical Therapy raised over $3,000 in donations during Spirit Week of November 2018.

Top fundraising schools for the 2018-2019 Pitt Marquette Challenge
Far Left: SLU DPT Student, Caroline Lipic
Top fundraising schools, like Saint Louis University, were announced on June 13, 2019, at the Foundation’s Awards Luncheon held during the 2019 American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) NEXT Conference and Exposition in Chicago. Marquette University co-hosted the luncheon which was also sponsored by the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT).

Traveling to Chicago for the APTA(NEXT) Conference, SLU DPT Student Caroline Lipic was able to accept the award on behalf of all SLU PT students involved in the campaign. Pictured at top, Edelle Field-Fote, PT, PHD, FAPTA, Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine bestows this distinguished award to SLU DPT student Caroline Lipic. Dr. Field-Fote is also President of the Foundation's Board of Trustees.

The Marquette Challenge unites PT & PTA students from across the country in a singular effort to raise money for the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research and their awardees. “There is a friendly competition between schools to see who can fundraise the most,” said McKayla Figueroa, SPT, a student coordinator for Marquette University. “But the most important thing is just to participate at any level. We’re all connected by a shared passion for helping people through physical therapy.”

The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research is a national, independent nonprofit organization conferring grants, scholarships, and fellowships to leading researchers in the field. For over 40 years the Foundation has relied on the donations of individuals and institutions to fund scientifically based and clinically relevant research initiatives. Their mission is to shape the future of healthcare through physical therapy research. Incorporated as a charitable organization in 1979, the Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in grants, fellowships, and scholarships to nearly 600 researchers. Learn more about the Foundation's investments in the physical therapy profession at