Thursday, June 13, 2024

Nick Noblitt: Maximizing His Potential To Becoming The Best Physical Therapist

By: Nick Noblitt, PT, DPT, ATC

I completed my Physical Therapy school journey in May 2023, armed with a white coat and a mountain of uncertainty about how to translate my knowledge into effective patient care. Despite acing my tests, excelling in the NPTE, and gaining practical experience under the guidance of a clinical instructor, the challenge remained: how could I apply this wealth of knowledge to the individual sitting across from me? More pressing still, how could I do it with excellence, genuinely making a positive difference in people's lives?

I recognized my potential to be an outstanding Physical Therapist, but I knew I needed further guidance to fully realize that potential. That's when I discovered the SLU-SSM Health Orthopedic Residency program. Since joining, I've actively engaged in the Entry Level PT program at SLU as an educator and contributed my skills to the ProBono clinic as a facilitator of care. These experiences have provided invaluable learning opportunities, nurturing my growth as an educator.  

Through this program, I've had the privilege of weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions with seasoned PTs who are experts in their field. These mentors have challenged my assumptions and biases, helping me identify my blind spots in patient care. They've introduced me to concepts and skills that I can immediately apply during my sessions, accelerating my learning process and boosting my confidence in applying advanced techniques for the first time. 

One of the most impactful aspects of my residency journey has been the weekly didactic sessions. These meetings delve into every facet of being a physical therapist, from the reasoning behind our treatment approaches to the nuances of our documentation methods. These discussions have deepened my understanding of my profession, equipping me with a comprehensive knowledge base. 

Reflecting on my experiences in this residency program, I am confident in my decision to tread this less conventional path. Looking ahead, my goals are ambitious; I aspire to serve as a physical therapist in the United States Air Force, providing care to those who selflessly serve our nation. To achieve this goal, I am committed to becoming the best version of my professional self. I believe there's no better way to accomplish this than through the transformative experiences offered by this residency program. 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Michelle Byrd Discusses Her Experience Being a Physical Therapist While Undergoing Her Orthopedic Residency Training

By: Michelle Byrd, PT, DPT

    Working as a Physical Therapist offers a unique opportunity to treat a variety of patients throughout the lifespan as well as a variety of diagnoses, with each patient presenting in a unique way with unique impairments and limitations. The field of physical therapy is an ever-changing, growing profession with new research, treatment techniques, and improvement to clinical practice guidelines. Keeping up with these consistent changes is important for PT's to stay up to date on the latest treatments to improve patient outcomes, and allow for patients to have a quicker recovery and return to their previous level of function.  

    Since the beginning of the SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency, I have already been able to improve my patient treatments and evaluation skills, as well as building on my hands-on skills to maximize my treatments to improve patient outcomes. There are several aspects of the residency experience that have impacted me, including serving as an adjunct faculty member with students in their first professional year of Physical Therapy school, mentorship opportunities in the clinic each week, and didactic classes for case-based discussion and working on manual techniques. Each of these experiences focuses on different aspects of patient care, but together allow for professional growth within the field that will maximize the patient experience in the clinic.  

    Working as a physical therapist over the last year and a half, and recently being part of the orthopedic residency, has motivated me to continue improving and growing in the profession. I am looking forward to the experiences still to come that will only continue to challenge me to grow and continue improving in my knowledge and skillset.  

Friday, December 8, 2023

Becoming Involved to Make an Impact: Billiken Bounty

By: Kelsey Schmeling (DPT Class of 2026)

During my sophomore year I knew I wanted to get involved on campus because I was not able to freshman year due to COVID. I joined what felt like every club at SLU but only stuck with a few. I was a shift volunteer in the Billiken Bounty pantry and knew I wanted to do something more to make an impact on campus.  

Billiken Bounty is an on-campus food pantry run by students for students with the mission of alleviating food insecurity among Saint Louis University students and spreading awareness and education about food insecurity. We pride ourselves on privacy, professionalism, respect, and dignity. We do not collect personal information from our clients and require no proof of need which helps eliminate some barriers to accessing a food pantry. We seek to provide pantry staples and meal items that are healthy that college students actually want to eat while accommodating to dietary restrictions the best we can.

We started in 2018 when a Saint Louis University student recognized the need for a food pantry. Based on the original research done, it was determined that a shopping model would work the best, and that is what is still implemented today. We were first located in the BSC but with increased growth we have moved to a much larger space in the CGC. Since opening we have also spread to a location at SLU Law and are in the works of finding a location on South Campus. 

When considering how to increase my involvement and impact, I took the leap and applied for co-chair and got it and I have grown so much ever since. My role as co-chair is to serve as the main point of communication for all things pantry related. I stay in contact with community partners, other university pantries, and faculty of SLU to answer any questions that may come up and start projects we deem beneficial to the pantry. I also serve as the main meeting facilitator between members of our e-board, SLU faculty, and volunteers. 

This position has allowed me to have conversations I would have never had over topics that had never crossed my mind before. I have learned the importance of being a good listener during a conversation, keeping an open mind, and respecting everyone because you never know what their situation is. Time management is another skill I have learned. Trying to balance school, work, and running the pantry can be difficult at times but knowing when to ask for help has been key for me. We have members of our executive board designated to certain roles and they are amazing at making sure everything is running smoothly. 

Since the Spring of 2022 we have had an influx of growth and are in need of donations. Last semester we had 1,500 client visits and almost 10,000 items left the pantry. We collect all donations as long as they are not expired. Our most popular items include pasta and pasta sauce, rice and beans, household items such as paper towels and tide pods, hygiene products, and condiments. To stay updated on Billiken Bounty, please follow us on Instagram @billikenbounty and feel free to reach out with any questions!

Friday, September 29, 2023

2023 Hustle for Your Health 5K Winners Announced

Congratulations to the top winners for the 
22nd Annual Cheryl Cavallo Hustle for Your Health 5k!

In the women's category, the top three winners were Kristina Morris, Mischel Marshall, and Kaitlin Dappen!
In the men's category, the top three winners were Michael Hubbard, Cole Basden, and Martin Burns! 

Please find the finishing times for all participants who completed the 5K here: See Race Times Here
Thank you for joining us!
The Annual Hustle for Your Health 5K helps support the Cheryl L. Cavallo Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of Cheryl Cavallo, a long time faculty member in the Program in Physical Therapy who lost her courageous battle to cancer in 2013. She served as the faculty mentor for the Program in Physical Therapy Student Council (now the Physical Therapy Student Association) for 22 years and tirelessly coordinated this event for 11 years. She lived the Jesuit mission everyday by giving back to those less fortunate. 
Cheryl Cavallo, PT, PhD

All proceeds from the memorial fundraiser benefit the Cheryl Cavallo Memorial Scholarship to help defray travel costs for students wishing to pursue health care related domestic or international mission trips. For more information, or if you are interested in sponsoring the event in the future, contact

Friday, March 24, 2023

Augustina Parisi's (DPT Class of 2026) Dreams Come True Thanks to SLU Madrid

Leading up to college, it was always the dream to go abroad. It almost felt like a magical world and opportunity that was out of reach. When I was considering SLU as a freshman, I didn’t know much about how I wanted my college experience to go, however I did want the opportunity to go abroad. SLU prides itself as a school that gives students the opportunity to go abroad, but never would I have been able to predict how true this turned out to be. The application process was pretty seamless. With it being built into the physical therapy program, the opportunity presented itself on a silver platter. There were a multitude of resources such as student panels, informational meetings, application aid sessions, etc. to kickstart the process, and just before I knew it, I was on an 8 hour flight across the country to Madrid.

My experience abroad exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Everyone always raves about being abroad and all its takeaways and in my case it completely lived up to the hype. It's hard to sum up my time because so many memories were made, however I will try to do my best by stating the places I visited, my overall highlights, and the things I learned. 

Places I visited: Madrid Spain, Zaragoza Spain, Toledo Spain, Sevilla Spain, Ibiza Spain, Tenerife Spain, Marseille France, Paris France, Florence Italy, Cinque Terre Italy, Milan Italy, Dublin Ireland, Galway Ireland, Geneva Switzerland and Interlaken Switzerland.

Exploring all those new places was incredible. Each place had something so different to offer whether it be culture, cuisine, geography, tradition, language, art etc. I was able to make pasta in Italy, snorkel with my friends in Tenerife, paraglide in Switzerland, hike in the South of France, club in Madrid and many other notable experiences. My overwhelming feeling throughout this entire journey was gratitude. I was so incredibly gratuitous to see the world and literally put my toe in the water of all these places you dream about going. 

Overall highlights: I tried to fully integrate myself into the culture of Madrid because it was in fact my home for 4 months and I wanted to live out my time to the full potential. One of the ways I was able to do this was stepping outside of the circle of friends I came with and SLU. I have played lacrosse for many years now and I deeply missed it when I was in Madrid, so I decided to change that. I emailed the athletic director at SLU Madrid and he expressed that SLU itself didn’t have a team but he gave me the email for Madrid’s club lacrosse team. I sent over an email, and I can safely say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I remember being terrified to attend the first practice. Me, an American, with none of my lacrosse equipment, not many Spanish speaking skills, knowing nobody, showing up to a field alone in the middle of Spain filled with the Madrid lacrosse team members- I was petrified. I remember calling my Dad in a bit of a panic telling him how nervous I was. He urged me to stop being a scaredy cat and that I wouldn’t regret it. I went on to play with this team the remainder of my time abroad and I met some of the best people. Guys and girls from all over the world gathered together bound by the love and passion for the game. We played in games and I attended a tournament with them in Zaragoza. I bonded closely with two of my teammates and we hung out all the time. We would watch movies, go out to eat, go to markets, shop and Irene even taught me how to make authentic Spanish Tortilla. I miss the friends I made dearly but I am so happy I had the time with them that I did. We were all so different coming from different backgrounds which meant we were able to learn from each other and expand our horizons. Even though I miss my Madrid friends so much it only gives me reason to go back, and some of them even proposed coming to the US to visit me!

Things I learned: Being abroad is so much more than an elongated vacation. I learned so much about the world, about myself, about how to interact with people, about what's truly important in life and about what gives me meaning and purpose. I acquired so many life skills that can’t be taught in school like how to take public transportation in different countries, hacks on how to travel most efficiently and how to be responsible. I have so much more knowledge that is added to my repertoire and I think most importantly I was exposed to a wider spectrum of people. This increased my capacity for empathy, understanding and open-mindedness. I could go on and on about my experience, but the main point to drive home is that I am so thankful I went and I couldn't recommend spending time abroad enough! It truly does deserve all the praise surrounding it and if you are able to seize the opportunity, I say seize it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

2022 SLUPT End of Year Recap

2022 SLUPT End of Year Recap

Overall 2022 Recap:

This year was an amazing year for the program and crazy how it can be wrapped up in a 7 minute video for the most part! We appreciate everyone who we have come into contact with this past year and cannot wait for what 2023 will bring! We hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year! 

PY3's good luck as you start your 3rd clinical in the coming weeks, PY2's we will see you the 9th, and Cohorts 2025-2028 we will see you the 17th!

2022 Video Recap: 

Spirit Week Recap: 

This year our Program explored not only the U.S. but also abroad: 

Some of our students had the chance to study abroad in Madrid, Galway, London, and many more countries also our students explored all over including Germany, Austria, Poland, Ireland, Italy, France, and Portugal. But don’t take it from me, here are some DPT 2026 comments from their time abroad:

1. Tommy Lenz - “From learning different cultures to seeing and trying new things, I would highly recommend this experience to anyone considering studying abroad”

2. Augustina Parisi - “I feel very fortunate and grateful to be traveling and having many new adventures. So far my favorite place I have visited was the Calanque national park in Marseille France, it was breathtaking. With more trips on the horizon, I am excited to explore and immerse myself in each place. I also have enjoyed being in Madrid so much. It really is such a cool city with so much to offer and I have fallen in love with it. I thoroughly appreciate that the DPT program allows for study abroad because I feel like I am gaining so much knowledge and experiences that couldn’t be acquired in a classroom. This is a once in a lifetime experience and I couldn't recommend it enough”

3. Hannah Niederman - “My favorite part of being abroad has been getting to explore Spain and surrounding countries with my best friends.”

Our students being able to study abroad is one of our program’s most unique features that we are so happy our students get the opportunity, if they wish to take it!

Our Faculty and Alumni published some amazing articles:

1. Task-specific movement training improves kinematics and pain during the Y-balance test and hip muscle strength in females with patellofemoral pain

By: Elanna K Arhos (DPT Class of 2018), Catherine E Lang, Karen Steger-May, Linda R Van Dillen, Barbara Yemm, Gretchen B Salsich 

2. Preparing for the Future: A Practice-Based Approach for Entrepreneurship Education in Health Professions

By: Mike Markee and Chris Sebelski 

3. The effect of pelvic motion on spinopelvic parameters 

By: Andrew M. Hayden (BS), Ann N. Hayes (DPT), Jennifer L. Brechbuhler (RN), Heidi Israel (PhD), Howard M. Place (MD)

4. Patient education for breast cancer-related lymphedema: a systematic review

By: Marisa Perdomo, Claire Davies, Kimberly Levenhagen, Kathryn Ryans, Laura Gilchrist 

5. Tendon loading in runners with Achilles tendinopathy: Relations to pain, structure, and function during return-to-sport

By: Patrick Corrigan, Samantha Hornsby, Ryan T. Polig, Richard W. Willy, Daniel H. Cortes, Karin Grävare Silbernagel 

6. A Novel Way of Measuring Dual-Task Interference: The Reliability and Construct Validity of the Dual-Task Effect Battery in Neurodegenerative Disease

By: Jason K. Longhurst, John V. Rider, Jeffrey L. Cummings, Samantha E. John, Brach Poston, Elissa C. Held Bradford, Merrill R. Landers 

7. Disparities Exist in Physical Therapy Utilization and Time to Utilization Between Black and White Patients with Musculoskeletal Pain 

By: Randy R Richter, Timothy Chrusciel, Gretchen Salsich, Tricia Austin, Jeffrey F Scherrer  

Sunday, January 1, 2023

SLU PTSA's 5th Annual Spirit Week Recap

SLU PTSA's 5th Annual Spirit Week Recap

This year’s SLU PTSA Spirit Week brought our students a rush of excitement a few weeks before finals and a much needed community gathering of all SLU PT students! Our Spirit Week kicked off on November 11th with the coveted Turkey Bowl flag football tournament between cohorts! With hard fought efforts and trying to defrost during half-times, our PY1 students came out on top and blew everyone away as an underdog! On Monday, our dress-down days started and continued all week including class colors (Mon), Jerseys/Sport (Tues), Groutfit (Wed), PJ’s - our students favorite day (Thurs), and SLU Spirit Wear (Fri)! To wrap up the week we introduced a new event beginning this year, our Pie-A-Professor event and boy was it exciting and added a bit of competition between students and staff funding the competition! Our students and even our professors constantly donated money and throughout the week the Top 3 professors was constantly changing and our lucky Top 3 professors that were pied were Dr.’s Kim Levenhagen, Barb Yemm, and Ann Hayes. All the funds we raised throughout the week directly benefitted the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research, a fund that is very near and dear to our Program! Overall, our students and staff raised $340 to be donated! It was another successful Spirit Week and I know our students and staff are already counting down the days till next year! 

To view our video recap visit our Instagram