Meet Sara Scholtes!
The Program in Physical Therapy is excited to introduce Sara Scholtes, PT, DPT, PhD. Sara joined the Program in Physical Therapy as an Assistant Professor this July. Read the following question and answer interview to learn more about Sara.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised on a farm in Lansing, a small Mississippi River town in Northeast Iowa. I moved 45 minutes away to attend college in another small Iowa town. Moving to St. Louis for graduate school was a huge change for a small town girl!
How many siblings do you have?
I have 2 brothers. My older brother is an accountant in Kansas City. He and his wife have a 3 year old little girl and a 6 week old little boy. My younger brother is an IT security administrator in Des Moines, IA. He and his wife have a 2 year old little girl.
What are your parents like?
My mom is a retired junior high/high school math teacher. My dad dabbled in farming, but mostly was employed as a clerk for the United States Postal Service. He too is retired. They now spend their time traveling and playing with grandkids when possible.
When did you first become interested in Physical Therapy and why?
Like many people, I became interested in physical therapy after an injury. After being a patient of, observing, interning with, or working for physicians, surgeons, physician assistants, athletic trainers, and physical therapists, I decided physical therapy was the best fit for me. One physical therapist I observed was an expert in movement analysis; I quickly became a believer of the importance of understanding and applying knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology to treat movement related pain problems.
Where did you receive your undergraduate degree?
My undergraduate degree is from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Where did you receive your PT degree? DPT? PhD?
Both my DPT and my PhD are from Washington University in St. Louis.
What made the largest impact on you, concerning Physical Therapy, (such as a strong clinical experience, mentors, working with patients, etc.)?
Observing a great PT sent me down the path of physical therapy. The combination of the opportunity to tutor peers, work in a research lab, and complete full time clinical experiences as a DPT student led me to pursue an academic career. I enjoyed the clinical setting and have some great memories, but ultimately thought my strengths were better suited for academia.
Are you a member of the APTA?
I have been a member since 2001.
Do you participate on a state level? If so please describe.
I was on the continuing education committee while a member of the Montana Chapter of the APTA.
SCHOLARSHIP AND RESEARCH
What areas of research are you involved in and interested in?
I am interested in better understanding movement and how to change movement in people with musculoskeletal pain problems. I believe that physical therapists should be experts in movement who assist patients in better understanding how movements they repeatedly perform contribute to their pain problems. However, in order to achieve this, we need to better understand (1) what factors contribute to the way individuals move, and (2) what intervention strategies work best in altering movement.
What was your previous background in regards to clinical practice?
I worked part-time for 5 years for the Cerebral Palsy Sports and Rehabilitation Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. I assisted with sport activities during the school year and during summer and winter camps. In addition to assisting where necessary, I was primarily responsible for completing initial and discharge evaluations. I also briefly worked in the outpatient therapy services at SLCH treating primarily adolescents with musculoskeletal pain problems. I also worked part-time for 1 year in the Sports and Orthopedic Clinic at The University of Montana.
What is your current background in regards to clinical practice?
I am not currently practicing, but my interests continue to be aligned with my previous clinical experiences.
AREA OF TEACHING
What courses do you teach?
I am involved in IPE460, DPT412, DPT460, DPT590, and DPT542.
Is one course your favorite to teach? If so why?
I do not yet have a favorite at Saint Louis University, but previously most enjoyed teaching a course that was essentially an applied clinical kinesiology course.
How many years have you taught at Saint Louis University?
This is my first year.
What types of service activities have you organized or participated in with regards to a local or national level?
I helped develop a program called LEAP, Learn, Exercise and Play while at the University of Montana. The program was an after-school program at an elementary school in Missoula, MT designed to educate elementary-aged girls on topics of healthy living while also promoting physical fitness.
If you were not a physical therapist what would you be?
This question usually leads my friends to decide I would have been a pediatrician. And I don’t think they are too far off!
What is your favorite Saint Louis restaurant?
Where is your favorite place to travel?
I have been fortunate to go on some great trips recently, but my favorite would be a trip to Ireland/Scotland/Wales.
What is your favorite movie?
The Cutting Edge and The Fugitive.
Who is your favorite sports team?
Green Bay Packers.
If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
New Zealand and Australia.
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