Friday, November 30, 2012

Local High School Students Learn Hands-on About AT and PT From SLU Faculty and Students

Check out the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program’s blog for an article about the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training hosting students from Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School interested in Physical Therapy and Athletic Training:

SLU PT students Taylor Streid and Elena Gray (Class of 2015)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Decorating the Hunter College Giving Tree

PT students Annie Green and Jackie Vandas (Class of 2013) help to decorate the Hunter College Giving Tree in the PT office

Students can donate $1.00 and make an ornament or donate $1.50 and Kate Lochhead at the front will make the ornament for you.
All proceeds go towards the Program in Physical Therapy at Hunter College, which was greatly damaged by Storm Sandy.

The Hunter College Giving Tree so far…

PT students Kristen Guzak, Maggie Null, and Vicky Cichocki (Class of 2015) making ornaments

Jaime Heede and SLUDM 2012

Jaime Heede (Class of 2017) participated in this year’s Saint Louis University Dance Marathon on the executive board as co-chair of catering and Moral Captain. With an encouraging total of over $63,000 funds raised and 435 participants, we can’t help but be proud of everyone who worked to make SLUDM a success. Read Jaime’s article to see how she became interested in doing all of this “for the kids!”  
Saint Louis University Dance Marathon was a huge success!  In only its second year on the Saint Louis University campus, the yearlong fundraising efforts for Children’s Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis culminated in a twelve hour event in the Wool Ballrooms and started on Saturday November 17th at 3pm.  The event was full of tons of fun, friends, performances, music and dancing, a choreographed line dance, food, and stories from formerly hospitalized children and their families.  One of the mottos of Dance Marathon is “we stand for those who can’t”; thus, participants stand the entire twelve hours of the event to honor the children currently being treated by Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.  A second motto is “For the Kids” or simply, “FTK” which sums up why so many dedicate their time and money towards such a worthy cause that affects the local community.   The funds raised this year totaled over $63,000, more than doubling the event’s first year total.  That sum will be split equally between St. Louis Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.  This year we had 435 participants who helped us to make the night of the event wonderful, as well as raise the incredible amount of money that we did.

On a more personal note, this year I had the opportunity to take my experience with Dance Marathon to the next level by becoming a member of the executive board as a co-chair of catering.  It was my job to ensure that all the dancers had plenty to eat and drink to keep fueled for the duration of the event.  My responsibilities included contacting food vendors and restaurants to obtain donations.  At the event we had pizza, sub sandwiches, a nacho bar, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy, fruit, snacks, sliders, and bagels.  This level of involvement granted me one-on-one contact with children treated at the two hospitals SLU Dance Marathon supports as well as visits of those two facilities.

My involvement in SLU Dance Marathon has included being a Moral Captain (teaching the line dance at the event) as well as my position on the board.  I love having the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of kids who have been hospitalized.  My knowledge of physical therapy and health care has made me even more passionate about what this organization stands for and will make me a better professional in the future.  Hearing the stories of the families in attendance at the event is such an inspiring time that humbles me and motivates me to be the hope for a child I may care for in the future.
Mark your calendars for SLU Dance Marathon 2013 on November 16th!  And to keep up to date with other SLU Dance Marathon events and information, be sure to check out our website (, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Make an Ornament Make a Difference with the Hunter College Giving Tree!

Students can come into the PT office and decorate an ornament (supplies provided) for $1.00. The ornament will go on the office’s Hunter College Giving Tree (see picture) and the money will be donated to the Program in Physical Therapy at Hunter College to assist in their recovery from Storm Sandy!

Chris Sorgani (Class of 2016) is the first PT student to put an ornament on the tree

Chris Sorgani’s handcrafted ornament

Photos from STUCO's 2012 Turkey Bowl!

Monday, November 19, 2012

SLU PT Alumni Meghan Robben's Experience in Haiti

Meghan Robben, SLU PT alumni, has made several trips to Haiti since October of 2010 to serve the population in Port au Prince affected by the earthquake that devastated the country in January of 2010. Read Meghan’s article below to see how she began volunteering in Haiti, how it impacted her, and what it has shown her as a PT.

    What were you doing on January 12, 2010? I was at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago where I work, having a pretty average Tuesday. When I got home from work I flipped on my TV and started to see early reports about an earthquake in Haiti, but it wasn't until the next morning that I realized the extent of the devastation in Port au Prince. The hospital was abuzz with chatter about the earthquake and the chatter quickly turned to action. Days later Rush sent a team of physicians to Port au Prince where the facilitated emergency care and upon their return they knew there was more that would, could, and should be done.

     In October of 2010 The Rush Global Health Program called for volunteers to return to Port au Prince in order to begin to set up primary care clinics. I jumped at the chance and joined physicians, nurses, and a medical student not knowing how or where I would be useful, but I didn't care. I was prepared to act as an intake worker, a baby sitter, a public health educator, and a urine dipstick checker, whatever was needed I was ready to be that girl! Much to my delight, I was so busy being a PT I didn't have to check one dipstick (pfewwww)!  During that trip I evaluated patients from six days old to ninety-six years old. I educated patients on the dangers of hypertension. I provided gait training with canes and crutches I brought with me. I got up on a very very large soap box and preached about "tummy time" to any new mother who would listen to me. While my team was stomping out primary care diseases, I was stomping our musculoskeletal impairments! That trip made me fall in love with being a PT all over again and it made me realize how gifted physical therapists are outside of the clinic.  We are problem solvers and listeners and touchers and healers and we are REALLY hard workers.

    Upon my return home I couldn't stop thinking about my experience in Haiti. Haiti became a part of me. The Rush Global Health program has since sent six more teams to Haiti, each with a physical therapist. I have been lucky enough to return in October of 2011 and 2012. Last month our team, made up of physicians, nurses, medical students, PA students, and a community volunteer, saw over 200 patients daily. Despite the hustle and bustle of busy clinics, I found a sense of peace in "just doing my job". My patients ranged from a few days old to one hundred and two years old; the one hundred and two year old man thanked me for offering him a shiny new properly fit straight cane, but chose to leave clinic with his "walking stick" which was taller than him and at one time most certainly a tree branch. I saw patients with neurological impairments and babies with developmental delay and of course, I continued to stomp out musculoskeletal impairments. This year I was also able to meet with a Haitian nurse at one of our clinics an discuss the role of a physical therapist in her community and how she could promote functional mobility in her patient's post stroke or brain injury.

   Every time I leave Port au Prince, I think about when I can go back. My friends and family have asked me why I keep going back. Isn't it sad? Isn't it dangerous? Wouldn't you rather go lay on a beach in the Dominican Republic? Nope! My decisions to return to Haiti are driven by something bigger than me. Saint Louis University taught me a lot about the Latin word Magis and why we should do more for God and others, but despite all of my A’s in theology I didn't get it. My experiences in Haiti have taught me how to put the word Magis into action. These trips and the people I have met during these experiences have taught me to better appreciate what I am capable of and what I have been given and to whom much is given much is expected.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mikey Manning and the Menisci

Mikey Manning (Class of 2015) explains the importance of the menisci and his own personal background with this topic in physical therapy:

I sat in Kinesiology II last week listening to Dr. Reinking lecturing about the sad tales of those who have knee problems, when he finally came across the all-important menisci. I looked down at the scars on my own knee and realized he might as well have been talking to me. I had portions of both my lateral and medial menisci taken out due to two separate ACL tears of my left knee. Mark talked about the reason we have menisci in our knees- basically to cushion forces, keep bone from contacting bone, and without these menisci, we start to develop pain in our knee. Hearing “pain in the knee” made me smile because I could relate to this statement. Know that while I don't feel like a cripple, nor do you want to read about my "terrible" knee pain, Mark did answer the biggest question of my knee injury experience: why did they slice out my menisci, but save it in other people? 

I knew going into Mark's lecture that the cartilaginous menisci are poorly vascularized, and therefore have limited potential to heal. I also knew that doctors would not try and surgically repair something if it had no potential to heal. So why do they try and save it in some people, but not in mine? Well apparently your menisci are partially vascularized, heavily in the outer layer, partially in the middle layer, and none at all in the inner layer. I had happened to tear my menisci in the inner layer, causing the surgeon to have to remove it. As you get older, your menisci get less and less vascularized. I guess you can say I am unlucky when it comes to injuries, two knee surgeries later I find myself feeling like I am 40 at times. 

Mark dropped some knowledge on me in class; hope I could do the same for you all. 

-Mikey Manning

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Leah Mengis in Australia

Leah Mengis (PT student in the Class of 2016) is currently studying abroad in Australia! She shared a little bit of her experience below (including some great pictures!). If you are interested in the finer details of studying abroad as a SLU student, see the link at the end of the article for the Saint Louis University Study Abroad Blog.  

Why did you choose your site?
I chose to come to Australia because I have loved beaches all of my life and Australia is the home of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Also, I figured this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit a place for 3.5 months, and since Australia is so far away, I chose to come here.

What did you anticipate? Were you nervous? Excited?
I was very nervous before coming here because I have never done anything like this before, especially by myself. I knew a few other PTs coming here, but I was still very nervous and did not know what to expect. However, the second I got here, I fell in love! I had nothing to be worried about at all.

What surprised you the most about your experience? What about the other culture surprised or shocked you?
Little things about the culture here surprise me. Everyone here is very friendly and approachable. If you have a question, anyone is happy to help and they do it with a smile. The cliché phrase “no worries mate” is used quite often, but I love their attitude on life.

 Would you recommend that other PT students study abroad? Would you recommend your site to them?
I would absolutely recommend that other PT students study abroad! I have only been here for a month and a half, but I have already experienced so many new things, made new friends, and had the time of my life! I really think studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have made, and I am so lucky to be in such a beautiful place with so many amazing people. I would also really recommend coming to Australia because of the fact that it’s so far away. I figured I could easily travel to Europe later in life, but Australia is much farther away so it truly is a great opportunity. It may seem scary to go to another country for so long, but I am so glad I made this decision despite some nerves and anxiety at first.

Another great resource for understanding the SLU student study abroad experience is the study abroad blog:

For those of you who are very curious about the student study abroad experience, make sure to check out the Saint Louis University Study Abroad Blog. This blog is put together by Saint Louis University students who speak in detail about topics like:

 Marketing your Study Abroad Experience
Packing Tips for Going Abroad
Living with a Host Family
Madrid, Spain
Pre-departure Preparation
Enjoy Germany – The Basics
Affording Study Abroad
San Salvador, El Salvador
Choosing the Right Program
Be a Global Billiken
London, England
Quito, Ecuador

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Erin Bode at Crave

As our current students know very well, Crave is a Coffee House and Ministry of Christ in the City Lutheran Church located right up the road from the Program in Physical Therapy (with great coffee and a relaxing space, Crave can get pretty packed the morning before a DPT exam!). If you’re in St. Louis and interested in jazz music you may want to check out the next performer at Crave:
Crave will be presenting Erin Bode November 25, 2012 from 7pm-9pm.
Tickets are on sale now
$15 in advance/$20 at the door
For more information call:
Crave Coffee House is a Ministry of Christ in the City Lutheran Church
3504 Caroline Street St. Louis MO 63104

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pictures from today’s class with the empathy belly!

National Student Conclave 2012

Several physical therapy students from the class of 2013 shared pictures and feedback from the APTA’s National Student Conclave in Arlington, VA:

“The sessions on interviewing techniques was extremely helpful and was well worth the trip.” 
Jacky Vandas
"It inspired me to do a residency next year!" 
Jim Heafner
“The interviewing skills lecture and networking opportunities are well worth the travel and lodging expenses.”
Annie Green
"I learned some important interviewing skills and networked with some of the leaders in the physical therapy profession, but my highlight was meeting Dr. Flynn!"
Chris Fox
“At NSC I learned the value of networking with students and professional PT’s as well as how to separate myself through proper resume writing/interviewing.”
Brian Schwabe

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sara Scholtes Physical Therapy Research Seminar

As seen on Newslink at
Physical Therapy Research Seminar
Sara Scholtes, Ph. D., assistant professor of physical therapy will present “Movement Analysis in Children with Cerebral Palsy.” This event is open to the public. For more information, contact Joanne Wagner, Ph.D., at 314-977-8532 or

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

PT Turkey Bowl

Sign Up for the FIRST PT Turkey Bowl
WHEN: NOVEMBER 17th (12-3pm)
WHERE: VANDY FIELD right by the SHACK!!!!

for bragging rights

Questions contact: 
Kelly Schoen

Claire McKeone and the TASKforce Rock and Roll Marathon

The article below by physical therapy student Claire McKeone (Class of 2014) describes her experience as an assistant coach for TASKforce during the Rock and Roll Marathon and Half Marathon, including meeting runners from all over the world, a concert with Train, and an inspiring spirit of generosity.

Running has always been a part of my life. It has been a way for me to connect with my family, make friends and learn how to push my limits.  However, until this year I never really saw how running can bring people from all walks of life together. I was given the opportunity to be an assistant coach for TASKforce. This team of runners is from all over the world. They train together for the Rock and Roll Marathon and Half Marathon while raising money for TASK, Team Activities for Special Kids. TASK is a non-profit local organization for kids with special needs to participate in team sports and social opportunities in a safe and supportive environment. Many of my classmates thought I was crazy: 5AM runs, 3 times a week. But I loved really getting to know the St. Louis team members, running with them, encouraging them and watching them progress.
            I didn’t realize the impact this group of runners had until Race weekend. We started welcoming in international members on Thursday. There ended up being representatives from 13 countries and over 300 people in total, all raising money for TASK here in St. Louis. It was amazing to see everyone’s enthusiasm through the weekend. They were so dedicated to the race and raising money for kids they had never met.
            On Friday we had a social event where all the participants mingled and shared stories. This included having the opportunity to meet running legend and an Olympic gold medalist Frank Shorter. Then on Saturday there was a service project with all the TASK athletes so the runners could meet the children they have been supporting. Finally, it was Race day! All the coaches were placed on the course and took turns running parts of the race with our team members, encouraging and helping them to the finish line. 

            The last two events were a Thank You Gala for all the runners and a benefit concert featuring Train! Everyone was completely exhausted, enthusiastic to be done, and ready to relax together. I was able to bring a few friends to the concert. Amazingly Amanda, another physical therapy student, and I got pulled on stage! Amanda even stopped the show so we could take a picture on stage with Pat, the lead singer. The band did an incredible job incorporating all the TASK Athletes into the concert, by pulling many on stage, going as far as giving one of the boys a signed guitar and letting him play the last song with the band. After the concert the band handed out backstage passes with the TASK kids in attendance, giving them the opportunity to meet the band and get their pictures taken.

            It was definitely one of the most rewarding weekends and the most amazing job I have ever had. Sure it was rough some mornings, but I absolutely loved every minute of it. I was rejuvenated by seeing the joy on the runners’ faces when they crossed the finish line and making connection with the runners and coaches. The part that struck me the most was that it was all for a greater cause. They weren’t just running to finish or for a new PR, they were running for the sake of someone else. I am so thankful for this opportunity; it is something I will never forget.

Claire McKeone