Monday, July 14, 2014

Meet Alicia Flach!

The Program in Physical Therapy is very excited to welcome Alicia Flach, PT, DPT, NCS. Alicia is joining the Program in Physical Therapy today as an Assistant Professor and will be involved in DPT 507 Applied Neuroscience, DPT 527 Neurological Conditions I, DPT 420 Developmental Biology, Neurological Seminar and the IPE Program. A very warm welcome to Alicia! 

Alicia Flach, PT, DPT, NCS and her husband Matt

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Alton, IL and lived in Dorsey, IL (a very, very small town). I went to Edwardsville High School.

How many siblings do you have?
 I have a twin brother that also lives in the St. Louis area.

What are your parents like?
 My mom lives in Chicago and works at an international law firm. She currently loves being a grandma to our daughter, Emma.


When did you first become interested in physical therapy and why?
 While at school at the University of Illinois, I decided to volunteer at a hospital. I was assigned to the PT department and loved it! I loved how rewarding it was to be involved with people improving and regaining their independence.

Where did you receive your undergraduate degree?
University of Illinois

Where did you receive your PT degree? DPT? PhD?
University of South Carolina

What made the largest impact on you, concerning physical therapy (i.e. a strong clinical experience, mentors, working with patients, etc.)?
 I would say there are a couple of landmark moments that had an impact on me. The first would be my work in the research lab as a student therapist. We worked on intensity of mobility training (walking and balance) with adults following stroke, spinal cord injury and children following hemispherectomy. It was truly my first “hands on” experience in improving the lives of others.

Second, would be my time at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. I don’t know that I can narrow this experience down to one moment but I’ll say the evidence based practice, inclusion of active research into patient care, and working with astounding clinicians from multiple disciplines really helped me grow as a clinician and realize the impact of an effective interdisciplinary team can have on the life of someone recovering.

Professional Association

Are you a member of the APTA?
 Yes. I have been a member since I was a student. I am currently a member of the neurology and education sections.

Scholarship and Research

What areas of research are you involved in and interested in?
I am interested in learning more about the appropriate intensities of physical therapy interventions on those with neurological injuries or diseases to maximize functional outcomes. I am also interested in how well knowledge is translated from the classroom to the clinic.

Clinical Practice

What was your previous background in regards to clinical practice?
 My first job after finishing school was at a small hospital on the northwest side of Chicago. I worked in subacute and acute care settings. I then moved to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and worked in a variety of settings. I started in day rehab (intensive outpatient setting) and then moved to inpatient rehab where I worked with people with many diagnoses (ie spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, amputation and many other medical conditions). Following about one year in the inpatient setting, I moved to the outpatient setting where I worked with people that had a wide variety of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. Some specialty populations that I really enjoyed working with were those with vestibular conditions, pulmonary conditions, and following amputation. During my time at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, I prepared for and became a Neurologic Clinical Specialist.

What is your current background in regards to clinical practice?
 I plan to continue to be active in the clinic with an emphasis on working with people that have neurological conditions.

Area of Teaching

What courses will you be teaching?
I will be involved with Applied Neuroscience DPT 507, Neurological Conditions I DPT 527, Developmental Biology DPT 420, Neurological Seminar, and in the IPE program.

Fun Facts

If you were not a physical therapist what would you be?
 I would love to own a bakery.

What is your favorite St. Louis restaurant?
Since we just moved here from Chicago after being away for a while, I haven’t determined a favorite but would LOVE suggestions.

Where is your favorite place to travel?
I would say anywhere I haven’t been before. I love to experience new places and cultures.

What is your favorite memory?
The day my daughter was born was life changing and truly amazing. A very close second was my wedding day. It was simple, small and perfect!

Who is your favorite sports team?
Fighting Illini (for basketball)
Gamecocks (for football- nothing like SEC football!)

What is your favorite movie?
This is a great question- there is a substantial period of my life that I would have hands down said Dirty Dancing. However, this has been dethroned. I would say Stranger than Fiction is my current leader. I also am always down for a good Ken Burns documentary!

If you could travel anywhere where would you go?
This is a tough one. I still daydream about a trip that we took in 2010 to South Africa for the World Cup and then popped by Barcelona on the way back. I would definitely take any opportunity to return to those locations but would love to make it to Greece and Italy.

Alicia's dogs :) 

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