Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 Irma Ruebling Distinguished Speaker Series

Lynn Snyder-Mackler, PT, ATC, ScD, FAPTA, was the featured speaker at the 2017 Irma Ruebling Distinguished Speaker Series hosted by the Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy. Dr. Snyder-Mackler gave her presentation, That’s Eureka Redux: Training Rehabilitation Clinician-Scientists, on Thursday, March 23 from 5:30 – 7 PM in the Allied Health Building Room 1043 on Saint Louis University’s South Campus.

Dr. Gretchen Salsich, Dr. Lynn Snyder-Mackler, and Dr. Tricia Austin
Dr. Snyder-Mackler is an internationally recognized clinician and clinical researcher in sports and orthopedic rehabilitation. She is a board-certified physical therapist who maintains an active sports physical therapy practice and the University of Delaware and serves as a rehabilitation consultant to collegiate, amateur and professional teams. Dr. Snyder-Mackler served as Head Athletic Trainer for the beach volleyball venue at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. She concentrates her clinical practice and research in the areas of knee and shoulder rehabilitation and electrical stimulation of muscle; she has authored over 200 research publications and regularly speaks to national and international audiences about these topics. Dr. Snyder-Mackler’s research has earned her several major awards. Perhaps most notably, Dr. Snyder-Mackler was named the American Physical Therapy Association Mary McMillan Lecturer for 2015 – the association’s highest honor.

Dr. Lynn Snyder-Mackler with Irma Ruebling, former SLU PT chairperson
The Irma Ruebling Distinguished Speaker Series is named in honor of Irma Ruebling – former chairperson of the Program in Physical Therapy. Ruebling had a vision to bring nationally renowned speakers to Saint Louis University to present current physical therapy scholarship and how it relates to clinical practice. In addition to meeting with faculty and clinicians in the community, each year’s distinguished speaker leads a question-and-answer session with the Doctor of Physical Therapy students.
Dr. Ginge Kettenbach and Dr. Dave Gutekunst
Saint Louis University Assistant Professor in Physical Therapy Dave Gutekunst, MS, PhD, was very excited to have Dr. Snyder-Mackler as the featured speaker at the Irma Ruebling Distinguished Speaker Series.

“Dr. Snyder-Mackler is a leader in physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences – in every sense of the word,” Dr. Gutekunst said. “She is a highly respected clinician, a highly successful research scientist and a very thoughtful, engaging speaker who advocates for patients and clinicians alike.”

Dr. Gutekunst went on to explain that students from any discipline stood to gain insight from attending the lecture.

“Whether a student is a budding scientist interested in learning about cutting-edge research, a future clinician curious about how a clinician-scientist successfully balances practice with research or merely an engaged citizen who wants to know how scientific evidence informs medical care, there will be something for everyone,” Dr. Gutekunst said. “The Ruebling Distinguished Speaker event is something that all members of the SLU community can be proud to host.”

During the evening, we also recognized new Irma Ruebling Endowed Research Fund awardees: Dr. Ann Hayes, Dr. Gretchen Salsich, and Dr. Chris Sebelski.

Dr. Gretchen Salsich and Dr. Lynn Snyder-Mackler

Program in Physical Therapy students in their first and second professional years attended the lecture. Additionally, alumni and clinicians from the St. Louis Metro area attended for the CEU credits.

Dr. Tony Breitbach, Dr. Mike Markee, and Dr. Jason Bennett

Dr. Kim Levenhagen and Dr. Gretchen Salsich
Special thanks to our Research Committee, Department of Physical Therapy & Athletic Training:
Kitty Newsham, PhD, ATC, Chair
Dave Gutekunst, PhD 
Gretchen Salsich, PT, PhD 
Chris Sebelski, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS, CSCS

Photos by Erica Mullikin

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SLU PT Study Abroad Opportunity - Rome, Italy

When in Rome...
by Richard Guillen, DPT Class of 2020

I chose to study in Rome because I did not want my abroad experience to happen in a populous city like Madrid. Rome is filled with history, from the center of the Roman Empire to the center of Catholicism, I thought I was getting the biggest bang for my buck by study in Rome. The food also played a HUGE factor in my decision because Italian food is my absolute favorite of all time. 
I was expected Rome to be this ancient classy city. I was also expecting everyone to be super stylish, like straight out of a Vogue magazine. I remember searching up videos about traveling in Rome and the best places to go sight-seeing and best places to eat. I was super excited about going to Rome because I have never been to Europe before or ever traveled to another country alone. In the weeks leading up to my departure, I became very nervous and started to rethink my decision to study abroad. I became super nervous about not being able to make friends and having to spend my semester abroad alone in another country. 

One thing that surprised me the most about Rome was that it is, what I describe it as, a city stopped in time. What I mean by this is that the city has chosen to stay very close to its ancient ties while failing to modernize itself. It is still amazing to see ancient ruins near modern buildings. One thing I learned about Italians, more like Romans, is that they are extremely laid back. There is no rush for anything in the city and it reflects in their public transportation system. 
Some of the monuments that I saw that amazed me the most was the Vatican, the different basilicas, and the colosseum. The Vatican is its own country that is located in the center of Rome and holds St. Peter’s basilica. The basilica looks incredible from the outside and even better on the inside. There is so much detail put into every square inch of the basilica. I was lucky enough to go to several masses in the Vatican and inside the basilica. One of my favorite memories is being able to go to the papal audience and see Pope Francis a few rows away. The colosseum is this huge arena where citizens of Rome would gather to see gladiators fight to the death. Walking into the colosseum felt like going back in time and I was amazed at the details and the structure itself. 
If you go to Italy and not eat the pasta, then you are doing it wrong! My favorite food in Rome by far was the pasta, specifically the pasta Carbonara. I also loved how Italians eat their meals in courses, usually 4 courses. They consist of antipasti, la prima, il secondo, and il dolce. I would have to tell myself that this was a marathon and not a sprint whenever we were given a 4 course meal. There was this one time when I was out at a restaurant with friends and I was mistaken as Italian (which I love when that happens). After we ordered, the waitress approached me and started speaking really fast Italian and I had no idea what was happening. I was able to pick out some Italian words that I understood and from those words I understood that she was telling me that my dish was sold out and I had to order something else. I spat out the name of a random dish that I knew and that was that. When the waitress returned with our dishes, received my original pasta dish and were left with an extra pasta dish that no one had ordered. After talking to the waitress and manager we found out that what my friend had ordered, a caprese salad, was sold out and I basically ordered for her. That is what happens when I become too stubborn to tell someone that I am not Italian and do not understand what you are saying. 
I was lucky to make friends with some of the Swiss Guards that protect the Vatican and the Pope. I became friends with them through the director of campus ministry on campus. They were able to give us a private tour of their barracks and St. Peter’s Basilica. After the tour, my friends and I got the chance to sit down with the Swiss Guards and talk about our different cultures over food and drinks. They seemed to know a lot about American pop culture, including music and movies.
The John Felice Rome Center, which was the university I was attending in Rome, did not have any opportunities for me clinically. Most of the internships or opportunities were more social service based rather than medical based. I did get the chance to serve food to the homeless population at the Vatican and also was involved in a neighborhood cleanup in the Balduina neighborhood. 
If you are looking for clinical experience, then this program might not be for you. If you are, however, looking for the opportunity to meet people who are not from SLU, eat great food, and be immersed in a culture that is completely different than yours, then I recommend this to you. I was the only PT student from my class to study abroad in Rome, so I was given the opportunity to branch out and meet tons of new people from different universities and from SLU and made lasting friendships. The University is also situated in a residential neighborhood, so you have the chance to experience how Romans live, shop, and travel within the city by having fun adventure on public transportation. I would not trade the experience that I had for any other one.

This is one of several posts featuring SLU PT Student study abroad experiences. Because of its unique format, the SLU PT program gives students the ability to study abroad the fall of their junior year. For more information about study abroad experiences at SLU go to:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

SLU PT Study Abroad Opportunity - Bologna, Italy

All the members of the program in Piazza Maggiore during the Christmas season
Ciao! from Bologna
by Kelly Hodes, DPT Class of 2020

I chose to study abroad in Bologna, Italy, a smaller Italian town in central-northern Italy. I chose this site because I knew I wanted to study in Italy, and figured a smaller city where I could get more of an authentic Italian experience would be something new and fun. Bologna was the most authentic and least tourist-cluttered city I visited throughout all of abroad, which was refreshing, but also frustrating at times, as English was not commonly understood. My everyday interactions forced me far out of my comfort zone, and by the end of the semester I learned how to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
One of the beautiful views in Bologna
Bologna is considered the “college town” of Italy, and is actually home of the first university ever, founded in 1088. This university still exists, so there are lots of Italian students and young people everywhere, and it is a more liberal-leaning city.

It is also known for its amazing food, and pasta Bolognese, or meat sauce, started there! There was no shortage of amazing food in Bologna, including pizza, crepes, gelato, meats and cheeses, and all kinds of pasta. I miss the food there every day, and American pizza just continues to disappoint me.  
Some of the amazing food of Bologna
My program was through Spring Hill College, and was made up of only 35 students. This program was social-justice oriented, and we did a great deal of work with refugees and migrant youth coming from Africa, as Italy is usually the first point where they are received into Europe. We went hiking with them, played in soccer tournaments together, had dinners, and more. 
Soccer tournament with the migrant youth in Bologna, where they absolutely destroyed us
I did not necessarily choose this program because of the social justice aspect, but I ended up absolutely loving this part of my abroad experience. I knew next to nothing about the refugee crisis before going abroad, and coming back I have an entirely new and personal understanding of it that has truly changed my worldview. It was so much fun talking with and getting to know the migrants, as we are really all the same underneath the apparent differences.  
Hiking the active volcano Mt. Etna in Sicily with some refugees
Bologna was a great place to study abroad, and of course it had its ups and downs. Since it is a city relatively untouched by tourists, it is a very authentic experience, and I did feel truly immersed in the culture. Bologna was also very central and easy to travel from, which was perfect for me since I wanted to see as much as Europe as possible.
Some of the views you would typically see in Bologna 
However, this can also be very frustrating at times, as many of the people there did not speak English and Italian is a very difficult language to master. The language barrier was a struggle the majority of the time, but by the end of the semester we could usually at least order our coffee, pasta or wine, as well as ask for the check, without any issues, and that’s a win in my book. 
Some of the views you would typically see in Bologna 
I would absolutely recommend Bologna to future students looking to go abroad, but also tell them to know what they’re getting themselves into. Bologna is a charming city that has lots of hidden gems, but was lacking in tourist attractions and the Italian culture can be quite an adjustment. I loved my study abroad experience and would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone considering it. I am so lucky to have had this experience, and hope I can go back someday to visit Bologna again!
Learning to make pizza in Malta
This is one of several posts featuring SLU PT Student study abroad experiences. Because of its unique format, the SLU PT program gives students the ability to study abroad the fall of their junior year. For more information about study abroad experiences at SLU go to:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

SLU PT Study Abroad Opportunity - Argentina

¡Hola! from Argentina

By: Lena Brocato (DPT Class of 2020)

I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Córdoba, Argentina, which is a city in the center of Argentina that is vibrant, politically charged and full of fun and loving people. It is located about 30 minutes away from gorgeous mountains and is full of universities and college students, making it a very fun and energetic city. In Córdoba, I studied with a program called Casa. This program challenged us to live simply and love extravagantly. It focuses on four pillars: Community, Accompaniment, Spirituality and Academics. We were each assigned a "Praxis site", or service site, that we went to two times a week for the semester. At my praxis site I got the opportunity to work with a foundation that helps support young adults that are struggling financially by providing them with magazines to sell in the city. This foundation, La Luciérnaga, also provides these young adults with meals, clothes and classes on professionalism in hopes that they can get more stable jobs. My role was accompaniment based, so I spent the morning working with a few women, preparing lunch, cleaning the building and organizing what ever they need. Then in the afternoon I got to spend time with the people that sell the magazines. It was my absolute favorite part of the entire week! These people do not lead easy lives and yet they are so full of joy and have great, goofy spirits. It was so nice of them to take time out of their days to chit-chat with me. It is very rewarding to get to use my Spanish to connect with these "Canillitas,” or the people selling magazines, that I would not otherwise get a chance to know.

Photo I took of the Canillitas in their backyard area at La Luciérnaga
On top of the great experience of Praxis and adventuring through Córdoba, we also had the chance to explore other parts of Argentina! I went to Buenos Aires, Las Sierras, Bariloche and El Bolsón and have met some great Argentine friends through our classes and lives in the city. 

Las Sierras, Córdoba
Casa in Argentina is a unique study abroad experience that I would recommend to anyone who is ready to challenge themselves through uncomfortable situations, experience things that can change your worldview and push yourself to learn how to better love and show empathy to others. Although my semester did not have a Health Science focus, I learned more about what it means to “walk” with others and meet them where they are than I think I ever would have, had I stayed in the states. 

March in opposition of racial profiling and police brutality with Casa students and people from La Luciérnaga through Córdoba
This is one of several posts featuring SLU PT Student study abroad experiences. Because of its unique format, the SLU PT program gives students the ability to study abroad the fall of their junior year. For more information about study abroad experiences at SLU go to:

Monday, March 6, 2017

2017 PT STUCO Kickball Tournament

Congratulations to the Juniors for winning the PT STUCO Kickball Tournament!  

Our PT classes came together on March 4th at noon at Vandy Field to take advantage of the great weekend weather and show off their hip flexion/knee extension skills! It was a fun time and great opportunity to get all of the PT classes together to compete.

The freshmen and the juniors made quite a  showing. Yeah!   PY1s and PY2s had a combined team with lots of energy and laughs.

See you next year!