Tuesday, September 24, 2019

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Faculty Member Dr. Carol Beckel Leads Fundraising Effort and Raises $2000 for Clinic in Belize

Saint Louis University Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni Contribute to Fundraiser for Hillside Health Care International


Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy Faculty Member Dr. Carol Beckel joined forces with alumna Carley Kirsch (DPT Class of 2013) on June 29th this summer to raise money for a non-profit medical clinical in Southern Belize, Hillside Health Care International (HHCI). Dr. Carol Beckel and Carley serve on the Board of Directors for HHCI. Carley volunteered at HHCI for a year as the Rehab Director and Dr. Beckel provides short-term volunteer coverage as a PT as well. HHCI is a clinical affiliate for students in the Program in Physical Therapy.


Dr. Carol Beckel and Carley collected items from around the midwest including donations from family and friends as well as Program of Physical Therapy faculty, staff, and alumni. Emma London and Bailey Flynn (both 2019 graduates) who both completed clinical rotations at HHCI donated items after wrapping up their lives in St. Louis. 

Several Program alumni helped prepare for the sale and on the day off the sale including a classmate of Dr. Carol Beckel's, Katherine Meirink (1992), Meg Robben (2006), Lexi (Modglin) Wisch (2018), and Caitlin Whiteley (2018) spent time sorting items ahead of the sale. 


On the day of the sale, Katherine along with her daughter and a Girl Scout from their troop came out to support the sale. In addition, Program Staff Kristin Hrasky and current student Remy Arnold (Class of 2020) who will complete a rotation at HHCI in January of 2020, also helped to make sales, carry items to cars, and clean-up at the end of the sale.


In total, the yard sale raised $2,000 to support the work of HHCI to provide primary medical care, pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, and communication education in the Toledo District of Belize. To learn more about HHCI please go to HillsideBelize.org.  Although it was a hot and humid day in St. Louis, it was a fun way to raise money, help folks clean out their own basements, and help others find that perfect new item for themselves!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Student Laura Seadler Uses Scholarship to Travel to Clinical Site in Belize

SLU DPT Students: Laura Seadler (left) and Claire Thoelecke (right)
Cheryl L. Cavallo Memorial Scholarship Spotlight - DPT Student Laura Seadler Heads to Punta Gorda for 2019 Clinical
by Laura Seadler (DPT Class of 2020)

Thanks to the generosity of the Cavallo scholarship, I was able to spend my last four weeks of clinical for 2019 in Punta Gorda, Belize at Hillside Healthcare International providing outpatient and home health care to the wonderful, awesome, kind people of Punta Gorda and surrounding villages in and around the Toledo district of Belize.


On this rotation, I was given the opportunity to work alongside a PT classmate and SLU faculty member, Physician Assistant students from North Carolina and Pharmacy students from Butler University as we treated patients and interacted interprofessionally to provide cohesive patient care. It was seriously a blast.

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Students: Laura Seadler (left) and Claire Thoelecke (right

Hillside is an incredible, sustainable organization that provides a variety of pro bono services to those in need.


I would recommend spending time and volunteering at Hillside to all friends and family, please support and continue to engage in conversations pertaining to public health, global health and healthcare for the underserved!

Dr. Carol Beckel and SLU Program in Physical Therapy Students, Laura Seadler and Claire Thoelecke.


by Laura Seadler
Class of 2020

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

SLU Program in Physical Therapy Student Stella Jeong Uses Scholarship for a Public Health Immersion Trip with Campus Ministry


Welcome sign to West Virginia.

Immersion Experience Spotlight - Cheryl L. Cavallo Memorial Scholarship Funds DPT Student Trip to West Virginia
by Stella Jeong (DPT Class of 2021)

With the generous gift from Cheryl L. Cavallo memorial fund, I was able to go on an immersion trip to West Virginia through SLU’s Campus Ministry. This trip has taught me and transformed me in a way that I would’ve never imagined— and I am more than happy to share my experience in this blog.

Side of the road from Kermit.

The immersion trip was constructed around the theme of “Public Health,” which was the main reason why I chose this program out of many other options. As a future health care provider and an individual who never personally experienced rural poverty, I felt called to visit WV. And here is how the trip unfolded:

Photo with staff from Mine Wars Museum.

We first arrived in a small town called Kermit and met a woman named Marlene, who greeted us with the warmest smile. She was the executive director of ABLE families, a non-profit organization that runs the afterschool program, in-home family education program, and summer camps for families who are at risk. Marlene showed us around Mingo county, and I was able to connect with people who have been laid off from coal mining companies with no health care benefit, people who suffer from opioids overdose crisis, and young mothers who were raising children with no proper resources. Hearing their stories was heartbreaking, and honestly hard to believe. I really didn’t think the situation would be this serious and alarming because it’s the United States. I thought I knew what poverty looked like, coming from a family who also struggled a lot from a developing country. This trip broke my prejudice and made me realize that I had many privileges that people from WV might not have. And these “privileges” include a grocery store with fresh produce, a hospital or health clinic that are at least within an hour away, clean water without toxic substances from factories, and environment where children can grow up without having to worry about drug addiction so close to their home. I would want to label them as “basic human needs or rights” instead of “privileges”, but unfortunately, in WV, it simply wasn’t the case.

Train transporting coal.

When we visited the Mine Wars Museum, the staff who gave us the tour said, “We would love to see [health care] students like you guys come back to West Virginia. We could really use your help.” What he said that day, made me think a lot about my future path as a Physical Therapist. What can I bring to communities that are underserved when I’m a PT? How can I raise more awareness? How can I make a change when I’m back in St. Louis? So many unanswered questions, but they are driving me to become the PT that I want to be in the future.

Micro-Farming from PATCH 21 to grow fresh produce for the communities

I was overwhelmed and confused when we left West Virginia after a week, but the immersion trip has left me with many meaningful lessons and community leaders that I can look up to. I’ve donated part of my scholarship to Marlene’s ABLE families organization as I was so inspired by the work that they do.

Progression of “Mountain Top Removal” for coal mining companies.

I encourage everyone to participate in Hustle 4 Your Health event to support the cause and for the future experiences of other PT students who may receive this amazing scholarship.

Thanks for reading my story and feel free to ask more about my trip if you want to!

Stella Jeong
DPT Class of 2021