CSM Tuesday Memo: 2/4/2014

The Tuesday Memo – CSM Edition

February 4, 2014                                                                                       PITT DPT STUDENTS

Pitt PT CSM Day 2!

 So the madness began today. Registration opened at 7:00am and the convention center was full of hustle and bustle as people picked up their conference materials! I spotted first, second, and third year students today as they made their way through the Venetian (which is quite an accomplishment; it’s huge!). Also, APTA announced that they have selected a new CEO, J. Michael Bowers, who will be a great asset to the APTA community and it’s components!

Faculty/Alumni spottings:

Kathi Brandfass, a neuro PT from Sports medicine, was chatting it up with some second year students in the registration area. Michael Gans, Pitt alumni and a previous keynote speaker for the Class of 2015, was at The Bourbon Room in the Venetian. Matt and I had the opportunity to chat with him as well as some other Pitt PT alumni!

There is a lot of excitement and buzz with the approaching conference events tomorrow. I had the opportunity to stop in to the exhibit hall to set up the Student Assembly Booth (Booth #361) and there is some awesome stuff brewing in that hall! There are so many places for students to stop to network, learn, and gather some incredible information so get your game face on and get ready to network like a champion!

Tomorrow is the official start of CSM programming, events, and meetings for most attendees so the trip has essentially just begun! Some can’t miss events include the Pitt PT Alumni Event at the Miller Ale House from 6:30-8:30pm, the Student Assembly Forum from 6:30-7:30pm, and the Student Assembly Meet N Greet from 8-9pm. Don’t forget to refer to both the Student Guide for Pitt Students as well as the Official Student Guide for CSM! Links are under the CSM tab at the top of the page!

Can’t wait to get the day started tomorrow at the Student Assembly Board Meeting, which will be led by Matt DeBole, SA President and Pitt Student! We will have the opportunity to meet with Dr. Rockar, as well as be introduced to Mr. Bowers, the new APTA CEO!

Follow @PittPT and #PittPTCSM to stay updated with where your fellow Pitt students, alumni, and faculty will be throughout the conference!


 ~Kait Bianco


Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events

Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has create an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
February 4, 2014 |

Advocacy Update

Advocacy: Why you should be involved.

As students entering a profession influenced by federal and state legislation, it is important that we become educated in current issues regarding such legislation and learn to advocate for the best interest of our profession.  While laws and regulations may create a framework from within we work, we have the ability to make alterations and additions to that framework as we see fit for our profession through advocacy.  Only we, as physical therapists, are experts in the field of physical therapy, so we should be the ones involved in making decisions affecting physical therapy.  Not only are we as physical therapists affected by legislation in the way we practice and provide services, but our patients are affected in the care they receive and how they receive it, as well.  By becoming professionals of physical therapy, we have a social responsibility to advocate for access to and delivery of essential and appropriate rehabilitation services for the health and wellbeing of the public.

Getting involved is easy.  The simple use of social media, like Twitter and Facebook, and email can be the start of making a difference.  The APTA’s section on advocacy and the PT PAC have great resources to make advocating easy and possible for us students.  It is both our own and our patients’ future, and we can help guide and form it through advocacy.

Be sure to check out the advocacy section on the APTA’s website and stay tuned for more blogs discussing current issues to learn more about advocacy efforts and how to become involved!

Keep an eye out for more advocacy updates from Natalie Novak.

~Natalie Novak

January 29, 2014 |

The Monday Memo: 9/2/13

The Monday Memo

PT Abroad Adventures

September 2, 2013                                                                                       PITT DPT STUDENTS


Dublin, Ireland

Instead of spending my summer in Pittsburgh with my peers, I spent 6 weeks completing our first full-time clinical rotation in Dublin, Ireland. I chose to go to Ireland for a couple of reasons. First things first, I can’t speak any other language! Secondly, being from the south suburbs of Chicago, I have grown up around an area heavily influenced on the Catholic Irish culture. Thirdly, I had never been to Ireland or out of the United States at the age of 25. I think it was time for some international traveling and exploring! Finally, my grandmother, Eleanor, who is one of the most influential (strong Irish) women in my life, was
from Ireland.

I spent my 6 weeks at a private hospital, UPMC Beacon, which is my first experience in an acute physical therapy setting. I was blessed to work with many different therapists and types of patients. Depending on the day, I would be with acute-orthopedic, oncology, intensive care unit, cardiac, or outpatient orthopedic patients.

My favorite experience at the hospital was getting the unique opportunity of being in the theatre or as we know it here in the states as surgery! I shadowed two different surgeons: orthopedic and brain. Seeing a patient in surgery and then being their physical therapist was such an educational experience. It allowed me to truly see a patient from the beginning of their care. I really understood what they went through and why they might present with the deficits they do post-surgery.

In addition to my educational and clinical experience, I spent my weekends becoming a true local. I traveled all around the country seeing cities like Cork, Kilkenny, Galway, Belfast, and of course Dublin. I spent my weekends meeting people from all over the world, trying the not-so-famous cuisine of Ireland (which was delicious), and taking LOTS of pictures! This summer was more than just a clinical rotation. It was an unforgettable, brilliant life experience that allowed me to grow so much as a person and as a clinician.


~Kelly Ricker

Munich, Germany

I was fortunate enough to spend six weeks in Munich this summer where I was placed in two separate clinics for 2 three-week rotations. The first three weeks was spent in an outpatient orthopedic ‘Reha’. A ‘Reha’ is a multidisciplinary clinic where patients receive many types therapy, take group exercise classes, attend patient education seminars, and perform therapeutic exercises. This clinic is starkly different from what is found in the US in that the patients are present at the clinic for 4 to 6 hours each day permitted by time off work follow injury or a surgical procedure. The patients come to the clinic 2-5 times a week depending on how much time off work is allowed and the severity of their injury. I was able to treat and observe as well as take some of the group exercise classes. The emphasis of the physiotherapy time slots was on manual therapy (each patient had 1-2 hours to perform their previously prescribed therapeutic exercises at a different time). I now know there are so many more manual therapy techniques available for use than I was aware. This exposure deepened my interest in manual therapy and has encouraged me to pursue it further through my career.


My second clinical experience was in an inpatient neurological facility. MFZ is a part of a larger system that allows patients who have cerebral palsy to have a lifetime of care including schooling and vocational training. The first step in the system is an inpatient facility for children and young adults up to the age of 21. If at that point they are unable to be independent and attend outpatient therapy, they move to MFZ where they can receive essential support and care. This clinic also provides jobs within the facility including but not limited to working in a bike repair shop, an Ebay book store, and many support staff positions on the campus. Additionally the facility has integrated a skilled nursing unit for the elderly. The physiotherapy is primarily focused on improving quality of life and preventing further impairments. This was my first introduction to neurological physical therapy and it proved quite humbling. It was obvious that the therapist truly loved their jobs and really cared for the patients. Across the board the patients were always happy to see me and knew way more English than I knew German.


My 6 weeks in Munich proved to be invaluable and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I am so grateful for all of the support that made this trip possible.

~Karleen Smith


Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events
Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 4,200 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has create an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
  • Log ‘N Blog –  Our PITT PT team is up and ready for new members! Please join and ask friends and family to join as well! 

September 2, 2013 |

The Monday Memo: 1/28/13

The Monday Memo

January 28, 2013                                                                                       PITT DPT STUDENTS

CSM 2013: San Diego


The past week was inspirational, motivational, educational,.. and the list goes on. There are few ways to truly capture the excitement of collaborating with students, faculty, and alumni from around the country, but we’re going to try. You will find below several guest entries from first year students that attended CSM. Enjoy!


CSM reminded me that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. At school I focus so much on specifics and on studying for the next test that I can forget the big picture. After a week of incredible lectures in fields I had no idea I was interested in, and networking with physical therapists from across the country (in gorgeous sunny 75 degree weather), I remembered why this is my passion.


I may have missed 4 hours of neuroanatomy lecture, but I learned about degenerative cerebellar disease and its effects (blurry or mis-proportioned representation of the body). The cerebellum compensates for the cerebral hemispheres when there is a lesion, so we must investigate if that compensation occurs inversely, when it’s the cerebellum that is lesioned.


While there, I learned that my patient with lateral epicondylitis may benefit from thoracic or cervical manipulation. I learned that interest and enthusiasm in anything is contagious. But most importantly, I learned that Pitt has an incomparable community. We are learning the latest and best information in our classes by the people who are the best in their field. We basically have CSM all year round.


From the moment that I stepped into National Student Conclave in Washington D. C in November of 2012, I knew that conferences were going to be a big part of my graduate and professional career. Combined Sections Meeting 2013 affirmed my beliefs. Coming from such a prestigious physical therapy program, we are expected to uphold high standards. I must say that from my experience, my fellow Pitt students surpass those standards astronomically. I don’t think I have ever been prouder to say that I am from the University of Pittsburgh.


Everything that I had a chance to partake in had some connection to Pitt. Our faculty is at the top of their game. They provide us with the most current and most applicable evidence. Even though we’ve been told one hundred times before that they are preparing us to be at the top of our generation, it’s encouraging to hear it from people outside of the University of Pittsburgh. Our faculty represented our program better than we could have ever imagined. From meetings to lectures to platforms, they were there either presenting the information or gathering it to bring it back to our classrooms.


In addition to the faculty, our Pitt classmates continuously showed exemplary performance in everything that they did. Matt DeBole, Director of the Student Assembly Board of Directors, was working around the clock to unite the students in any way that he could, making every student realize the impact that they can have on the future of our profession. Eric Lehman was recognized as the Outstanding Orthopedic Student of the Year. Watching him accept the award was reason enough to attend the conference. A group of second year students developed and launched what is going to be a stellar fundraiser for the Foundation for Physical Therapy. AND the Pitt students that attended accounted for 15% of the volunteers that helped the APTA in keeping the conference running as smoothly as possible.


Now that I’m down off of my soapbox, I really must say that if you ever have the opportunity to attend any conference, don’t hesitate. I guarantee that it will be one of the most rewarding experiences that you have in your career.


As a first-year student attending CSM, I had no idea what to expect. I was given advice by several older students and staff members that it was worth it, so I trusted their judgement. I am certainly glad I did.


My favorite part about CSM was the wide array of topics present. As a first year student, this allowed me to explore parts of PT that I was unfamiliar with or that I simply wanted to learn more about. The first presentation I attended was on a recently developed robotic prosthesis, the Deygo. This product was so new that it hadn’t yet been released for commercial use. This is just one example of how going to CSM gives you the ability to learn about the newest developments in PT.


Attending CSM also fostered my increasing interest in the field of pediatric PT. I was able to learn more about early intervention, an area which I knew little about. Additionally, the neurology and oncology sections of the APTA put on a presentation covering pediatric brain tumors that was extremely informative. My favorite pediatric lectures covered the topics of postural control and the prediction of cerebral palsy in young infants.


Since I could probably talk about my CSM experience until the next CSM rolls around (Las Vegas, anyone?), I will summarize the last couple paragraphs… Go to CSM- it is worth it!


Thank you to my fellow students who gave us some insight into the student perspective of CSM. The past week was fantastic, and I can only encourage more of my class and the classes to follow to participate fully in these professional events!




Check the Calendar for Class Schedules and Events
Social Media Updates
  • #DPTstudent –  WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST!   Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
  • Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 4,200 students have already joined!
  • Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has create an official PittPT Facebook page!
  • #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)
  • Log ‘N Blog –  Our PITT PT team is up and ready for new members! Please join and ask friends and family to join as well! 

January 28, 2013 |

Gerard P. Brennan: Management of Patients with Low Back Pain February 23, 2013

Gerard P. Brennan
Gerard P. Brennan, PT, PhD

joined by

Tony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA
Pamela Peele, PhD
Everette James, JD, MBA

Managements of Patients with Low Back Pain

February 23, 2013







 Rather register by mail? Please follow instructions on the Course Flyer!

Sorry, but we are unable to issue refunds

Course Objectives
  1. To understand the factors contributing to poor outcomes and compromised value in the care of patients with low back pain.
  2. To understand how the impact of payment reform policy as it relates to low back pain may serve as a significant opportunity for physical therapists within a health care team.
  3. To describe how the re-design of work processes in health care with advanced practice professionals, specifically physical therapists, will impact care delivery to improve clinical and cost outcomes for low back pain.
  4. To understand how variation in the process of care for low back pain results in poor outcomes and increased costs.
  5. To describe how the value of care can be improved by improving the process of care, tracking outcomes, and delivering care at the right time.
  6. To facilitate small group discussions that explore how care could be redesigned in your environment to improve quality.


Continuing Education Units

General Access CEUs: 6.5

Course Level: Intermediate


Course Schedule
8:00 Speakers: Tony Delitto, PT PhD and Gerard Brennan, PT PhDLow Back Pain: Can We Start to Get It Right? Overview of Epidemiology and Natural History
9:00 Speaker: Pamela Peele, PhD

What are Our Best Solutions in Moving Forward?

10:00 Discussion and Questions
10:15 BREAK
10:30 Speaker: Everette James, JD, MBA

Re-engineering Health Care with Advanced Practice Professionals

11:30 Discussion and Questions
12:00pm LUNCH
1:00 Speaker: Gerard Brennan, PT PhD

Low Back Pain: Can We Start to Get It Right?

2:00 Discussion and Questions
2:15 BREAK
2:30 Speaker: Gerard Brennan, PT PhD

What is Value in Health Care and Physical Therapy?

 3:15 Speaker: Gerard Brennan, PT PhD

Re-design the Care and Change the Focus: A Path Forward for Physical Therapists

4:00 Speaker: Gerard Brennan, PT PhD

What Can You Do Now in Your Clinical World to Improve?

4:30 END







About the Speakers (coming soon)

Gerard Brennan, PT, PhD:

Tony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA:

Pamela Peele, PhD:

Everette James, JD, MBA


January 11, 2013 |