Alumni Receives Board Certifications at CSM 2013

Congratulations to all our Pacific Physical Therapy alumni who achieved Board-certification as clinical specialists!


Matthew Adam Shaefer (1999), Pediatric Certified Specialist
Whitney Erin Davis (2003), Pediatric Certified Specialist
Brianna Contreras (2004), Orthopedic Certified Specialist
Jennifer Kuznik (2004), Orthopedic Certified Specialist
Melissa Kay Smith (2004), Orthopedic Certified Specialist
Amy Biersch (2005), Orthopedic Certified Specialist
Kate Callicotte (2007), Pediatric Certified Specialist
Michelle Folsom (2008), Neurologic Certified Specialist
Warren Shikuma (2008), Geriatric Certified Specialist

IPC Conference 2012 Scholarship Award

The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative (IPC) 2012 Member Conference held its second annual conference in Savannah, GA this past June. The conference allows students to engage with owners and experts in the independent pharmacy business. The IPC sponsored 38 students from 12 universities to attend and announced eight recipients to receive a $1500 scholarship. Scholarships are awarded based on essay submissions about the students’ most impactful experience at the conference. Among these individuals was Daniel Huynh ’14 from University of Pacific.

Huynh shared some of his own experiences from the IPC conference. “I truly enjoyed the venue where the conference was held. Savannah, Georgia was an incredible place that was rich with culture and historic landmarks. The city was beautiful and the food was delicious. In addition to the wonderful venue, I enjoyed meeting and networking with many pharmacy owners from around the country,” said Huynh.

Huynh’s essay would detail his struggle with accounting and business finance, which are critical elements within an independent pharmacy. The conference would give Huynh an opportunity to learn about these topics from a lecture given by Steve Lefever. “Steve, IPC, members and staff provided me with the skill set I needed in taking the next step towards becoming a confident independent pharmacy owner. I even learned how to balance my business plan’s balance sheet,” said Huynh.

Several Pacific students also made submissions to the IPC and Huynh recognized several of his peers. “I feel very blessed to receive this scholarship. I know in addition to the many applicants from other prestigious pharmacy schools around the country that University of Pacific had some very deserving applicants. I am proud that someone from the University of Pacific won this scholarship, and grateful that it was me,” said Huynh.

In addition to the scholarship, Huynh is already looking forward to another big project after graduation. “I have always considered owning a pharmacy, but never took it serious until my good friend, Nataliya McElroy ’13, approached me about the opportunity to develop an independent pharmacy business plan. I am looking forward to creating a practice that will serve my community and its members.”


Pacific Faculty Help Establish New Center

Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences faculty Sachin A. Shah, Assistant Professor, Regional Coordinator-Travis AFB, Department of Pharmacy Practice, and colleagues from the United States Air Force have established an Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) Center at David Grant Medical Center (DGMC) at Travis Air Force Base (AFB), California. The center is part of the Heart, Lung and Vascular Clinic at DGMC and is the first at a military treatment facility.

The technology has been around for over 50 years but underutilized due to poor insurance reimbursement. This will be the first machine to our knowledge with a direct teaching component and affiliation with a school of pharmacy and air force base. The machine has been supported from a research grant by the Clinical Investigations Facility (CIF) assessing the impact of EECP on cardiovascular performance. Col Joseph Weaver, the pharmacy flight commander, is excited for this venture and its long term opportunities.

“It will be offered to patients at DGMC as a service and Pacific students will be able to participate in the management of patients with angina or heart failure under the supervision of a Pacific faculty member,” he said.

Anil Mallya ‘13 offers to be an EECP subject

It took two years of persistent efforts to make it happen. In 2010 Dr. Shah, Rina Mehta ’10, et al, published a paper in the _ Pharmacotherapy Journal_ regarding the benefits of EECP. It was also presented as a poster at the International Society of Atherosclerosis meeting. In 2011 Dr. Shah, Janice Li ’12, Raymond Gan ’12, Jeremy Lim ’12, et al, presented a poster titled “Pharmacotherapy versus pneumatic compression: a comparison between ranolazine and enhanced external counterpulsation in the treatment of chronic stable angina” at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Meeting. Amy Kurian ’13 received her certification as an EECP therapist.

Pacific student pharmacists will now have an enhanced experience in the treatment of such patients while completing their clinical training at Travis AFB.


Pacific ASCP Poster Presentations Make an Impression

Thirteen student pharmacists along with faculty members attended the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland on November 6 – 9, 2012. Together they presented a total of five poster presentations which accounted for 12 percent of the meeting’s posters. The posters covered topics such as asthma control, Medicare Part D, osteoporosis, and more.

“Albert Barber, Past-President of ASCP, commented that Pacific students were to be congratulated for their dedication to patient service, research, and quantity and quality of presentations,” said Dr. Joseph Woelfel ’70, ’72, ’77. Dr. Woelfel was a co-author on all five posters.

He believes that research is critical for the students’ academic and professional development. “Research provides the opportunity to share findings and outcomes by publication in professional journals and presentations at national, regional, and state meetings. These are invaluable experiences for students which support professional growth and enhance residency, fellowship, and further graduate education opportunities,” says Dr. Woelfel.


Spotlight: Virtu Arora

Virtu Arora, a practicing physical therapist for the past 15 years, earned her doctorate of physical therapy from A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Health Sciences. She recently made a generous equipment donation to Pacific’s Department of Physical Therapy (PT). Dr. Tamara Phelan ’08, Associate Professor, shared, “The equipment donated by Dr. Arora was so timely. One of the most difficult things in a program such as ours is to keep up with technology. Many of the items donated update significantly the technology that our students will use during their training. This is a real advantage, as our students will graduate with experience on some of the latest clinical equipment, improving their learning experience and making them more clinically prepared.”

Dr. Arora in her new clinic treatment rooms at Central Valley Physical Therapy in Stockton.

Dr. Arora made this generous donation shortly after she moved from her private practice on Stockton’s Miracle Mile to Central Valley Physical Therapy (PT)/Movement for Life as Director of the Lymphedema Program. She is enjoying her new work setting explaining that Central Valley PT received the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) 2012 Jane L. Snyder Private Practice of the Year Award. Central Valley PT also employs four recent Pacific grads: Kyle Tattershall ’11, Jenny Cano ’11, Sara Belluomini ’11, and Pacific PT Alumni Association Board Member, Michelle Stephenson ’11. Virtu says, “Pacific graduates look like seasoned therapists already!”

Dr. Arora is a founding member of the Pacific Physical Therapy Leadership Council. “I hope to bring fresh ideas and connections to the community, and will continue to help promote Pacific. My goal is to contribute to the wonderful profession of physical therapy and to the future generations of physical therapists.”

Last August, Dr. Arora taught “Understanding Lymphedema – Role of a Physical Therapist” in the School’s Physical Therapy Fall Continuing Education Series. Arora is a Lymphology Association of North America (LANA) certified physical therapist through the Academy of Lymphatic Studies and has completed advanced courses in Lymphedema management at Stanford University. “Lymphedema is a disease which is often ignored or mistreated due to lack of awareness and education,” explained Dr. Arora.

Dr. Arora is married to a Stockton physician and has two elementary age children. She recently was a key parent volunteer in the elementary school play; she also guides student groups for Science Olympiad and Math Olympiad, and is a board member of the San Joaquin Indian Association. Virtu exclaims, “University of the Pacific is close to my heart because I am invested in this community. Pacific is something positive in our community!”



Alumni Spotlight: Denise Santos Ford ’07

Denise Santos Ford ’07, owner of SPEECH, Marin, a private pediatric speech and language clinic in Corte Madera, California, started her speech-language pathology career earlier than most at age 15 working in a clinic for deaf adolescents. Denise left her hometown of Los Altos, California to attend Texas Christian University where she received her bachelor of science in habilitation of the deaf. As a special day teacher of the deaf, Denise was inspired to pursue her master of science in speech-language pathology and follow her dad’s (Dr. Jeffrey Santos, DDS ’78) footstep to attend University of the Pacific.

Denise Santos Ford ’07 and Jeannie Wong, MA CF, at her clinic

“The professors at Pacific act as mentors, more than just teachers. This guidance extends beyond graduation. Their investment in Pacific students’ success is incredible. I still contact some of the faculty from time to time and never hesitate in doing so.”

Today you can find Denise at SPEECH, Marin where she provides individualized therapy based on each child’s personality, assessments, consultations, group therapy, summer camps, and informational parent meetings. Denise and her colleague, Jeannie Wong M.A. CF, work with children in creatively themed treatment rooms with pint-sized furniture and charming wall murals. Denise has a strong background in working with autism spectrum disorders, hearing impairments, apraxia, phonological disorders, articulation, reading, auditory processing, and swallowing. She is skilled in management and execution of social pragmatic language groups as well. Denise was inspired to open her own clinic after working with Kathryn Pengilly and Tiphanie Kaufmann at SPEECH, Inc. in San Francisco. SPEECH, Marin is a subsidiary of SPEECH, Inc. which also has an office in Oakland. Denise still sees clients two days a week at the SPEECH, Inc. offices in San Francisco, but loves her commute (walking a mere block) to her very own practice in Corte Madera.


Student Spotlight: Morgan Fry ‘12

Many times students are offered internship opportunities that not only increase knowledge in their field of study but also provide unique cultural experiences. When Pacific offered Morgan Fry ’12 a chance to travel to Malawi for a physical therapy clinical internship, his first thoughts were “that sounds awesome, but I have no idea where that is located.” Malawi is a country in Southern Africa, east of Zambia, northwest of Mozambique. Initially Fry spent two months in the city of Blantyre working at a small private practice, Cure International Hospital, before going to a large government hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. He recently shared the highlights of his internship in Malawi at a presentation for students, faculty, alumni, and staff. Fry showed vivid images of an unfamiliar culture with people living in small huts near a fishing village, walking the roads with club foot and fields ablaze in the background. “There were fires everywhere when I would walk to the hospital. I would see about three of them during my 25 minute walk. Several people walked around with club foot because of poor access to health care,” said Fry.

While Fry adjusted to his new surroundings, he did find familiarity within Cure International Hospital. He explained, “The hospital had the same technology and equipment you would see here. It is very similar to the equipment I worked with on campus. Unfortunately, there are not enough surgeons for every single person to get the highest quality surgery.” One photo, taken in front of the hospital, had a banner just below the hospital sign that read ‘Adults pay a fee so that children can walk for free.’ This is a motto that Fry said, “redistributed income from adult surgeries to perform surgery on the children for free. This is one of the few hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa that performs joint replacement surgeries.”

Fry had many notable interactions with physicians and patients at the hospital. He said, “Physicians at Cure would encourage me to come see any surgery I was interested in and this was an incredible opportunity to see them work. When I was in surgery, they encouraged me to ask as many questions as I wanted, but in turn they would ask me just as many questions. The people in Malawi are incredible. They are very social, approachable and always interested in talking to you.” His most memorable moments happened in an inpatient pediatric setting working with children. Adults in Malawi do speak English but many of their children cannot, making communication difficult without a translator. “I was lost without an interpreter to help me communicate with the children. If I didn’t have one it just turned into a really interesting game of charades. I had to be very cautious because these children never tell you if they are in pain. They are tough and never complain,” commented Fry.

International work is always eye-opening for students. Especially when they see photos from Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where Fry took pictures of hospital beds being propped up with bricks. He told students, “No one was going to tell you if you were giving substandard care to a patient. Often times anything goes and I really had to keep myself in check because it makes you aware of whether you are giving the best quality care to the patient. We would have power outages but the staff didn’t stop treating patients. You change the way you think when describing methods to patients. For example, I told a patient that they should sit in a chair, but they didn’t have one in their home. I had to develop a different method on how I could better help my patients because of their circumstances.”

Fry continued to tell the students about patient interactions and how they help build trustful relationships and as a result influence him to become a better practitioner. “I want to be a better doctor to my patients. When I worked with patients everyone would come over and encourage each other. It became a much more collaborative effort and it broke down the barrier between physician and patient. The experience is much cooler than what you would get in the U.S. There was a personal feel to it and it didn’t seem like I was just a physician, with a set of exercises and then move on to the next person. I felt more invested with these people, their goals, and it was more of an interpersonal interaction,” said Fry.

Students asked Fry several questions during his presentation inquiring if he would go back to Malawi in the future. “Absolutely, although I don’t know when. I hope to go back at some point. Working in any international setting is such an asset to your career; several interviews I had with employers here in the U.S. ask if I have experience working overseas.” He encouraged students to take these opportunities because they provide rewarding experiences with patients and help change their perception on how to conduct oneself as a physical therapist.


Alumni Spotlight: Tony Mikla ’04

Dr. Mikla and Stephanie Brown-Trafton (2008 Gold Medalist in Women’s Discus) at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

There are several journeys a traveler takes before arriving at a destination. For Tony Mikla ’04, working in physical therapy was just a natural step in his journey. Mikla completed his undergraduate degree at University of Arizona in 2002, where he participated in men’s basketball and received three Pacific-10 Conference championship rings. Mikla’s passion for exercise sent him to University of Pacific’s physical therapy program. When Mikla completed his master of science in physical therapy at Pacific, he quickly found work at Golden Bear Physical Therapy in Modesto, CA. Mikla then moved to Sacramento, CA to work at Results Physical Therapy and Training Center. Sacramento was a critical turning point in Mikla’s journey, where he met Stephanie Brown-Trafton, an American track and field athlete.

His work with Brown-Trafton helped her win a gold medal in discus throwing at the Summer Olympics 2008 in Beijing, China. “Stephanie originally came to Results Physical Therapy in 2006 with an ankle stress fracture. During her rehab we began working on balance and building a better strength base. Stephanie was interested in doing more, as she could see we were working on her weaknesses. We continued to work on agility and built in strength training,” said Mikla. He admitted that he knew nothing about discus throwing when he started working with her. Mikla continued to work as a performance coach for Brown-Trafton and several other Olympic athletes including Lance Brooks, Jason Young and Will Claye. His main focus for Brown-Trafton was to “keep her injury-free and in peak performance. I focused on muscle activation, strength and balance workouts, stretching, massage, planning training and recovery.”

The opportunity to be involved in the Summer Olympics 2012 in London, England was a defining moment for Mikla. “Since I was selected by an individual athlete, it makes me proud to be a part of her success. It was an honor and a privilege to be there and this is certainly my greatest athletic accomplishment of my physical therapy career.” He also said, “The amount of work each athlete completed just to make it to the Olympics was amazing. The pride of each athlete and coach to represent their country was obvious and it moves you emotionally to see people representing their country and culture with such pride.” There were many memorable moments Mikla recalled during his time in London. “My most memorable moment was sitting in the front row of Olympic Stadium watching my athlete compete, but also staying at the US Olympic Comittee headquarters in London. This location was set up as an Olympic Training Center for the Olympic athletes, coaches and teams. I was able to talk with NBA player Andre Igoudala, who was a former basketball teammate when I played at University of Arizona,” said Mikla.

Mikla is a current member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), USA Track and Field (USATF) and is a Certified USATF Coach. He continues to work at Results Physical Therapy and Training Center as the Clinical Director and Director of Sports Performance, while focusing on his new business. “I love what I do, and most of my time is spent treating patients. I built a business called TheraFLIX, which is web-based therapy exercise system designed to enhance a patient’s ability to perform an exercise properly. The site contains over 1,000 exercises organized in an easily searchable and usable manner for the clinician. TheraFLIX also contains scientifically proven protocols for the clinician to have a tool that is actually usable in the clinic.” Mikla’s next destination will take him to Rio de Janerio, where he will help prepare Brown-Trafton for the 2016 Olympics.


Student Pharmacists Leaving Tracks Everywhere They Go

Student pharmacists never fail to bring distinguished recognition to the School at professional meetings. Whether it means showing up in their orange army polos, often making the most poster presentations, or receiving multiple recognitions for their outreach initiatives, they know how to get things done. Pacific student pharmacists celebrated several successes at the 2012 American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Midyear Regional Meeting (MRM).

Operation Diabetes and Operation Self Care (formerly known as Heartburn Awareness) each took home a Patient Care Initiative award. Together the two committees provided services to over 2,000 patients and reached approximately 8,000 patients through public relations initiatives.

Pacific was also the first and only winning chapter of the Region 8 – American Pharmacists Month (APhM) Regional Challenge Award. Every October, under the leadership of Pacific’s Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP), student pharmacists launch marketing advertisements and outreach programs to help promote APhM. Within the School, students distributed t-shirts and water bottles with the APhM logo and gathered nearly 400 students to participate in the annual Tiger Army photo.

Student pharmacists on the set of Good Day Sacramento.

In the community, student pharmacists designed a billboard on Interstate 80 East Business Route heading towards Downtown Sacramento to help promote APhM. In addition, they coordinated with NCM Media to create a television advertisement which ran in the previews at all major movie theaters in the San Joaquin County area. They also made their annual appearance on Good Day Sacramento and hosted the annual “Immunize the Mayor” event. As a final statement, student pharmacists coordinated a trip to the Kings basketball game (against the Warriors) wearing their orange polos and were recognized during the half-time show.

It is estimated that students reached nearly 10 million people during the month of October promoting APhM.

Aside from awards, two Pacific student pharmacists were selected to serve on the 2012-2013 Region 8 board. Chinye Nalls-Ahaiwe ’14 will serve as Member-At-Large and Urvish Italia ’14 will serve as MRM Coordinator for the APhA-ASP Region 8.

“I want to help unite our region so that we can work together to advance the profession of pharmacy,” said Italia.

Daniel Salas ’13 was also recognized for his many accomplishments. Salas was instrumental in organizing the inaugural “Haircuts for Health” outreach event last year; an event inspired by the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program from Los Angeles. His event made such an impact, he is now working with the original creators to host an extension of the program in Stockton.


Emeriti Facutly Spotlight: Virginia Puich

She walks into a room and it lights up. Her name is mentioned and it brings a smile to everyone’s face. Her name is Professor Virginia Puich.

Before coming to Pacific in 1969, Professor Puich received her bachelor of science in speech corrections from San Diego State University. Like many of us, she too had her share of exploring majors. She spoke about her joy of studying drama and the productions she was involved with as an undergraduate. Discouraged by her fear of not being able to make a career of it she changed her major to English. She felt it would support her passion for teaching. It was soon after that she learned the department was offering a major in speech corrections and was recruiting prospective students. That’s when her career took off.

After graduation, Professor Puich taught in a public school for three years. One summer her and three friends decided to quit their jobs to travel to Europe. “There were four of us and we were a curiosity everywhere we went. It was just after the end of World War II and people didn’t travel anymore. We had a wonderful time; it was great,” she said.

Professor Puich then attended University of Oregon where she earned her master of science in speech-language pathology. She recalled working in Yosemite during the summers to help finance her school and trips. After receiving her master’s she joined the University of Colorado as a faculty member in the English department. Two years into her teaching, her longing for California brought her back to Fresno State University briefly only to return to Colorado where she continued her teaching for a total of six years.

When she did return to California, she joined Stanford University as a full-time faculty member and doctoral student. After six rigorous years, she finished her coursework and started studying for the qualifying exams. Meanwhile, she learned that the program was being eliminated. The news was “a tragedy because I worked so hard for my degree only to find out that I couldn’t finish it. I never took my exams.”

However, her time at Stanford did provide her an opportunity that would help create her legacy at Pacific. After a year at San Jose State University, she was recruited by Dr. Ken Perrin, former student at Stanford, who was the chair of the communications disorder program at Pacific, to fill a tenure track faculty position.

She was well-liked and an inspiration to many of her students. “She taught me to have high expectations yet be thoughtful and kind,” said Professor Simalee Smith-Stubblefield ‘82. “One student commented to me that taking a course from Ms. Puich was like sitting across a table, having a cup of coffee and discussing the topic at hand,” she added.

Professor Puich with (left to right) Harriet Doyle ’73, Simalee Smith-Stubblefield ’82, Robert Hanyak ’79, and Janet Nimtz ’85

Her legacy wasn’t just about the relationship she created with her colleagues and students. She is also remembered for the impact she made in the program. With Drs. Perrin and Roy Timmons, she developed the foundation of both the undergraduate and graduate programs that exist today. “The program has a clinical focus, providing students with the best possible clinical instruction, which prepares them well for graduate school and eventually their professional careers. Miss Puich left a big impact on the program as she was a member of the faculty when the master’s degree program first became accredited in 1973,” said Dr. Robert Hanyak ‘79, former student and current department chair.

Professor Puich retired in 1997 after 28 years with the University.

“I enjoyed every bit of my time at Pacific. I loved getting to know the students and being the department chair (for six years). It was such a happy place to be and the whole experience was gratifying,” said Professor Puich.

Her retirement took her to San Diego where she lived and cared for her mom who passed away last July at the age of 106. She is still in San Diego and enjoying the “beautiful city and cultures.” Last October, Professor Puich joined alumni and friends at the Pacific Speech-Language Pathology Alumni and Friends San Diego Reception and “had a great time.”

“For many years Ms. Puich was the heart and soul of the department. Every time I attend the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association annual conference former students ask me about Ms. Puich. I think this a testament to her impact,” said Professor Smith-Stubblefield.

The Virginia Puich Endowed Scholarship was created by students to create a lasting legacy in her honor. The scholarship was first awarded in 1999 and recognizes one graduating senior for their academic and clinical excellence.

Student Speech-Language Pathologists Donate Over 1,100 Books

Earlier this year President Eibeck announced that Pacific will be starting a new tradition by hosting the Holiday ROAR as part of her Beyond Our Gates early literacy campaign.  Holiday ROAR is a month-long, campus-wide book drive to benefit underprivileged children in San Joaquin County.  Donations will benefit Reach Out and Read (ROAR) San Joaquin, a local non-profit that works with pediatricians to hand out books to needy children during check-ups.

In light of the holiday spirit and goodness of their hearts, student speech-language pathologists worked together to collect and purchase books.  With encouragement from Professor Simalee Smith-Stubblefield ‘83, Vera Wolfenbarger ‘13 and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) they donated over 1,100 books to President Eibeck’s Holiday ROAR.

“Originally NSSLHA set a goal of 150 books then we increased it to 500.  I’m so excited that we met and beat our goal.  The more books we could collect for the book drive the more children will benefit,” said Wolfenbarger.

NSSLHA’s book drive was successful because of Wolfenbarger’s strategic approach. In addition to reaching out to classmates and faculty members through email, she made purchases through her son’s pre-school Scholastic new book club. She created a list of books at the price of one dollar from his book orders and asked her classmates for donations.  She said it gave students who were too busy to go shopping an opportunity to participate in the book drive.

A speech-language pathologist plays a key role in literacy which makes early literacy a very important subject.  If a child reads at an early age, it help decrease literacy problems. Participating in the book drive allowed Wolfenbarger to learn more about ROAR San Joaquin and that her hard work can make a difference to one of the four million children served annually by the organization.

“For many children, this is the first book they will receive.  The thought of being able to give so many children their very first book was the fuel to my fire,” said Wolfenbarger. ·

For more information on ROAR visit the National Center website at


Student Physical Therapists Honor Donors with Memorial Service

Physical Therapy (PT) students Edward Gutierrez ’14, Elisa Carey ‘14, Catherine Vo ‘13, and Jacob Stroman ‘13 joined Dr. Jim Mansoor, Anatomy Professor, the UC Davis Body Donation Memorial Service on September 22, 2012.  The UC Davis School of Medicine students organized a special ceremony to recognize the individuals who donated their bodies to support medical research and education.  Pacific’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program uses six of these donated bodies each year for Dr. Mansoor’s Anatomy class.  Vo, a second year PT student, was a featured and favorite speaker at the memorial.  Vo eloquently spoke about her appreciation for the donated cadaver,

 “When we removed the coverings on the bodies, I didn’t feel any intense emotions like I had thought I would. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t nervous, and I didn’t feel uncomfortable. We behaved respectfully, felt grateful for our cadavers each day, and worked very hard; that was the extent of how we felt.  But their faces and hands were covered with cloth.  The parts of my group’s body donor that made her most human were concealed. Honestly, we were afraid to see what was underneath. We kept them covered throughout the semester until it was time in our curriculum to look at them.

 When we uncovered her hands, it was the first time I learned something about her that had nothing to do with muscles, arteries, or nerves. I learned that she liked a certain color of nail polish. Or I learned that she liked to have pretty hands. Maybe I learned that she had a dear friend or family member come visit her in the hospital and painting her nails was the way they spent time together.  I’m not sure exactly what I learned when I saw the bright nail polish, but I do know this: I learned to see her differently.  I saw her not just as a human body, but as a human being.

This changed my experience for the rest of the semester. I was more careful with her. I grew to like her. Sometimes I was proud of her – for having ligaments that were easy to identify or for having the most beautifully functional lungs I’d ever seen in my life.

Later we finally uncovered her face. She had these beautiful, colorful eyes. Then I remembered that one of the first things a professor told us in school was that when we meet a patient for the first time and shake hands, we look hard enough to know the eye color.  That was when it hit me. She was more than a body donor for our anatomy lab; she was our first patient upon entering physical therapy school.

It was our responsibility to use the tools and resources we had and explore the structures we had to learn.  It was our responsibility to take care of her and keep her clean. It was our privilege to have her with us for the past year.

I can hardly express just how valuable my class’ anatomy and kinesiology experiences were in that lab. This was nothing like studying books or pictures – we were learning about people from people.

I can say with great confidence that because of the people we are honoring today, an innumerable amount of students are going to demonstrate the kind of knowledge and reasoning that will make them exceptional clinicians.”

After the beautiful memorial service, Vo and her classmates visited the Freeborn Hall foyer where they visited tables with memorial displays for the departed loved ones.  They saw framed photos, and collage photo posters.   One framed picture of a young woman had her elementary school teacher’s badge draped around the frame.

Pacific PT students perform full cadaver dissection throughout the Gross Anatomy course.  All students use the cadavers as part of their presentations in other courses (Kinesiology I and II, Pathophysiology).  Research projects are also conducted by students (under faculty guidance) using the cadavers, generating two or three poster presentations at state or national PT conferences.

Pacific PT alumni Rich Rose ’09 stated, “Every student in our program would tell you that at no other time, and no other place, could we have received the completeness of learning the human body in the way that our anatomy dissection coursework has allowed us.  Having anatomy dissection in our curriculum not only makes us realize the unique privilege we have had, but also prepares us to treat our future patients.”