Research Study Gives DPT Students Valuable Hands-On Experience

Preeti-Oza_headshotPreeti Oza, PT, PhD, NCS, believes that there is nothing that can compare to hands-on experience in preparing DPT students to be practice-ready upon graduating. Research studies are valuable not only for advancing the field of physical therapy, but also for giving students the opportunity to work side-by-side with experienced professionals. Oza says, “one of my career goals is to train students for clinical research.” According to Oza, one research study that is currently underway is the “effects of group exercises in quality of life and movements in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.” Working alongside Oza are three research assistants: Alysia Guerin ’16, Kayla Ledford ’16 and Darcy Schmalenbach ’16.

For Schmalenbach “So far, this project has given me experience using standardized tests and measures in order to collect baseline data from patients with Parkinson’s disease. […] This has given me the opportunity to see many different presentations of Parkinson’s disease.” In the fall Oza invited individuals from from the Parkinson’s support group of Stockton and of Lodi to a wellness clinic that was held on October 28, 2015. All 37 students in the Neuromuscular Physical Therapy course taught by Oza participated in the wellness clinic by administering assessments of balance and walking. The students then taught simple exercises that the individuals would be able to do on their own. They also introduced the use of technology, such as the Wii Fit, to help improve mobility and balance. Guerin describes her experience, “I was assigned to a patient and we worked with her through various functional tests and measures.” Guerin then “asked her a lot of questions about her good and bad days and how she keeps herself motivated.”

Each of the three research assistants have a specific reason for wanting to get involved in this particular research study. Guerin answers, “I have a big interest in neurological rehabilitation as well as a desire to partake in ways to help advance the field I [will] very soon [be] going into. I knew I wanted to take advantage of this great opportunity to learn from a very knowledgeable professor and work side-by-side on this project with her and fellow classmates.” For both Schmalenbach and Ledford working with people with Parkinson’s hits close to home. For Schmalenbach it is because of her grandfather who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when she was very young. She shares, “I was able to experience the effect that physical therapy had on him and the positive impact that it had on his overall quality of life. When I heard about this project, I knew I wanted to be apart of something that could help those who suffer with Parkinson’s disease.” There was also an intersection of personal and professional for Ledford: “As my grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease a year ago I became more interested in the disease process and its effect on functional mobility.”

All three agree that the courses at Pacific have prepared them for the transition from the classroom into a clinical environment. Guerin proposes that “All of the courses we have taken have prepared us for the clinical setting. Not only have we learned an immense amount about the various aspects of physical therapy and how to best treat our future patients, we also relate that knowledge to the clinical setting and make it a practical learning environment. Each class is structured to help us gain more confidence each day in the knowledge we gain and who we can best apply it to help our future patients.” Ledford identifies a few of the specific skills gained: “Through this therapist-patient interaction I am able to practice rapport with [individuals],” as well as assessments and treatment strategies. Ledford continues, “Being apart of the process of evidence-based practice is rewarding and has given me more confidence as I come closer to completing the program.”

Schmalenbach shares, “I feel very lucky to attend [Pacific’s] DPT program and I think it is wonderful that they offer opportunities like this research project.” Ledford explains, “I am blessed to be in a program that has so much built-in support.” Guerin echoes the sentiment, “It truly feels like a family.” Further, Guerin finds motivation in the knowledge that “we are all in this together. The professors have been nothing but amazing with their guidance, knowledge and support. We are very lucky as students to be learning from some very successful and knowledgeable professors within the physical therapy field. I am looking forward to graduation and embarking into my career as a confident physical therapist and being a part of a truly amazing and rewarding profession.”


The 30th DPT Class Dons Their White Coats

On August 28, 2015, 36 students were cloaked by their second-year mentors and read the Physical Therapy Oath of Professionalism at the White Coat Ceremony. The Class of 2017 was chosen from a pool of 621 applicants. This year’s class will be the 30th graduating class of the doctor of physical therapy program.

Lonny Davis served as the keynote speaker for the event. Davis is the Founder and CEO of Hope Haven West, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping provide mobility to the disabled in developing countrdeans_letter_fall15_pt_wcc_wearing_coat_webies. Hope Haven volunteers collect used or discarded wheelchairs, which they then refurbish. The wheelchairs are then distributed to those who otherwise could not afford one. Their efforts are focused on Mexico, Central America and South America.

Davis delivered an inspirational speech to the PT students, faculty and guests. Davis shared short stories about his work helping the disabled throughout the world by providing and customizing mobility devices. Physical Therapy (PT) second year student, Teresa Li ’16 reported, “Lonnie encouraged us to keep the end goal in mind. What we are working and studying for is for the sake of our patients. The end goal is to benefit patients and the communities we serve.”

Casey Nesbit PT, DPT, DSc, PCS reinforced Davis’ challenge for the future DPTs to look beyond themselves to the community, both locally and abroad: “An important aspect of our professionalism is to use the knowledge and skills of physical therapy to make a difference in the lives of those in our global, as well as local communities.”

There are urgent needs right here in our own backyard. Over the past five years the School has partnered with Kaiser Permanente and the San Joaquin County Office of Education to deliver the Healthy Children program. This program seeks to address the pressing issue of childhood obesity. Nesbit stresses that this issue is “particularly troubling, because it can disrupt development and can perpetuate unhealthful behaviors that last a lifetime. [..] Through targeting at-risk children in our area, we hope to mitigate the effects of childhood obesity in the short-term and in generations to come. During the past five years, our Healthy Children program has provided services for almost 10,000 at-risk young people in our area. We also have served approximately 1,600 members of the community at the Pacific Family Health Fair.”

Special Remarks were presented by Danielle Sartori ‘06, DPT, recipient of the 2015 Physical Therapy Alumna of the Year Award. As President of the Pacific Physical Therapy Alumni Association she speaks from experience when she says “The relationships that you form here will continue to be a part of your lives as you embark on your professional journey. You will always be connected in Tiger spirit and supported by your fellow practitioners.”

Sartori understands the world of athletics from many angles. As an athlete she played a wide variety of sports including soccer, swimming and water polo. She has also approached athletics from the perspective of a coach and currently is a Goalie Coach for USA Water Polo. She is both a Physical Therapist and Sports Performance Director at TKJ Sports Performance and Physical Therapy in the Bay Area. She affirms that the field of physical therapy is “extremely gratifying.” She has found that “There are many paths one can take, and each one has the goal of promoting a patient’s optimal physical function”

Sartori believes that there are three key components to physical therapy: evaluate, educate and exercise. She explains, “These components contribute to a successful relationship between patient and physical therapist because they create an environment of knowledge and trust.” She encouraged the upcoming doctors in physical therapy to be “enthusiastic, inquisitive and observant.”


Pacific’s Phi Delta Chi Wins Highest Honor

At the 70th Grand Council August 4-9, 2015, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Alpha Psi Chapter of Phi Delta Chi received the Emory W. Thurston Grand President’s Award. Logan Brodnansky ’17, President of Phi Delta Chi, Alpha Psi Chapter, explains that being the recipient of the Thurston Cup is “the highest honor our fraternity can receive.” The award was established in 1974 through a generous donation by Emory W. Thurston. It is given to the chapter that “promoted the profession of pharmacy and Phi Delta Chi fully during the preceding year,” according to the Phi Delta Chi 2015 Pledge Manual. “To qualify, a Chapter must receive a 90% or higher rating in the Achievement Award Program.” The scores are determined by six weighted categories: Professional & Service Projects Report (one per semester), Chapter Publication, Prescott Scholarship Report, Brotherhood Report and Professional Window Display.deans_letter_fall15_phi_delta_chi_trophy_web

According to Marcus C Ravnan ’94, PharmD, FCSHP, FASHP, who serves as the chapter’s Faculty Advisor, “In addition, the Chapter ranked in the top ten for the Ralph L. Saroyan Brotherhood Award which recognized chapter programs that promote brotherhood within the chapter. The last time Alpha Psi received this coveted honor was in 1980 in Washington DC with Ivan Cy Rowland in attendance. The Pacific chapter has ranked in the top ten for the past 15 or more years and has been in fourth place the past two years.” Over the years there has been increased competition for these coveted awards. Ravnan confirms, “What’s even more significant is that in 1980, there were only 50 chapters of Phi Delta Chi and now there are 85 active chapters competing for this award.” To be recognized for this award is especially meaningful as the award is named in honor of Ralph L. Saroyan ’64, RPh, a key figure in the School’s history, who is currently an emeritus professor and esteemed mentor.

Established in 1883 the coed pharmacy fraternity is the country’s first professional pharmacy fraternity. According to the Phi Delta Chi’s website,, Phi Delta Chi is one of the largest pharmacy fraternities in the country with over 60,000 initiated Brothers and “nearly one in every twelve pharmacists is a Phi Delta Chi Brother.” Pacific’s Alpha Psi stood out among the other 85 collegiate chapters at this year’s Grand Council, the fraternity’s biannual leadership conference. In addition to the recognition of the highest award, they placed for the following individual awards: First place in Professional Service Projects for their professional and community service, second place for Prescott Scholarship Award for academic achievement, third place for Chapter Publication Award and fourth place for the Leadership Award. Receiving these awards is a testament to the ability of Pacific’s pharmacy students to strike a balance between the aspects of professional and social life in the midst of rigorous academic study.


Inaugural Doctor of Audiology White Coat Ceremony

80% Science and 20% Art

Over 120 faculty, staff, family and friends came to witness the momentous occasion of the 23 doctor of audiology students receiving their white coats. The ceremony on September 28, 2015, ushered the inaugural class into the next step of their educational journey. Audiology Program Director Rupa Balachandran, PhD, explained the significance by saying, “White coats are symbolic of the professionalism that is expected of students in all clinical professions. This ceremony reaffirms the community’s support of the educational process that prepares future health care professionals for practice. The White Coat placed on each of our future audiologists today is more than a just a lab coat – it is a cloak of competence, caring and community.”

Pacific’s doctor of audiology program, located at San Francisco Campus, is a new program in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. It is one of four accelerated programs in the country and the only one in California. Its clinics, Pacific Hearing and Balance Centers in San Francisco and Stockton, along with anticipated collaborations with many Northern California medical and audiology centers, provide students with clinical experience and residencies.

deans_letter_fall15__Audiology-WCC_walking_webKim Lody, President of ReSound, served as the event’s keynote speaker. She emphasized the level of commitment required to succeed in this emerging field. Lody explained, “It will require that you stretch yourselves and reach for new levels of understanding in physiology, technology, and the psychology of helping others. You’ll learn new skills, techniques and new ways of interacting with people. And you’ll do that through a fresh, progressive program designed not only with the current health care environment in mind, but more importantly, with a focus on the future of audiology.”

She drew a comparison between audiology and art. She believes, “Audiology is 80% science and 20% art.” Further, “It requires that you read people so you can identify their true needs […]. Being an audiologist, just like being an artist, requires genuine curiosity about the world around you and the devotion to capture moments.”

In his address Dean Oppenheimer also correlated art and audiology with an anecdote about the sculptor Michelangelo. “The profession of Audiology is founded on precision and detail. You must understand that attention to detail will make a difference. In patient care, we can expect nothing less than greatness.”

In his welcome Dean Oppenheimer told the students “You are joining a wonderful family today, the Pacific Audiology family. The lofty status of the School is due to the academic quality of our students, their subsequent success as alumni, and the commitment to excellence of our faculty.” Dean Oppenheimer stressed the importance of shifting focus away from one’s grades and toward one’s patients. He said, “You are studying so that daily you will make positive interventions in your patient’s care.”

deans_letter_fall15_audiology_wcc_group_webThe event held special significance as these 23 individuals are trailblazers, both for the University of the Pacific and for the state of California. Touching on the world of opportunity that is open to these future professionals Lody gave some examples of the abundant opportunities that audiology offers. “Whether it’s an app to help manage tinnitus, a feature to geotag settings to a favorite coffee shop environment, or a multitude of biometric data and personalized interaction, there’s so much more to be discovered, developed and deployed to help people with hearing loss.”

Lody left the students with a challenge to take the time to reflect on the significance of this event and to ask themselves, “How will you utilize the trust that is placed in you by the patients seeking your help and expertise? Will you dedicate yourself to the art of helping others capture those moments that, for them, have been to that point in time, unnoticed, unrecognized and unheard?”

See more photos from the event at

For more information about Pacific’s doctor of audiology program visit To schedule a visit to the San Fransisco campus please


Welcome to the Family – The 2015 Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony

deans_letter_pharmacy_wcc_2015_webThe Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony on September 12, 2015, held special significance for PharmD student Anthony Garcia ’18. For him, personally donning the white coat brought with it a strong feeling of being “a part of a family.” He expressed that to become part of Pacific’s pharmacy family is “why I’ve worked so hard.” Garcia explains that the ceremony marks “your transition from a student to a professional.” From his perspective, there is also a transition from an atmosphere of competition to one of collaboration. As an undergraduate the focus is on grade and selling your academic achievement. In contrast, as a professional there is a common goal to help people.

When Garcia took Organic Chemistry as an undergraduate, a course notorious of its level of difficulty, he approached the course from the perspective that he was going to conquer the course’s negative stigma. That course had a dramatic impact on the direction of his academic career. He became a Pharmacy Technician and later went to UC Davis where he studied Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

While at UC Davis he was introduced to the Pacific community as Pacific was a partner for several Medicare events. He chose Pacific’s PharmD program because he got the distinct impression that it was a “tightly knit” community unlike any he had seen at other schools. That impression has “held true” and he says that he has “formed really close relationships with other students.” Another factor that led him here was the recommendation of alumni. During his time as a Pharmacy Technician he worked with several pharmacists that had gone through the program at Pacific who expressed that “they valued their education here.”

He strongly believes that “if you have resources you should share them,” as your strengths can help support others’ weaknesses and vice versa. By coming to the doctoral program with a background in pharmacy he is able to approach his studies with a foundational understanding of pharmaceuticals, chemistry and biology. This allows him to help others in the PharmD program in unique ways. For example, when it comes time to memorize drugs he has the advantage of experience and is able to help his classmates study for that portion of the exam.

In addition to having a background in science, Garcia is able to use his personal experiences to shape his approach to patient interactions. Garcia grew up in very underserved areas. This unique perspective gives him the opportunity to teach his fellow students about the psychological aspects that affect those individuals who are from underserved areas. Garcia strongly believes that a pharmacist cannot provide the patient with the proper treatment if one has preformed judgements. He warns against being influenced by negative stigmas and having a mindset of expecting the worst from certain individuals. He emphasizes, “You will never find the underlying issue if you don’t have the sympathy.”

Addressing current and future students, Garcia’s advice is to find a good support base, people you can rely on. He says “don’t be afraid to look for resources, scholarships or support groups.” He thinks that a lot of people are afraid to ask for help. As a student not asking for help can make the process of earning your degree incredibly difficult; as a professional it could be very dangerous. He believes that “the only way to get through this profession and have a good time doing it is to find a support group.”

The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Douglas Hillblom ’77 PharmD, Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year, who currently is the Vice President of Professional Practice and Pharmacy Policy for Optum Rx. His many achievements include 2014 California Pharmacists Association Pharmacist of the Year. A very active alumnus, many know him as a supportive mentor and trusted advisor. Echoing Garcia’s sentiment regarding patient care, Hillblom said in his address that “Being a Pharmacist is not a just a job it is a caring profession where each and every day you can impact someone’s life.” Further, “the future is wide open for each of you, and your practice will be dependent on the goals you set for yourself and the risks you are willing to take.”

Hillblom urged the students to be leaders in their field. “Innovation and leadership are qualities that Pacific pharmacists have continually demonstrated as the profession and our responsibilities as members of the patient care team continue to evolve.” The Class of 2018 has already proven themselves to meet the School’s standard for academic achievement and commitment to the service to others. The 208 students were chosen from a competitive pool of almost 1,400 applicants.

Echoing the feeling of family expressed by Garcia, Hillblom shared, “As members of the Pacific family and specifically the Pharmacy School Alumni Association, never forget we are here for you as supporters and mentors.” Hillblom closed with “Welcome to the family, your future starts today.”

To learn how to contribute to the ongoing legacy of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences please go to or contact Nancy DeGuire at 209.946.2752. To learn more about the PharmD program go to or contact Ron Espejo at 209.946.3957. For alumni interested in learning how to become a mentor contact Sarah Higgins at or 209.946.2545.


Hasna Manghi ’16 and James Wall ’16 Win CSHP’s Clinical Skills Competition

September 25, 2015, was a proud day for Pacific as once again as a team of PharmD students won the Clinical Skills Competition at the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP) Seminar. With an attitude of confidence and a solid foundation of clinical skills Hasna Manghi ’16 and James Wall ’16 made a dynamic team.

Clinical Skills Competitideans_letter_fall15_james_hasna_clinical_skills_winners_webon has three levels, the first of which is a local competition held within a university. The winning teams in California then represents their universities at the state level at the CHSP seminar. The final level is at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) annual Midyear Clinical Meeting. This year the ASHP conference will be held on December 5, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana. There Manghi and Wall will be competing against 138 teams from universities all across the country.

In describing the competition Assistant Clinical Professor and San Diego Regional Coordinator Marie C. Scott, PharmD, explains that there are three phases. During the first phase the team has two hours to “identify the most important therapeutic need and prepare a plan for the patient.” They then have only two minutes to present their recommendations. The final phase is eight minutes of question and answer during which they must defend their plan. According to Scott “they definitely need to be able to identify the most pressing needs to the patient.” To do so they have to “draw from their knowledge in therapeutics [and] pharmacology.”

Wall points out that just like in a real life scenarios “you can’t just open a book and fall on the right page and find out what’s wrong.” It is essential to have a framework from which you can systematically work to identify what is the primary problem and which are the peripheral issues that can be addressed at a later time. Manghi explains that the competition is a good introduction to the complexity and unpredictability of cases that one will face as a pharmacist: “You never know what to expect.” They recommend that as you are going through your clinical rotations that you try to absorb as much as you can.

Scott believes that what set Manghi and Wall apart from other teams was that they have a “strong knowledge base [and] speak with confidence.” Wall confirms that Pacific’s PharmD courses prepared them to tackle complicated cases and gave them the ability to effectively utilize a limited number of resources. Manghi proposes that the key to standing out from among the crowd is “showing the quality of yourself as a pharmacist.” Manghi emphasizes compassion, empathy and confidence: “The best advice I can give is confidence in your presentation.”

Wall says that he would “absolutely” encourage future students to participate in the Clinical Skills Competition as it is an excellent opportunity to hone your clinical skills. Scott believes that students “don’t think their clinical skills are polished enough, but this is such good practice to use all of the resources that are given to you.”

Manghi and Wall are deeply appreciative to Dr. Scott for facilitating the preliminary round and offering support throughout the process. Manghi said that Dr. Scott has “shown us a lot of love and a lot of support.”

This is not the first time that Pacific has beat out the competition at the CSHP seminar. In 2000 the winners Rajul Patel ’01, ’06, PharmD, PhD, who went on to become one of the School’s Associate Professors, and his now wife Annie Shinn Patel ’01, PharmD, PhD. Again in 2004 Pacific had a winning team with Jamie Chew ’05, PharmD, and Teresa Kwong Wakumoto ’05, PharmD.

Students who are interested in competing in next year’s Clinical Skills Competition should look through the participant resources and practice cases, which can be found at <>.


Everyone Benefits From Ergonomic Evaluations

Since 2007 Pacific’s physical therapy students have been performing ergonomics evaluations for faculty and staff. Linda Panofsky, PharmD, was amazed by the noticeable difference that can happen after making even minor adjustments. She had several PT students come to her office to do an ergonomics evaluation. She expressed that they were “immensely helpful! They were very professional and so friendly. Prior to their visit, I had no idea how to adjust my office chair and I was sitting in uncomfortable positions while working. They all worked on it until we got it as perfect as it could be and now I am so much more happy working at my office!” She conveyed her gratitude to both the students and “to the program for offering the service.”
Adjunct professor Jody Nance ’90, ’03, DPT, MS, BS stresses the importance of applying ergonomics in the workplace. “Office ergonomic assessments are an integral part of industrial physical therapy. Preventing potential injuries is as important as assisting with the recovery process after injury. Office ergonomic assessments apply correct body mechanics to the office situation. It involves looking at the person in relation to the office set up. It includes the chair, the computer keyboard and monitor and the entire working area. […] Appropriate positioning can reduces stresses on our muscles, tendons and joints. This will reduce the chance of injury [and] strain.”

Nance confirms that ergonomic evaluations are beneficial as “Faculty and staff do spend a fair amount of time in an office environment. Any time spent in poor positioning can lead to pain and/or injury. If we can provide some insight and instruction for improved positioning, then we can potentially prevent or decrease pain and stress.”

The students also benefit from conducting the evaluations as it gives them real world experience; bringing them one step closer to being practice-ready. Nance believes that the best way to learn is through practice. Nance asserts that “Being a clinically based instructor it just made sense to have the students take their knowledge and put it to work. I think there is a sense of reward when the students realize what they are learning is applicable and they know what they are doing.”

Getting outside of the classroom gives students an appreciation for the reality of the complexity of situations. “Once you have a concept to put into action is not always as easy as it seems. The practice they get as a student will make them a better practitioner when they graduate.” Nance explains, “Clinical application of learning at a student level allows them to submerged into nuances that are difficult to teach in a classroom. On paper you can see how things might be important. Sometimes is seems basic and easy, but when you apply it to an actual situation it can be an eye opener.”

Nance hopes that what students take away from the experience is that “Every situation is unique. You have to look at each person in their environment. I try to instill the importance of treating each situation as its own and to work with each individual in a manner that will suit them the best, yet be as ergonomically sound as possible.”

One thing that makes this program a valuable experience for everyone involved is it helps bring greater awareness to the dramatic impact of physical stress. Nance thinks that “Injuries are often associated with athletics or trauma. It is important for students, and the people they assist, to understand why positioning could cause as much of a significant impact on their lives as trauma.” For example, “having the keyboard tilted up places more stress on their carpal tunnel and could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.” Having an awareness of these factors can help curb the causes of stress, leading one to be both healthy and comfortable.

To learn more about Pacific’s Physical Therapy program go to


Dr. Li Receives 2015 AAPS Outstanding Educator Award

On October 25, 2015, Xiaoling Li, PhD, was recognized by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists for his outstanding leadership. The honor of the AAPS Outstanding Educator Award, sponsored by Biogen Idec, is bestowed upon individuals “who have made extensive contributions to the teaching of pharmaceutical sciences.” The award, which is presented every two years, brings national recognition to the quality of education provided by the dedicated Pacific faculty.

deans_letter_fall15_dr_li_educator_award_webBhaskara Jasti ’95, MPharm, PhD proudly extended congratulations to his colleague. Dr. Jasti explains that “Dr. Li was chosen for this award based on the his effectiveness as an educator in both professional and graduate programs, curriculum development, and creativity in pedagogical methodologies and strategies. The demonstrated successes of his former graduate students and Professor Li’s honors and awards bestowed upon him for teaching excellence, his zest and passion for international educational outreach, only a few can duplicate his magnitude of impact in this area, are great examples of fostering an institutional culture conducive to professional learning. Creative, caring, and quiet, Dr. Li richly deserves this AAPS recognition.”

In attendance in Orlando, Florida, was Dean Oppenheimer who expressed that he was “bursting with pride.” Oppenheimer added, “This well deserved recognition notes his leadership in both his research and his mentorship of not only his students, but also many graduate students, through his leadership in our PCSP graduate program.”

Dr. Li expressed that he was both humbled and honored to receive this award. He believes this award not only recognizes his efforts, but is also “a recognition to the students, post docs, and visiting scholars who have worked with me in my career. My colleagues and Dean Oppenheimer at Pacific are significant part of this award. They create an enjoyable environment for me to teach and conduct scientific research.”


Alumni Spotlight: Chris Wolfinger ’15 Lands Head Athletic Trainer Position

deans_letter_chris_wolfing_hockey_webChris Wolfinger ’15 has come a long way from when he first played ice hockey at the age of five. He now holds the position of Head Athletic Trainer at the San Jose Barracuda Hockey Club, an AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks. For Wolfinger this is a dream come true. He explains, “It’s been a dream of mine to work in professional ice hockey. Now that I’m in the field, it’s been exciting having the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge I’ve obtained to helping these professional athletes participate at their highest potential physically and mentally.” His interest in hockey has influenced his choices academically and now professionally. “Growing up playing ice hockey really molded my career aspirations. I knew I wanted to work in the medical field and knew that the athletic training/physical therapy route would be a good way to get there.”

Wolfinger knows from experience the value of internships and how they can lead to career opportunities. Describing his experience he said, “I would go in and shadow the San Jose Sharks medical staff whenever I had the opportunity. Each time I went in I would offer to help in any capacity. I demonstrated confidence in my skills and developed a good rapport with both the staff and players. These small opportunities eventually led to the opportunity to apply and eventually interview for the position I currently hold.”

Wolfinger was able to transfer many of the skill acquired during his time at Pacific into his role working with the players of the San Jose Barracudas. He explains, “I was able to develop high level manual therapy skills, as well as examination and evaluation of musculoskeletal injuries during my time at Pacific. The trend of professional sports seems to be going towards hiring a team PT. Having the DPT degree provided me with a high level of critical thinking skills as well as injury pattern recognition and quality treatment strategies.”

His advice for students pursuing internship opportunities is to “Be the hardest worker in the room, in whatever setting you go into.” To make the most of an internship, networking is key. When networking he recommends acting with professionalism in all interactions. He said, “Be professional when sending emails [and making] phone calls to potential employers.” He adds, “It doesn’t hurt to send a resume in your introduction email, that way the employer can start to get a feel for you who are.”

He again emphasized the importance of hard work and dedication. “It’s all about putting in the time and hard work, whether that’s in the world of academia or the professional world. Be confident with the skills and experience you obtained while in school.” Reflecting on his experiences, he expressed that he would “absolutely” facilitate an internship if he had the capacity to do so and he strongly encourages his fellow alumni to do so as well.

To learn about how your business or organization could host an internship please contact Casey Nesbit, PT, DPT, DSc, PCS, Director of Clinical Education, at 209.946.2399 or To hear about upcoming networking events follow us at


2015 SLP Employer Showcase Reveals That Demand Far Exceeds Supply

On November 2, 2015, the DeRosa Ballroom was packed with both exhibitors and students for the 2015 Speech-Language Pathology Employer Showcase. For approximately 65 students the event was an opportunity to explore different career paths. Meeting the representatives helps students put a face to the name of the different companies and organizations that employ speech-language pathologists. For employees the annual showcase is an opportunity to recruit and connect with those who will become among the best and the brightest in their field.

Joshua Rash ’16 fodeans_letter_fall15_slp_showcase1_webund “The back and forth dialogue was incredibly beneficial in increasing my ability to communicate with other professionals.” When Mackenzie Goold ’16 reflected on her interactions with the exhibitors she said that “It allowed me to further analyze my skills and experience based on their questions.” The Showcase also gives students a greater understanding of the diversity of career paths open to them; from large scale medical corporations to school districts. In addition to local employers, at the event there were exhibitors from as far west as Contra Costa County, as far south as Fresno and as far north as the Sacramento area.

This networking event is equally beneficial to employers. Barbara Taylor, MS, CCC-SLP, is the Vice President of Operations at The Speech Pathology Group (SPG). She explains that SPG is “a California provider of speech/language and behavior intervention services. SPG services pediatric through adult clients” in a wide variety of settings. Taylor finds that the “Recruitment of SLPs is a process that never ends at SPG due to the huge demand for these services. Like other private practices, public schools, non-public agencies and medical settings, SPG is constantly searching for Master’s Level therapists to hire.” She emphasizes, “the demand far exceeds the supply of candidates qualified for employment.”

Taylor expresses her appreciation for the invitation for SPG to participate in the showcase and for “the University’s willingness to coordinate” the event. “Each year SPG looks forward to the University of the Pacific’s Speech-Language Pathology Employer Showcase, as it provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet and chat with graduate students who are currently or will soon be seeking job opportunities. Many of our employees graduated from UOP and they arrive with a strong clinical and educational foundation. It is a pleasure to be a part of their professional growth during their CF (clinical fellowship) year and proudly watch them make significant contributions to our field.”

The U.S. Department of Labor confirms the rapidly growing demand for SLP professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), “Employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes and hearing loss.” In addition, “Increased awareness of speech and language disorders, such as stuttering, in younger children should also lead to a need for more speech-language pathologists who specialize in treating that age group. In addition, medical advances are improving the survival rate of premature infants and victims of trauma and strokes, many of whom need help from speech-language pathologists.”

Exhibitors at this year’s showcadeans_letter_fall15_slp_showcase14_webse included AFFIRMA Rehabilitation, Aureus Medical Group, BMR Health Services, Centre for Neuro Skills, Comfort Assisting, Inc. – Home Health Agency, Communication Works, EBS Healthcare, myTherapyCompany, Nova Therapies, Progressus Therapy, School Steps Inc., The Speech Pathology Group, Therapy Specialists and Total Education Solutions. Exhibitors from local hospitals came from Kaiser Permanente, Lodi Memorial Hospital/Lodi Health and Sutter Health. Representing schools were Campbell Union School District, Fresno Unified School District, Manteca Unified School District, San Joaquin County Office of Education, Stockton Unified School District, Twin Rivers Unified School District and West Contra Costa Unified School District.

To learn how to become an exhibitor at next year’s showcase contact Susan Webster, Director of Development, at 209.946.3116 or

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Speech-Language Pathologists, on the Internet at (visited October 15, 2015).


Language-Literacy Center (LLC) Services in Spring 2016 For Area Youth

Seeking Referrals for the Language-Literacy Center (LLC)

Co-Directors: Jeannene Ward-Lonergan, PhD & Jill Duthie, PhD

The Language-Literacy Center (LLC) is funded through a grant from the University of the Pacific to meet the clinical training needs of Speech-Language Pathology students at the University of the Pacific and the language-literacy needs of area youth. The LLC is designed to provide our students with opportunities to learn best practices in working with youth who have language-literacy disorders and to conduct research in this area. We are currently seeking referrals of individuals who meet the following criteria as potential candidates for the LLC:

  • Children/adolescents in grades 1-12
  • Mild-Moderate Language Disorder
  • At least low average cognitive ability
  • Struggle with literacy (reading and/or writing)
  • Ability to attend weekly, 1-hour afternoon sessions

Assessment and treatment sessions will be provided free of charge in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology at the University of the Pacific, 757 Brookside Road, Stockton, CA. Parents/caregivers of potential candidates of the LLC should email the directors to obtain a referral form for their child.  Please contact either Jeannene Ward-Lonergan, at or Jill Duthie at