Speech-Language Pathology Graduates’ Future Plans

Equipped with a master of science in speech-language pathology our graduates are pursuing careers all across the United States. As Commencement approaches we asked them to take a moment and reflect on their time at Pacific and their path ahead.

 

Kimberly Kamada ’15 is currently working as a clinical fellow in speech pathology at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California. “I was placed at Eisenhower Medical Center for my medical student externship through Pacific,” shares Kamada. “After my externship was over, I was offered a job at the hospital. I’m looking forward to learning more about my profession and role as a speech therapist in a hospital setting. I look forward to impacting lives of patients and their family members, as well as being impacted by them.”

Professor who had a profound impact: “One clinical supervisor that stood out to me was Mimi Tran [’04, ’05]. Mimi supervised me at the adult clinic and after each session she gave me great feedback. She was always available for questions and encouraging with advice for sessions.”

Professional goals: “I want to give my patients the best care I can and make a lasting difference in their lives.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “All of the clients at the adult clinic came together for a social during the last session to celebrate the end of clinic. Patients with various communication disorders were able to gather and carry over their communication skills to real life situations. I had a patient with severe expressive and receptive aphasia at the time and being able to see her enjoy herself in a social situation where communication is important was amazing.”

 

Brooke Richardson ’15 is currently working as a speech-language pathologist at Manteca Unified School District and Beyond Words Intervention Services in Stockton.

Professor who had a profound impact: “Many different professors have been encouraging in my endeavors to pursue this career.”

Professional goals: “I hope to further the field of speech-language pathology by contributing further research in communication disorders as well as providing education and awareness about communication disorders.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “Every year at the department Christmas party our professors would dress up and perform for the students. Definitely a highlight of the Christmas season for me!”

 

Meet Our Graduates

It is the season of tassels and mortarboards. Representing the disciplines of pharmacy, speech-language pathology and physical therapy almost 300 graduates will have their degrees conferred at the Commencement Ceremony on May 21, 2016. A few of our graduates share their plans after graduation and what memories will stand out to them when they look back at their time at Pacific.

 

Renée C. Fini ’15, DPT accepted a position as a physical therapist at Fritter, Schulz & Zollinger Physical and Occupational Therapy, a private outpatient clinic in Gilroy, California. “I am excited to be able to enhance my manual skills with the orthopedic population along with the ability to fine tune my aquatic therapy skills,” said Fini. “I was lucky enough to be chosen [for an internship at this clinic] and I had a great connection with the clinic director during my rotation. I applied for a position that opened up recently and was hired to join the team.”

Professor who had a profound impact: “Hands down, Dr. Jim Mansoor! Dr. Mansoor really took me under his wing and advised me in a way that I really understood; a ‘tell it like it is,’ down-to-earth approach. I will always be grateful for his time and effort given during office hours to help me understand concepts that I struggled with.”

Professional goals: “I don’t want to just ‘help people,’ but I would rather ‘help change peoples lives.’ I look forward to someday working with individuals who struggle with movement on an everyday basis due to disease or pathology. I would also like to travel to underserved countries and contribute my services for those who cannot afford care.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “I cherish all of the great friends I made in the DPT program at Pacific. The bond we shared is unlike any other college experience I have had before. We understood the challenges of being in an accelerated program and encouraged each other to keep pushing forward to do our best. I will always remember the challenges, but will remember the friendships even more.”

 

Andrew Bagdasarian ’15, DPT is currently working as a physical therapist at Golden Bear Physical Therapy and Sports Injury Center in Modesto, California. “I am looking forward to broadening my knowledge base by treating a variety of patient populations [and] improving my treatment approach of an athletic population, ranging from high school to professional athletes,” shares Bagdasarian. The connections he made through Pacific were instrumental in leading to this opportunity. He explains, “Not only did I complete a clinical experience through Golden Bear while at Pacific, I also had chances to meet the clinic owners, Bobby [Ismail ’94] and Brandon [Nan ’09], when they participated in the Physical Therapy Employer Showcase and 5K Tiger Dash our program puts on.”

Professor who had a profound impact: “Many professors impacted me in multiple ways throughout my education at Pacific. It would not do them justice to single one out above the rest as I appreciate all of their respective efforts.”

Professional goals: “Hopefully I contribute [to the profession as] a thoughtful, well-rounded clinician who is always searching to better himself and his treatment approach. Specifically, I would like to expand on evidence-based return-to-sport testing to improve decision making about appropriateness and safety of athletes returning to their respective sports.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “One of the highlights was traveling to Indianapolis to attend the Combined Sections Meeting, our national physical therapy conference; getting to spend time learning from the presentations and exploring the city with a great group of classmates. Also, a memory I’ll never forget was being able to complete a clinical rotation with the San Francisco Giants, the baseball team I’ve grown up being a fan of since I was young.”

Read more about how our graduates plan on using their doctor of physical therapy degree > 

 

Tiffany A. Riley ’16 has been matched with a Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) pharmacy practice residency at VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California. “I’m deeply humbled with the opportunity to serve our nation’s veterans,” shares Riley. “Growing up, both of my grandfathers were veterans and I remember being in awe of their stories of bravery and sacrifice. I look forward to serving this unique and truly inspiring patient population.” She adds, “I had the first-hand experience of rotating through various institutions in the Palo Alto region, such as the VA and Stanford. Being in this clinical world among highly skilled practitioners opened my eyes to the possibilities of what I could do after graduation.”

Professor who had a profound impact: “My journey at Pacific began as a pre-pharmacy student and my advisor, Dr. James Uchizono, became a mentor over the years. As I advanced to pharmacy school, Dr. Uchizono, alongside Kimberly Eayrs and Kim Whitesides, were always welcoming to share advice and encouragement. I know that as I progress on in my career as a clinical pharmacist I will still be in contact with them. The professors at Pacific are more than just teachers, they are life-long mentors who truly value their students’ professional and personal development.”Professional goals: “With a genuine passion for helping those in need, I hope to provide more than just medication related recommendations for my patients. I intend to inspire future generations of pharmacists by precepting pharmacy students, form relationships with a variety of providers by contributing to an interdisciplinary team and stretch the boundaries of the profession in this exciting era of pharmacy practice.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “I’m eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to be a member of the California Pharmacy Student Leadership (CAPSLEAD) team. Upon initiation of our team’s research project, we attended the annual CAPSLEAD conference. Attending this conference and working with the CAPSLEAD advisors, Dr. Don Floriddia [’71], Dr. Denis Meerdink and Dr. Veronica Bandy [’00, ’08], throughout the course of the year sparked in me a deeper interest in leadership development.”

 

Hasna Manghi ’16 has been matched with a Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) residency in academia through Touro University and NorthBay Healthcare in Fairfield, California. “I am looking forward to letting the knowledge I’ve gained thus far come full circle,” shares Manghi.

Professor who had a profound impact: “Dr. Rajul Patel [’01, ’06] has made such an immense impact on my life. The span of his influence encompasses my didactic work, my motivation during APPE rotations and my ambitions as a future pharmacist, as well as the qualities of integrity, positive attitude and a true work ethic.”

Professional goals: “I hope to contribute a positive attitude. I want to take the apathy out of pharmacy practice and encourage a zealous mindset for this profession.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “I have many great memories at Pacific, but the best was of the time spent with Drs. Nancy [’89] and Gary [’89] DeGuire in their cabin in the woods with my close group of friends. It was truly an unforgettable weekend!”

Read more about how our graduates plan on using their doctor of pharmacy degree >

 

Karen Soltow ’15 is currently a clinical fellow at Shoreline Speech and Language Center, a private speech-language pathology clinic in Hermosa Beach, California. “The clinic I am working at had heard great things about the graduates of University of the Pacific, so they emailed our department to advertise their job opening,” shares Soltow. “I emailed them right away and I am so happy I did!”

Professor who had a profound impact: “Dr. Derek Isetti [’08] has been a prominent support system for me as I transitioned from my post-baccalaureate studies into my masters program. I first met Dr. Isetti while studying at University of Washington and had the privilege to continue learning from him here at University of the Pacific. His office door was always open and he always greeted everyone with a smile. It was clear that he was passionate about our field and eager to support all of those in it.”

Professional goals: “My goal is to foster a community where therapists are continually collaborating and sharing ideas in order to meet the needs of all of our clients. I hope to never lose sight of the fact that I will forever be a student in this field as there is always more to learn!”

Favorite Pacific memory: “To me, University of the Pacific was all about the people. My cohort and professors were always there for me. Whether we were meeting to collaborate on our studies or clinical work, or to enjoy some good food or sunshine, we were always there to support each other. I will never forget the people I met while at Pacific.”

 

Yvette Young ’15 is currently working as a speech-language pathologist at Manteca Unified School District and Beyond Words Intervention Services in Stockton. She welcomes the variety of patients she has the opportunity to work with. “I’m looking forward to helping people in all stages of life communicate,” said Young. She adds, “Both of my positions were obtained due to professional connections made during my time at University of the Pacific.”

Professor who had a profound impact: “Professor Simalee Smith-Stubblefield [’83] supported me from freshman year all the way through graduate school. She always makes it clear to her students how much she cares and that they can come to her for guidance and encouragement. My supervisors on my medical externship at UC Davis Medical Center also changed my clinical and life perspective in such meaningful ways. I’m thankful for Simalee and other Pacific speech-language pathology department staff who worked diligently to place students in wonderful medical externships.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “When I reflect on my time at University of the Pacific I’m flooded with memories of people who encouraged me. All of my professors created an environment in which students could grow into informed, caring, flexible and supported speech-language pathologists.”

Read more about how our graduates plan on using their master of science in speech-language pathology degree >

 

 

Doctor of Physical Therapy Graduates’ Future Plans

The graduates from the doctor of physical therapy Class of 2015 have accepted job offers all across the United States. As Commencement approaches we asked them to take a moment and reflect on their time at Pacific and their path ahead.

 

Vincent Morelos Villalon ’15, DPT is currently working as a physical therapist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He has found Cedars Sinai Medical Center to be a rewarding and challenging environment where he is continually learning about acute care. He explains, “Cedars Sinai hospital is a teaching hospital where each staff rotates to new areas […] that way all of the therapists’ minds are continuously engaged.”

Professor who had a profound impact: “Dr. Kylie Rowe is such an expert of pain management and each session was a wonderful learning experience. All four of us in the class were able to learn more in-depth of how persistent pain works in our system and how we are able to treat patients with persistent pain.”

Professional goals: “To be a mentor to future students and to learn from students as physical therapy is a profession of consistently learning new information. In addition, to becoming a cardiovascular and pulmonary clinical specialist.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “We are all one family and help each other learn as a whole. Being in labs, learning new treatments that we can provide to our patients and having class sessions outdoors. Finally, spending quality time with my friends as they are my family.”

 

Dinah Compton ’15, DPT is currently working for PT Solutions, an inpatient rehabilitation facility in Destin, Florida.

Professor who had a profound impact: “Every professor had an impact on me. Everyone cared so much about our future and continue to be our strongest supporters as we move forward in our career field.”

Professional goals: “Getting my Neurologic Specialist Certification and helping patients return to their prior level of function.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “I had the opportunity to volunteer my time treating a spinal cord injury patient and discovered how much of what we do as professionals positively influences people’s lives.”

 

Katherine Samstag ’15, DPT is currently working as a physical therapist at ATI Physical Therapy in Mercer Island, Washington. At ATI Physical Therapy she has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of patients, from pediatric patients to patients that are over 100 years old. “I have enjoyed the benefit of working with a strong group of other manual therapists who have a wide background and array of education […], which drives collaboration and teamwork for all patients seen at the clinic, ” shares Samstag.

Professor who had a profound impact: “From Dr. Casey Nesbit’s caring and compassionate nature, to her drive for the importance of education and patient access to specific healthcare, I will always hold her perspective close to heart.”

Professional goals: “I hope to contribute [to the profession] a well-rounded and biomechanical perspective on physical therapy examination and treatment, which I learned at Pacific, to each individual patient I treat.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “Traveling with Dr. Casey Nesbit, as well as my fellow DPT students Meiying Lam [’15] and Michael Dessel [’15],to Malawi, Africa.”

 

Steven Carmack ’15, DPT is currently working as a physical therapist and aquatic physical therapist at Integrated Physical Therapy in Yuba City, California. He welcomed the opportunity to return to his hometown.

Professor who had a profound impact: “Dr. Todd Davenport, inspired all of us during a very difficult first semester with motivational speeches and an abundance of knowledge that he presented in understandable ways for us newcomers.”

Professional goals: “To give people who don’t know much about physical therapy the education and confidence to achieve a higher quality of life in a fun and interactive way.”

Favorite Pacific memory: “Winning the co-ed soccer intramural championship with a team of PT students.”

 

 

Physical Therapy Leadership Council Offers Insight and Support

What do an orthopedic surgeon, the president of a local high school and an attorney have in common? The Physical Therapy Leadership Council (PTLC). The members also share a commitment to being invested in their community. The PTLC supports the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program by reviewing marketing materials, participating in events, promoting alumni engagement and serving as brand ambassadors. According to their mission statement the PTLC assists with “strategic planning, marketing, developing short and long term goals, providing community outreach, and garnering financial support of education, research and clinical practice.”

Who is the DPT program seeking to serve on the PTLC?  “I look for someone who has that depth of experience in whatever field they are in,” said Sandra Reina-Guerra ’97, ’99, ‘03, PT, DPT, PCS, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. “Someone who is visionary and philanthropic with their talents.”

Dr. Reina-Guerra elaborates, “The purpose is to have an external group to give us some perspective on things such as needs in the community, perceptions and what we are projecting outward.” She emphasized that she is grateful for the support of the PTLC members, who give her constructive appraisal of program changes and ideas or affirmation regarding future plans. The members also can give a unique perspective on what employers are looking for in prospective candidates. She adds, “There are four members of the council who are in the hiring position as employers.”

pt-leadership-council-03_resizeDr. Reina-Guerra believes it is vitally important to involve individuals who represent different viewpoints; the group is comprised of both alumni and community members. “I wanted to provide constructive feedback to the University as to how the profession functions in the real world and address issues that affect the future of physical therapy delivery in the community,” said Brandon Nan ’09, PT, DPT, CSCS, clinic owner and physical therapist at Golden Bear Physical Therapy and Sports Injury Center. “I felt that given my experience, I may be able help provide information to assist the University to improve outcomes and delivery of didactic coursework as well as program development. Bringing local representation into a committee like the Physical Therapy Leadership Council provides a diversified view of how we can mainstream physical therapy services to the public and to keep up with current and future affairs for physical therapy delivery.”

Fellow alumni Parley Anderson ’03, PT, DPT, OCS is co-founder of Active Physical Therapy and Peter Hohenthaner ’01, ’04, PT, DPT is an owner of Pine Street Physical and Occupational Therapy. The newest member is alumna Kimberly (Howard) Colón ’03, PT, DPT who is a physical therapist at San Ramon Regional Medical Center.

“We take pride in our community, […we] bring in experiences, public relations, grants and a positive image for the program,” said Virtu Arora, PT, DPT, CLT, COMT. Arora is a physical therapist at Stanford Health Care, ValleyCare. Kevin A. Hicks, JD is a deputy district attorney for San Joaquin County. He believes that it is important for community members to be involved in order to “help the program address public needs.”

Kerry L. Krueger ’06, MS, JD is an attorney at Kroloff, Belcher, Smart, Perry & Christopherson. Krueger has strong ties to the University. In addition to being a graduate of McGeorge School of Law, she worked for the University’s Department of Student Life for nine years. When asked why it is important to involve community members, Krueger replied, “To gain some ‘out-of-the-box’ perspective, to make connections beyond the School and University and to get honest feedback on how others view issues.”

Joseph B. Serra, MD is an orthopedic surgeon and lecturer for the Pacific’s DPT program. Peter D. Morelli ’74 is president of Saint Mary’s High School in Stockton. No stranger to athletics, Morelli has been officiating sporting events since 1971 and his time as an NFL referee includes signaling the winning field goal for Super Bowl XXXVI. In his view, the PTLC gives community members the opportunity to share their opinions and their support.

Dr. Reina-Guerra commended the members of the PTLC for their support of the program’s vision for excellence and foremost to be recognized locally for preparing its graduates to be leaders of distinction in health care and society. “Each member of the Council carries our message to the people and organizations in their own professional and personal lives. We are honored to have the members represent us and we are thankful for their selfless contributions.”

 

Alumni Spotlight: Alexa Hukari ’03, DPT

alexa_hukari_resizeBallerina, firefighter, veterinarian, circus performer. How many people grow up to be what they dreamt about at a young age? For Alexa Hukari ’03, DPT her childhood aspiration became a reality. At the age of 12, Hukari decided she wanted to join the circus when she grew up. Hukari recalls thinking, “I have to do that, I have to be a part of that.” She adds, “In high school people teased me about running away with the circus.”

Upon graduating from Pacific’s doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program she sought a position working with circus performers in Las Vegas. This led to the opportunity to do strength and conditioning, as well as physical therapy, for the performers of Cirque du Soleil.

Hukari met her husband, Ming Fang, in Barcelona while they were working on the same show. Fang was an acrobat in a Chinese troupe and Hukari was working as a physical therapist touring with the show. The two made for an unlikely couple; he didn’t speak English and she didn’t speak Mandarin. The strong connection between the two overcame cultural and linguistic barriers. In 2009, his partner was injured and she got the opportunity to audition as a replacement. She landed the part, which later led to the opportunity for Hukari and Fang to perform together in “Absinthe®” by Spiegelworld Las Vegas.

Hukari was 5 years old5 when she started gymnastics. She went on to be a U.S. National Acrobatic Gymnastics Champion and six-time California State Champion. While her background in gymnastics helped prepare her for the physical demands of her role in “Absinthe®,” there are distinct differences between preparing for a competition and training for performing. She explains, “It’s different when you are training for competition and you are working to peak once a year, one amazing moment. Working in ‘Absinthe®’ is 10 shows a week, it’s less about training for one peak moment and more about consistency.”

When performing week after week the focus is on being healthy, staying strong and avoiding injury. Core strength is key. She adds, “Acrobatics is really hard on your body. I try really hard to focus on all of the small things that add up to making your body strong.” Her background in physical therapy gives her a deeper understanding of maintaining physical fitness, which helps her to stay disciplined. “If I get injured I know how to come back from that injury and how to prevent it in the future when possible.”

When considering different career paths physical therapy was a natural choice. She shares, “I wanted to do something where I could stay involved in gymnastics or acrobatics.” Also, she has always wanted to know “how the body works and how to make it work better.” Hukari has found that being an athlete has made her a better physical therapist. She explains, “I can ask the right questions about what patients need.” This allows her to treat patients more effectively. Hukari emphasizes the importance of gaining the trust of  patients. When working with an athlete she  relates to the demands they put on their body as well as  the goals they want to achieve when rehabilitating from injury.

When reflecting on her experience at Pacific what stands out to Hukari is the faculty. Even after graduating Hukari felt like she could go to them for advice if she was uncertain about the best way to approach a certain aspect of a patient’s therapy. She adds, “I had the resources to make good decisions to help people.” She is grateful for her education, which has opened doors to opportunities far beyond what she could have imagined.

To read her story in her own words read “East meets West, and we fall in love.”

 

Student Spotlight: Avenlea Gamble ’16, ’17

avenlea_gamble_resizeRedwood trees evoke different memories for different people, from Stanford University’s logo to summer camping trips in Sequoia National Park. For Avenlea Gamble ’16, ’17 redwoods remind her of home. Gamble is from Willits, California, the small city located in Mendocino County, 35 miles east of Fort Bragg, known as the “Gateway to the Redwoods.” The first time she stepped on the Pacific campus she felt at home.

In May, Gamble completed her bachelor of science in speech-language pathology (SLP) at Pacific and is now starting the graduate program. “I knew I always wanted to go into some kind of therapy,” said Gamble. “In high school I was torn between occupational therapy and speech-language pathology.” The opportunity to shadow a speech-language pathologist helped her decide which career path to follow.

Her advice for those starting the SLP program, either as an undergraduate or graduate student, is to connect with the faculty. “Definitely talk to your faculty inside and outside of class. They are such great resources and are very well known in the field.” She expressed that she aspires to follow in their footsteps. She adds, “This is an incredible community of very intelligent and very passionate individuals, I’m so glad to be a part of it.” She adds, “Being a Pacific Tiger has given me a life-long community of friends and colleagues.” The positive experience she has had as a Pacific Tiger has even changed the way she thinks about the color orange.

Gamble was selected by the SLP faculty to be the recipient of the Virginia Puich Endowed Scholarship, which recognizes clinical and academic excellence. Emerita faculty member Virginia Puich, MS served as department chair from 1987 until her retirement in 1993. Her focus on clinical training helped shape the SLP program at Pacific into what is today.  “She was a big catalyst for where we are now,” says Gamble. She is honored to have been chosen as the recipient of this scholarship. “To think they saw even a fraction of her in me. It is incredible to know they view me in the same light.” She adds, “Having the support from all different areas of my life is one of the reasons I am here today.”

Gamble is a member of Omega Eta Epsilon, a Greek-letter honor society unique to Pacific. “We focus on increasing literacy,” explains Gamble. Founded in 2011, Omega Eta Epsilon is open to students who are majoring or minoring in any language, as well as those studying SLP. “We are a very eclectic group; English majors, speech-language pathology majors and others who have a passion for linguistics.” Illiteracy can have a profound impact on an individual both socially and professionally. She sees an urgent need for literacy programs in the San Joaquin County; she believes that Pacific students help meet that need by hosting outreach events and organizing book drives.

Gamble believes in the concept of paying it forward. Upon graduating she plans to return to her hometown where there is a shortage of speech-language pathologists. “I would like to work in the medical setting, either a hospital or skilled nursing facility.” Her passion is for helping those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease regain language skills. She elaborates, “To speak, to introduce themselves, to have those normal day-to-day conversations.”

 

Faculty Spotlight: Derek Isetti ’08, PhD, CCC-SLP

deans_letter_summer16_derek_isettiDerek Isetti ’08, PhD, CCC-SLP, assistant professor of speech-language pathology, was awarded a grant from the University’s Strategic Educational Excellence Development fund for a project titled, “Prevention and Screening of Voice Disorders: Providing a Bridge between Academic Disciplines at Pacific.” This grant allows for the purchase of voice screening equipment and guest lectures on the care of one’s voice. Once the program is underway, Pacific students and faculty will have the opportunity to participate in voice screenings. Dr. Isetti brings to the project his unique combination of experiences in both the theater and speech-language pathology (SLP).

What aspect of this project are you most excited about?

Dr. Isetti: “The ability to share knowledge about the vocal mechanism with individuals who will be relying heavily on their voices throughout their careers. There is an aura of mystery around how our voices function and there are also a lot of misconceptions about how to best care for our voices. I’m hoping that this project will be an eye-opening experience, both for the individuals who take part in the screenings, as well as the SLP students who will be helping to conduct them.”

This is an interdisciplinary project; please explain what other departments you will be working with.

Dr. Isetti: “Pacific is fortunate in that we have a Speech, Hearing and Language Center designed to treat members of the local community who have communication disorders. Yet, there are students and faculty here on campus that could easily benefit from some of the services we offer. When you look at our campus as a whole, some of our most prestigious and long-standing programs are those that place a high demand on the vocal mechanism: teacher education, music therapy, music education and vocal performance.”

Why do you think it is important to create connections between academic disciplines?

Dr. Isetti: “Often educators and researchers possess specialized knowledge in a particular field, but that knowledge is contained in separate silos across the various departments. Before I became a voice researcher I began my career on Broadway as a singer. I experienced firsthand that using and protecting our voices requires a bit of both ‘art and science.’”

In what way does this project impact the speech-language pathology and audiology programs?

Dr. Isetti: “The equipment purchased from this grant is going to be incorporated into the curriculum for graduate level voice disorders classes.”

How will students be involved in this project?

Dr. Isetti: “Graduate SLP students who are interested in the field of voice disorders will be assisting me with these voice screenings. These graduate students will be able to gain essential clinical contact hours by assisting with the collection of case history questions, self-reports, auditory-perceptual and acoustic measures of voice. Aside from the individual screenings themselves as part of the grant I will also be providing yearly guest lectures to students in other departments. The focus of these lectures will be on the basic anatomy and physiology of the voice, as well as habits that can help or harm the voice over time.”

Can you please describe the equipment that will be purchased with this grant?

Dr. Isetti: “Believe it or not, our vocal folds vibrate so quickly that you can’t even see the movements with the naked eye. The fancy name for the main piece of equipment is a rigid endoscope with a stroboscopic light source attachment. This basically involves a scope that rests on your tongue, a strobe light that flashes at specific intervals according to the frequency of your voice and a recording apparatus connected to a computer. It is this strobe-effect that captures the movements of the vocal folds that would be lost with the naked eye.”

Why is it important for a teacher to take care of their voice?

Dr. Isetti: “A recent study by Nelson Roy and his colleagues revealed that almost 60 percent of teachers will report having a history of a voice disorder over their lifetime. Not only is there often a personal and physical toll on the teacher […], students are negatively impacted as well. More and more studies are revealing that students perform worse on auditory processing and memory tasks when they are listening to even a mildly dysphonic voice, as opposed to a healthy voice.”

What do you hope to contribute to the SLP profession as a result of this project?

Dr. Isetti: “I’ve become increasingly more interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning. I think there are some valuable insights to be had regarding whether the equipment used in the classroom by our graduate students could help better prepare them for their medical placements. I’m also curious as to whether this early exposure to vocal health information, and more specifically with the ability to see one’s own vocal cords in real time, might have a lasting impact on how our students use their voices throughout their careers.”

 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Sabah Ali ’13, ’15

deans_letter_summer16_sabah_aliWhen talking with Sabah Ali ’13, ’15 what becomes immediately apparent is her passion for speech-language pathology (SLP). “I always knew that I wanted to do something in a helping profession and with kids,” shares Ali. She was initially attracted to SLP because of the versatility of the profession. Working with her first client solidified her decision to pursue a career in SLP. Michael Susca, PhD, CCC-SLP, BRS-FD, associate professor of speech-language pathology, speaks highly of Ali. He shares, “She best represents the highest qualifications and characteristics of speech-language pathologists and the profession.”

Ali, along with co-authors Morgan Dufresne ’15 and Dr. Susca, presented a paper at the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA) Annual Convention and Exhibition in Anaheim on April 29, 2016 titled, “Difference in Expressive and Receptive English Vocabulary Test Scores.” When exploring this topic they discovered that the majority of the existing research focused on children. For their study they decided to look at adults ages 18 to 65.

Ali is fascinated by research that looks at the experiences of individuals who are bilingual as she herself speaks multiple languages. In addition to fluently speaking English, she speaks Punjabi and Urdu, as well as several other South East Asian languages. The focus on their research study was vocabulary, an area that Ali can relate to from personal experience. “I always have those ‘tip of tongue’ moments,” said Ali. She explains that Dufresne is monolingual and was able to offer a differing viewpoint. They were able to compare their experiences taking classes as a native speaker compared to an English language learner.

She found that working collaboratively throughout the research process was incredibly valuable in preparing her for her career. “It was a good learning experience,” said Ali. “Working as a SLP you are working with other professionals. You have to learn to delegate work.” She adds that you also need to be flexible as you adapt to the viewpoints of other members of the team.

Ali with her poster at the conference.
Ali with her poster at the conference.

Dr. Susca had an unique approach to advising. He would take their draft and create three different options. Each option would have revisions, but he wouldn’t tell Ali or Dufresne what he had changed. He then challenged them to pick what they thought was the best version and give reasons defending their choice. Ali described the process as a “true collaborative experience” and one in which they were able to develop their own style as researchers. “He has such a wealth of knowledge and you can tell that he is so passionate about research. He prepared us very well.” She adds, “Without him I don’t think we would have become the critical thinkers we are today.”

Ali describes the experience of presenting at the CSHA convention. “It was so wonderful, it was such an honor to present at the California state convention.” She explains that at first it was a nerve-racking experience to present her research to seasoned professionals, but the overwhelming support of the professional community calmed her nerves.

Ali acknowledges that SLP can be a challenging profession. She believes that despite all of the hard work and energy that is required, the impact that a SLP can make in someone’s life makes it all worthwhile. “If you really want this don’t give up, keep trying,” she encourages. “You need to be passionate. Work with that passion and let that drive you to success.”

Ali is currently working as a speech-language pathologist in Modesto, California at Sylvan Union School District and Valley Mountain Regional Center. Ali is constantly looking for ways to both challenge herself and to become increasingly well-rounded. It is her goal to work with a wide range of ages. “I would eventually like to work in a hospital with adults,” said Ali.

She continues to stay connected to the Pacific alumni community. She notes that several of her supervisors and co-workers are Pacific alumni. One of her friends from her graduating class works for a neighboring school district. They get together for coffee once a month to debrief about the challenges they have faced and to share their success stories.

 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Cathrine Misquitta ’96, PharmD

deans_letter_summer16_cathrine_misquittaCathrine Misquitta ’96, PharmD recently served as a speaker at a Managed Care Series event titled “The Role of the Pharmacist in Controlling Costs in a Pharmacy Benefit Manager,” co-hosted by Script Your Future and Pacific PharmAssistance. Misquitta believes that it is important to give back to your alma mater by volunteering to share your experiences and helping to shape the next generation of health care professionals. “I would definitely encourage all alumni to be involved with the School in some way, whether it is serving as a preceptor or serving in another teaching capacity,” said Misquitta. She is able to share her expertise in managed care. “I have a vested interest in ensuring pharmacy students come out of school understanding managed care, even if they don’t become managed care pharmacists,” explains Misquitta. “Any pharmacist who processes a claim through a patient’s insurance should understand how much consideration has gone into the pharmacy benefit. The pharmacists in the community are often the ones explaining everything to the patient.”

Misquitta explains that it was her aunt who inspired her to pursue a career in pharmacy. She shares, “I have an aunt who is a pharmacist in Oregon. When I was in college I think I changed my major three times. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then one day when I was visiting my aunt, she invited me to come to work with her. She knew so much and was a tremendous resource to her community. Since I liked science and working with people I decided that pharmacy would be a great profession.”

Reflecting on her time at Pacific she is grateful for both the education she received and the connections she made. She said, “Every course I took helped me prepare for a career in pharmacy. It was also a great place to meet peers with whom I’d be working for years to come. I still run into my classmates. Pharmacy is a small world.” Given the close-knit community she advises current students to apply themselves and demonstrate professionalism during their rotations. “Study hard, work hard and always do your best work,” said Misquitta. “Pharmacists remember how well students do on rotations and word travels fast in pharmacy.” She adds, “I wouldn’t be in my current position if I hadn’t made a good impression on my former preceptor or current boss.”

Misquitta is currently the vice president of clinical pharmacy solutions at Health Net Pharmaceutical Services. “When I graduated from Pacific I never envisioned myself as a managed care pharmacist,” shares Misquitta. “I completed a pharmacy practice residency and started off working as a clinical pharmacist in the hospital setting. After about three years, one of my former residency preceptors contacted me to see if I knew anybody interested in a job in managed care. After a few minutes of consideration I decided that I would be interested. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal about how to manage pharmacy costs and improve patient health from a population-based perspective. Some of my most interesting opportunities have been leading software development, serving on the National Committee for Quality Assurance pharmacy expert panel and developing clinical programs.”

Through the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists she serves as a board member of her local chapter and chair of the continuing education committee. By being involved in professional organizations she is able to keep a finger on the pulse of changes in health care. She views these changes as an opportunity. She believes, “With a shortage of primary care providers and an influx of newly insured patients, pharmacists have a golden opportunity to help shape the future and push the profession to the next level.”

 

 

PT Students with a Vision for Giving Back

The doctor of physical therapy Class of 2016 has a vision of forging a lasting legacy through an endowment fund. Dean Phillip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD believes that the Physical Therapy Visionary Endowment of the Class of ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19 and ’20 reflects the culture of philanthropy that has been exhibited by the current classes of PT students. “The physical therapy Class of 2016’s intention to create an endowed travel fund has generated an unprecedented level of excitement and enthusiasm among the students, faculty, staff and alumni,” shares Dean Oppenheimer.

Decades-of-GivingWe will have five years to fundraise $50,000,” explains Susan Webster, Director of Development. “When that amount is reached, it will be matched by the Powell Match program bringing the fund balance to $100,000.” The Powell Match was established by the extraordinary $125 million gift from Robert and Jeannette Powell. A full $85 million of the Powell’s gift is dedicated to matching, dollar for dollar, new endowment gifts of $50,000 or more that support scholarships or enhance the academic experience of our students. Funds from the endowment will be used to assist students with travel expenses so that they may attend national conferences.

The largest conference for the PT profession is the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) annual Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). In 2016 over 11,300 attendees came from across the country to attend the conference, which was held in Anaheim, California. “By definition, CSM is a program designed by all 18 of the APTA’s specialty sections,” explains Teresa Li ’16. “Each section can be considered a unique facet to the PT profession and each section provides programs with the most up-to-date, evidenced-based concepts or treatment techniques relevant to the population of patients or topic they specialize in […]. The truth is, PT cannot truly be broken down into 18 sections when you are treating a patient! When you attend a program from one of these 18 sections at CSM the concepts and techniques discussed can be applicable to a vast majority of patients you see no matter what setting you are in.”

The motto of CSM is “Together we will transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.” Li has taken this motto to heart. She shares, “I believe every physical therapist has a duty to think outside the box to strive to enhance our profession. Together we can truly improve the way people move and thus enhance their day-to-day life. Dr. Todd Davenport once urged us to break down the meaning of the CSM motto and think about how we can actually transform society. He taught us that in order for us to transform society in our profession, we must bring new things to the table by merging other schools of thought and expertise to the PT profession. Dr. Davenport is a stark example of this having recently earned a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. He plans to bring his new expertise of public health, along with his broadened social network of public health experts, to the PT field […]. Dr. Davenport is an inspiration to our profession with his forward thinking and incredible work ethic, I hope to one day contribute to the field of PT in a similar way.”

Kyle Clark ’15, DPT believes that a ripple effect is created when students have the opportunity to attend national conferences. He explains, “The fund benefits the physical therapy profession as a whole because it helps send University of the Pacific DPT students to a conference where they are able to learn more about the profession and the newest research being published, which in turn will benefit their future patients.” He adds, “It is important for both students and licensed physical therapists to attend CSM to learn about the new cutting-edge technology, network with other individuals and companies and continue to grow their knowledge in regards to evidence-based practice. It is a great opportunity to learn new things that you can take home with you and immediately use in your practice in order to provide better care for your patients.”

Alumni play a vital role in partnering with students who will soon become their colleagues. Clark shares, “It is important for alumni to give back and support future DPT students because the students are our profession’s future.” This endowment fund was established to support students as they develop into professionals. Naina Batra ’16 explains, “Giving back to the future classes will allow them to focus on completing their professional education.” Webster adds, “The Class of ’16 and Class of ’17 are a special group of students who have recognized a need.” She is excited to see their vision become a legacy.

Contact Susan Webster for more information on how to support this student-led endowment at swebster@pacific.edu or 209.946.3116.

 

 

Celebrating 60 Years of Excellence

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, we’re reminded of all we have accomplished over the years. In the past year –– our faculty, students and alumni were once again recognized for their excellence with scholarships, grants and so much more. See for yourself, just click below…

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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.”