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 countries. 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.”