Discovering Physical Therapy
I grew up in the Chicagoland area in a family of many wonderful role models. As the youngest in my family, through watching my older siblings I learned that it’s necessary to have courage and determination to excel. I adopted their work ethic and began playing competitive sports at a young age. Whether it was winning a game, tournament, or a race, I loved seeing the results of all the hard work. However, I was too young, and frankly too naive, to listen to my body. Naturally, the stress I put on my young body led to injuries which required Physical Therapy. It was eye-opening! A knowledgeable Physical Therapist helped me not only get my life back and made me an even better athlete. She became a role model for me regarding how I wanted to live my life as an athlete and as a better listener to my body and to others. I knew then, that I too, wanted to impart to others the gift of a being a better listener to one’s body and working together to build a strong, healthy self.
Anyone can read an article about healthy living, but not everyone can translate that advice into practical steps that fit into their own lives. I believe that in order for the advice I have to be received, I have to understand the person I’m working with in the context of the world they live in. My interest in understanding the different ways that people live started early, as a 1st generation American from a very diverse family. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to study at the Sorbonne in Paris and majored in International Relations at the University of Southern California. My interest in understanding other cultures led me to live abroad in China and Kenya as well as France. What I saw, felt and heard in these diverse contexts shaped me in ways a classroom never could. Nonetheless, my core spirit as an athlete and the impact of the listening skills imparted to me through my early experiences as a patient of Physical Therapy continued to push me towards understanding the reasons how and why people move the way they do and how it affects their physical selves. My experiences with people from all walks of life have been indispensable in creating the clinical innovator that I am today.
Becoming a Doctor
I completed my Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) in the heart of Washington, DC at George Washington University. My international experiences and interest in understanding why and how people move served me well in working with the diverse populations I engaged with during my graduate studies. I worked with professional athletes, children, ballerinas, truck drivers, 100-year-old great grandmas and, of course, the proverbial weekend warriors. These experiences taught me that I am drawn to working with a certain personality type: highly driven, goal oriented, very passionate people.
A New Approach
After completing my doctorate in Physical Therapy, I moved back to Los Angeles where the diversity of people, culture and ideas resonated with my interests and priorities. While working at an outpatient clinic, I came to realize ways to make the therapies I have been trained to apply could be even more effective. By treating people in a Physical Therapy office, I am not able to see how the elements of life that are most important to each person affects his or her movements. I couldn’t study an artist’s posture while he painted, the lawyer’s chair she sat in at her desk, or the repetitive motion in the machinist’s shoulder while she operates machinery or the teenaged boy’s serve in a doubles match. To be most effective as a healer, I needed to see people in their element, and listen to their passions and goals in the context in which they work to achieve them. I needed to understand people on a personal level to help transform their habits and physical wellness in a way that resonates for them. I realized to truly help you, I have to travel to your world.